I have been reading Don Norman's seminal The Design of Everyday things and thought to share some passages that resounded during my reading. I'll be posting a few of these in the near future with compilations of small chunks of text. For now, I leave you with the first of those quotes, one that is of great importance when designing tools for everyday use.

True collaboration requires each party to make some effort to accommodate and understand the other. When we collaborate with machines, it is people who must do all the accommodation. Why shouldn’t the machine be more friendly? The machine should accept normal human behavior, but just as people often subconsciously assess the accuracy of things being said, machines should judge the quality of information given it, in this case to help its operators avoid grievous errors because of simple slips. Today, we insist that people perform abnormally, to adapt themselves to the peculiar demands of machines, which includes always giving precise, accurate information. Humans are particularly bad at this, yet when they fail to meet the arbitrary, inhuman requirements of machines, we call it human error. No, it is design error.


  • Don Norman