Week 2 Readings

The Design of Everyday Things, Chapter #1

By Donald A. Norman

The book The Design of Everyday Things is one of the most iconic and impactful writings in the world of design. Norman is the director of the design lab at the University of California, San Diego. Chapter #1, “The Psychopathy of Everyday Things,” covers the world we’re in, how we engage with designs, the HCD process, and how to frame our design challenges. We’ve linked the entire novel and recommend you download it.


Guiding Questions

  • Consider designs you’ve previously worked on. How have they evolved over time?

    • If your designs saw change from their initial drafts, what caused such changes?
  • Are certain designs learned or inherently understood? What are cultural contexts that dictate our understanding of how to interact with certain objects?

    • Think of some examples of both!

    • What makes each example intuitive/learned?

  • Norman touches on the concepts of affordances and signifiers, which are the relationship between and object and its user, and means of signaling its use, respectively. How do certain affordances and signifiers lead to bugs in everyday life?

Access Book (Pages 1-37)


I Was Meant to Be a UX Researcher

By Eshita Priyadarshini

This reading by a Lead UX Researcher at Google discusses how her upbringing and day-to-day life inspired her to pursue a career in UX research.


Guiding Questions

  • This designer notes everyday tasks that inspired her to pursue UX research. What are some simple things in your day-to-day life that can be a similar source of inspiration?

  • How did your upbringing affect your perception of group dynamics?

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