6 December 2007

Are cars too safe? Are user manuals necessary?

Be the first to share

Donald Norman
In a Business Week interview design guru Don Norman argues for making autos less automated and for infusing gadgets with natural, easy-to-interpret feedback signals.

In his new book, The Design of Future Things (Basic Books), Don Norman isn’t afraid to call himself out on statements he made in his earlier, wildly popular publications such as The Design of Everyday Things. The co-founder of corporate design consultancy Nielsen Norman Group and the former vice-president of Apple now says that he has changed his mind on several design strategies he has advocated over the years.

The focus of his new book, however, is not on how he wishes to update his philosophies of design and innovation. Instead, it centers on so-called “smart,” or automated, gadgets and products. Increasingly being produced and marketed, these range from talking refrigerators that scold you for not keeping to a diet to cars that are comfortable and easy to drive to the point of distracting drivers from the dangers of the road.

The Northwestern University design professor spoke with BusinessWeek Innovation Dept. Editor Reena Jana about the perils of automation and subtle but effective strategies for improving product design, such as offering sounds or visual signals that are more pleasant and instructive than electronic blips and bleeps. Below are edited excerpts from their conversation.

Read interview
Listen to audio interview

Be the first to share
15 November 2017
[Book] Designing Better Services: A Strategic Approach from Design to Evaluation
Designing Better Services: A Strategic Approach from Design to Evaluation by Francesca Foglieni, Beatrice Villari and Stefano Maffei (Polytechnic University of Milan) Springer International Publishing, 2018 VIII, 115 pages This book provides accessible, comprehensive guidance on service design and …
12 November 2017
Six hacks for service designers working in an agile environment
Ideally service designers deliver our best value when we stay outside the “Scrum” (literally and figuratively), fulfilling our strategic role and avoiding the hectic pace and too-narrow focus of two-week sprints. Our work, …
8 November 2017
Service design at BBVA bank
BBVA (an international financial institution with a presence in 35 countries, providing services to 70 million customers) was one of the sponsors of the Service Design Global Conference in Madrid last week. Derek White, BBVA’s …
31 October 2017
Waymo focuses on user experience
Waymo —formerly the Google self-driving car project— is investing a lot of time and effort on building out the user experience of its self-driving vehicles, which includes both the external and internal user-facing features of …
27 October 2017
Self-driving cars and humans must learn a common language
For all the intricate technology required for autonomous cars — the sensors to replicate eyes and ears, the computers and algorithms to serve as the car’s brains, the high-definition 3-D maps to guide them — …
3 October 2017
Don’t miss Experientia at Torino Design of the City
Torino Design of the City is nearly here! Experientia will of course be part of this exciting week (10-16 October) of events, meetings, workshops, exhibitions and guided tours about design, and we warmly invite you …
1 October 2017
Building the networked city from the ground up with citizens
How can technology lead to more participation in democratic processes? Who should own and control city data? Can cities embrace a model that socializes data and encourages new forms of cooperativism and democratic innovation? Albert …
1 October 2017
Google’s Director of User Experience on the power of ethnography in an era of Big Data
Elizabeth Churchill, Google's Director of User Experience argues that there has never been a better time for an ethnographic embrace and a reconfiguration of what it means to render meaning into big and small data. …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

20 November 2017
Experientia and Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo announce innovative partnership

Wide ranging partnership also covers collaboration with design schools and public events on service design “Finding the way forward for independent design means building new business models for service design consultancies in the age of the company buy-out.” Michele Visciola, President, Experientia PRESS RELEASE It seems the business world is finally realising that service and […]

26 October 2017
Epic storytelling with video

Another EPIC conference come and gone, and no, we’re not using “epic” in the way under-10s use it about cool things on the internet. EPIC is the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, one of the most important annual events for practitioners of anthropology, ethnography and related disciplines. Ethnography is one of Experientia’s key methodologies, underpinning […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Service design intern

Service Design Intern: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy Experientia, an international experience design consultancy, is looking for service design interns for our Turin, Italy office, to support research, concept development and design. The ideal candidate will be a holistic thinker and designer, with a systems approach to enable complex service offerings, driven by an understanding […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Senior Service Designer

Senior Service Designer: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy (*) We are looking for service designers with outstanding design skills, methodical thinking, and experience in designing complex service ecosystems using a human-centered design methodology.   Required 2-5 years’ experience in service design and/or user experience design University and/or advanced degree(s) in Service Design, Interaction Design, User […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Lead Service Designer

Lead Service Designer: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy (*) Experientia is seeking a Senior Service Designer to lead service design projects from the Turin, Italy office (*) or the Lausanne, Switzerland office. The Senior Service Designer will have experience leading a team of behavioral analysts and service modelers in research and service design projects lasting […]

18 October 2017
Innovate through service design – The Innovation Center of Intesa Sanpaolo and Experientia for “Torino Design of the City”

by Erin O’Loughlin – Photos: Naz Kazazoglu In Turin, you only need to tell your taxi driver “Take me to the skyscraper” to end up at the impressive Innovation Center of the Intesa Sanpaolo bank, rising in the heart of Turin, with a fine view of the Turin hills and the Italian alps. Here on […]

See all articles