Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Simplicity is highly overrated

(in mass-market consumer goods)

Blog post by Don Norman

If a company spent more money to design and build an appliance that worked so well, so automatically, that all it needed was an on-off switch, people would reject it. “This simple looking thing costs more?” They would complain. “What is that company thinking of? I’ll buy the cheaper one with all those extra features – after all, it’s better, right? And I save money.”

Logic and reason, I have to keep explaining, are wonderful virtues, but they are irrelevant in describing human behavior. Trying to prove a point through intelligent, reasonable argumentation is what I call the “engineer’s fallacy.” (Also, the economist’s fallacy.”)  We have to design for the way people really behave [emphasis added], not as engineers or economists would prefer them to behave.

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