Design Of Future Things Book Review - Sonya

The Design of Future Things

Don Norman

Chapter 1 highlights

  • Communication between human and machine is not really communication at all. Monologue & monologue.
  • A machine only gives commands as does the human to the machine – like GPS --> location is input into device, device speaks a command (direction) So when you choose to pull off the highway for a bite to eat, the nav system goes crazy recalculating and telling you how to get back on course. But you know all along where you are going and that you will eventually get back on course. There is no way to effectively communicate with the device to simply tell it that you are grabbing a bite to eat first.
  • Machines need to be socialized to somehow understand the environment as well as factors within a particular situation they are involved.
  • Machine and human actions differ and often conflict because of the above. Norman states that this could end up resulting in some dangerous situations (like adaptive cruise control).
  • Machines work well in controlled environments where there are no unexpected events and everything can be predicted accurately – like a washing machine or a microwave.

Chapter 4 highlights

  • Story about luxury car and Lane Keeping at the beginning of the chapter was interesting. A guy bought a new car that ended up not letting him out of a traffic circle for 14 hours because of the lane keeping feature.
  • Henry Thoreau in 1950’s – we have become tools of our tools. Today, Norman states we have become servants to our tools.
  • Our tools tell us what to do and when – smart phone alerts, GPS, etc
  • Norman proposes that one day its possible that cars will communicate with each other about road conditions, traffic ahead, etc.
  • He says its possible for billboards to inquire about a car’s destination in turn suggesting restaurants and POI. The car could automatically change your destination to its choosing.