Found this great video on YouTube where Jonny Ive is talking about a modern design problem:
It is quite interesting to think about how a fan looks like a fan, because it has to be, to fulfil its functionality. Or a chair, a bench, a cup etc.
Devices that has an embedded microchips often doesn’t have to look a particular way at all. It’s function, “computation”, is completely hidden away. Other forms of digital interactions we design, like apps and websites, have similar difficulties. What happens on the inside is not what we display on the outside. It is incredibly challenging to create a design concept that is easy to grasp for users.
Don Norman covered a similar thought back in 1988:
I think all these ideas boils down to knowing the user well. “What are the objects and interactions our users are familiar with?” We have to consider whether our designs convert well to the user’s mental model.
To get it right, we have to test over and over.
- Techniques to help with designing for user model: https://www.cs.umd.edu/class/fall2002/cmsc838s/tichi/knowledge.html
- Thermostat problem: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=9uzEukFA4ZQC&lpg=PA13&ots=JnfSsGF20e&dq=thermostat%20hci%20design%20rate%20of&pg=PA13#v=onepage&q&f=false