What Don Norman Taught Me About Design In 3 Minutes

I recently came across a short video that Don Norman did for the NN Group regarding the principles of human-centered design. He distills his ideas so simply and concretely that I was not sure if I understood him or was just playing along with it. The finesse with which he does demonstrates his understanding of design principles in a way that anyone can understand. Here are the lessons I learned:

Find the right problem

Many times, we are confronted with a problem to solve but do not take the time to assess whether that is the actual problem. Don maintains that you must always try to find the foundational root of the problem. Once you fix that, the symptoms of the problem, which may be what you were probably presented with, will disappear.

Think of everything as a system

When working a problem, we may often get lost in the minutae of it and not investigate how it ties into the bigger picture. Don suggests that we think of everything as a system. Everything is interconnected. Optimization of the local does not mean global optimization within that system.

User experience is about user goals

While we may think of design as coming up with tools to alleviate a problem, that is not the ultimate goal that we seek when we design for users. Tools have to be understandable and usable but the most important thing is the goal of the person using your product. Are they able to delightfully do what they intend to do with the help of your product?

Great lessons from a wonderful, wise old man. You can see the whole video here: