User Experience Design Blog

Commentary on strategy and design of interactive products.

Design Research and Innovation: An Interview with Don Norman

January 11th, 2011 by Kimmy Paluch

Great words of insight (as usual) from Don Norman in an interview with Jeroen van Geel on Johnny Holland Magazine. He talks about the gaps between academic research, design studies, and design as well as topics on innovation, emotional design and design thinking. In regards to design thinking, he refers to a previous article that he wrote (which I re-read recently and highly recommend): Design Thinking a Useful Myth. Highlight quotes from the interview and link below:

On the difference between researchers and practitioners:

One wants deep understanding, the other wants to know what to do next. One is happy as soon as an idea has been demonstrated, even if it is held together only by tape, string and mirrors–that is, even if it only works on special cases and requires careful attendance and repair by the research group. The practitioner wants something complete, robust, and reliable. Researchers are incapable of delivering this; they are too curious, too driven to learn new knowledge. The practitioner is too practical.

On emotional design and websites:

Everything has a personality: everything sends an emotional signal. Even where this was not the intention of the designer, the people who view the website infer personalities and experience emotions

On getting inspiration:

Stay curious. Always be learning new topics [...] And I talk mostly with my critics.

Read the full Don Norman interview on Design Research and Innovation.



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