The designs of our products and services must also

This preview shows page 16 - 18 out of 22 pages.

The designs of our products and services must also follow this philosophy. So, to the designers who are reading this, let me give some advice: Do not blame people when they fail to use your products properly. Take people s difficulties as signifiers of where the product can be improved.
Image of page 16

Subscribe to view the full document.

two: The Psychology of Everyday Actions 65 Eliminate all error messages from electronic or computer systems. Instead, provide help and guidance. Make it possible to correct problems directly from help and guidance messages. Allow people to continue with their task: Don t impede progress help make it smooth and continuous. Never make people start over. Assume that what people have done is partially correct, so if it is inappropriate, provide the guidance that allows them to correct the problem and be on their way. Think positively, for yourself and for the people you interact with. Falsely Blaming Yourself I have studied people making errors sometimes serious ones with mechanical devices, light switches and fuses, computer operating systems and word processors, even airplanes and nuclear power plants. Invariably people feel guilty and either try to hide the error or blame themselves for stupidity or clumsiness. I often have difficulty getting permission to watch: nobody likes to be observed performing badly. I point out that the design is faulty and that others make the same errors, yet if the task appears simple or trivial, people still blame themselves. It is almost as if they take perverse pride in thinking of themselves as mechanically incompetent. I once was asked by a large computer company to evaluate a brand-new product. I spent a day learning to use it and trying it out on various problems. In using the keyboard to enter data, it was necessary to differentiate between the Return key and the Enter key. If the wrong key was pressed, the last few minutes work was irrevocably lost. I pointed out this problem to the designer, explaining that I, myself, had made the error frequently and that my analyses indicated that this was very likely to be a frequent error among users. The designer s first response was: Why did you make that error? Didn t you read the manual? He proceeded to explain the different functions of the two keys. 66 The Design of Everyday Things Yes, yes, I explained, I understand the two keys, I simply confuse them. They have similar functions, are located in similar locations on the keyboard, and as a skilled typist, I often hit Return automatically, without thought. Certainly others have had similar problems. Nope, said the designer. He claimed that I was the only person who had ever complained, and the company s employees had been using the system for many months. I was skeptical, so we went together to some of the employees and asked them whether they had ever hit the Return key when they should have hit Enter.
Image of page 17
Image of page 18
  • Fall '19

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Ask Expert Tutors You can ask 0 bonus questions You can ask 0 questions (0 expire soon) You can ask 0 questions (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes