in Reading Response, Week 1

Week 1: Reading Response

Reading: CH 1, Donald A. Norman, The Design Of Everyday Things (1988)

Norman’s problem of having troubles with doors seem to familiar to me. I often push the door that is supposed to be pulled, or pull the door which is supposed to be pushed. Sometimes it is a little embarrassing when people around see it, but at the same time the passer-bys seem to be understanding of my situation as though they have been through it before.

Something that caught my attention when I was living in Chicago was the push pull door that they had. It was extremely well thought of as the ergonomics were considered within the door design. 
Image Source:

The door shown in the photo above builds upon a simple theory of push and pull movement of the body. When you see the long bar, your body is inclined towards pushing the doors while when you see the handles, your hand teaches itself to pull the handle. I remember telling my friend how I wish Singapore had more of these doors!

The author brought up the importance of how products should speak for itself. For example, many cameras are designed with consideration of hand ergonomics and placement of the index finger on the “click” for capturing images. This is because the index finger is more intuitive in pressing buttons, and it would feel rather awkward to use other fingers to do so. As such products can sometimes teach us how to manage it without its instructional notes.

This is inline with the fact that there are two most important characteristics of good design. Discoverability and understanding. Where the good design of these door makes it easy to know what actions is to be performed on which side of the door.

Form follows function, a principle which is generally associated with industrial design in the 20th century. Which clearly illustrates the idea of how design could follow the functionality of the product for a better experience design.

Question 1: Do our habits morph according to products or does products designs change according to our usage routine?

Question 2: Without ergonomics, could a product design still be a good design? (aesthetics?)