Stop Building Norman Doors. Good Design Should be Invisible

Great design goes unnoticed, design choices and features that are invisible until analysed i.e. they don't demand your attention.

A great example of this is apple's reversal of the reverse scroll. Remember back when we used to scroll up to move the page down (just trying to remember how it even worked boggles my mind). When apple changed the scroll logic, a lot of people thought it was silly and pointless; they failed to realise that the old method was odd. This small design change made the action so natural to us that we've completely forgotten that it's even happening, now it feels like you are literally touching the digital content and moving it, rather than using a device to manipulate it. IMO we are more connected to our devices now due to this change, the experience is much more immersive.

There are examples of bad design all around us. You don't need to look far to find them. On the flip side, there's a ton of amazing designs around us; however, you need to look with intent to find these, that's what makes them great.

Here's a couple of quotes from Don Norman, writer of The Design of Everyday Things


Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating


Rule of thumb: if you think something is clever and sophisticated beware-it is probably self-indulgence.


Both of these quotes are very relatable to both industrial design and web-design. Often designers want to add more fancy looks or a font that is over the top. This does not equal great design, it impairs the function of the product.

Vox recently published a video starring Don Norman himself. He explains what inspired him to write The Design of Everyday Things and give an interesting insight into his life.

Joe Woodward

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