During reading Donald Norman’s, “Design of Everyday Things” I found myself questioning many of the physical and digital items I come in contact with everyday. From doors and chairs to websites and mobile apps, Norman’s seven design principles make so much sense.
The first, which is not recognized on many online resources, is GOAL. Yes, you must have a goal for designing anything. Without a direction, where would you even start?
Yes, things must be visible for you to know how to interact. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? However, you’d be surprised how many items or sites are built without visible cues of what to do.
When you are trying to accomplish something on a website, you like to get feedback that you are doing the right thing, correct? This is fundamental in user experience because humans need to understand they have made the right choice, whether it’s verbal, audio, visual or physical.
This principle is important because you must restrict users from doing certain actions. Providing limitless possibilities of actions can overwhelm and confused users.
This refers to the relationship between controls and their effect on the environment. Good mapping allows users to understand what they should do to arrive at the solution they are searching for.
Affordances allow the users to understand what they can do with an object or a website. Essentially, it is giving a clue. An example of an affordance is the blue text and underline within copy that alerts you that it is clickable and you will be taken somewhere else.
This is simply using the same elements across all similar tasks. Consistency permits users to perform comparable actions by understanding the elements that will get them there.
Have you had a recent experience that was exceptionally easy or user friendly? Are there experiences you’ve recently had where you thought one or more of these principles could have made it better?