A strong start to week 4!
I’m so glad to see the excellent conversations happening in the various bookclub threads, and an eclectic mix of people all coming together to contribute various perspectives and experiences. This is how we create a valuable bookclub for the benefit of everyone. Nice work and keep it up!
A quick summary of Chapter 4
Following on from the principles introduced in chapter 3, Don explores how constraints and mappings can help inform design. In my older edition he starts the chapter with a discussion involving a VCR, but I know some of you will be reading newer copies with more up to date examples!
Much of this chapter is dedicated to providing examples of constraints and mappings, consolidating and building on principles and stories related in the earlier pages. In particular, Don describes four constraints inherent in design by examining how children build a lego motorbike, and how people use everyday objects such as doors and switches: physical limitations based on shape and size; semantic constraints determined by the context of the situation; cultural constraints based on conventions; and logical constraints based on the assembly and components.
This sets us up nicely to consider visibility and feedback, two important cues for people using an object which we, as the designers, can define and harness when creating an object. These are principles we can leverage to discover, and deliver on, the chapter title’s promise: Knowing What To Do.
- Remind yourself of Don’s four types of design constraints
- Could one be considered more important than the others? How would you justify this?
Some questions to discuss with the rest of the group:
- How can we apply these principles of visibility and feedback when designing an interface?
- Besides these examples of physical, semantic, cultural and logical constraints, what are some other ways we might know what to do with a designed object?
- What is the relationship between visibility and feedback? When is one more effective than the other?
- When we say ‘visibility’, what do we actually mean? What are other ways we can make things apparent, other than relying on visuals? Why don’t we use these more often?