Don Norman Teaches Us Experience Design (Again)

Vox Media published this viral video in Feb about the Norman Door, and I fell in love with it. It introduces (or re-introduces) most of us to Don Norman and his book The Design of Everyday Things.

According to the book, there are a few basic design concepts that should be followed in people-centric design:


The ability to easily discover how to use something.


With Discovery, there should be Feedback as part of the discovery process. In other words, once you discover something to be true, that discovery should be validated in some fashion.

So, how is this different from user experience as it relates to technology? We should take human-centric design into consideration with app design.

There is another consideration that I think should be added:


The idea that when you’re in Discoverability, or you’re in the process of getting validation from Feedback, that experience should be rewarding and positive in nature.

This positive nature should be in the form of pleasing design for, as well as engaging with, the audience it’s intended for. There are two considerations for this:

  1. Great UI Design
  2. Rewarding

Later in the video Don talks about the people-centered design process:

  1. Observation
  2. Idea generation
  3. Prototype
  4. Test
  5. Evolve

Human Centered Design Infographic

Human-centered design thinking is very similar to lean methodologies. It’s the process of coming up with a assumptions, designing it, testing it, and then evolving/pivoting early without wasting additional time & resources for “users” (or people).

In fact, Norman applied this very thinking into the Nielson Norman Group, the company he co-founded that specializes in UX consulting and training.

What do you think? How have you experienced great or poor human-centered design?


I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, and feedback in the comments below.

~ Christine