📝 Highlights and Notes: The Design of Everyday Things

I loved this book because the themes that surround the topics discussed inside here do not limit us to product design. “Designing things” is a process and a discipline that demands an individual to not only think of problems deliberately but also empathetically. This multi-faceted school of thought with designing great products hence transfers similarly to other areas like government policy and leading teams; positions that demand the same level of deliberation and empathy when making decisions.

Good design should not be a goal only products strive for, but also in the systems that facilitate and support our day-to-day behavior at a fundamental level.

How do you encourage a team to be creative and open-minded when brainstorming for solutions while meeting a deadline?

Create procedures + principles that govern the objectives of a brainstorming assignment, allow divergent thinking to happen (that can be via traveling, having a walk in the park, going for coffee, etc.), then use deadlines and co-ords to force convergent thinking.

When do you break design conventions?

Only break design conventions when it is substantially better than being consistent. Consistency is virtuous because with every conventional broken, re-learning is required.

Types of mistakes that can occur within and organization and why.

  1. Skill — usually concerns a very routine task. Usually a slip-up causes the mistake
  2. Rule — something governed by known courses of action; usually mistake arises from the wrong selection of course + bad execution
  3. Knowledge — action requires essential conceptual models. Usually mistake occurs from person being unfamiliar with skills and rules

Why rote learning is bad

  • Things being learned (like life) can be arbitrary; aiming to learn it completely requires plenty of time and effort which we often do not have
  • Memorised sequences of actions are of no use when a problem occurs because it often times will not indicate to you what went wrong.

Balancing emotion and cognition

Cognition cannot exist without emotions and vice versa. When cognition helps us make sense of the world by understanding it, it is emotions that assign value to these understandings and make the value judgements we need to decide on why it is so important to use. Emotion helps us make choices, cognition helps us stay functional.

Good design is hard to notice; because it fits needs so well and it serves us without drawing attention to itself