72 the design of everyday things to ensure that at

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72 The Design of Everyday Things to ensure that at each stage, the product provides the information required to answer the question.
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The information that helps answer questions of execution (doing) is feedforward. The information that aids in understanding what has happened is feedback. Everyone knows what feedback is. It helps you know what happened. But how do you know what you can do? That s the role of feedforward, a term borrowed from control theory. Feedforward is accomplished through appropriate use of signifiers, constraints, and mappings. The conceptual model plays an important role. Feedback is accomplished through explicit information about the impact of the action. Once again, the conceptual model plays an important role. Both feedback and feedforward need to be presented in a form that is readily interpreted by the people using the system. The presentation has to match how people view the goal they are trying to achieve and their expectations. Information must match human needs. The insights from the seven stages of action lead us to seven fundamental principles of design: 1. Discoverability. It is possible to determine what actions are possible and the current state of the device. 2. Feedback. There is full and continuous information about the results of actions and the current state of the product or service. After an action has been executed, it is easy to determine the new state. 3. Conceptual model. The design projects all the information needed to create a good conceptual model of the system, leading to understanding and a feeling of control. The conceptual model enhances both discoverability and evaluation of results. 4. Affordances. The proper affordances exist to make the desired actions possible. 5. Signifiers. Effective use of signifiers ensures discoverability and that the feedback is well communicated and intelligible. 6. Mappings. The relationship between controls and their actions follows the principles of good mapping, enhanced as much as possible through spatial layout and temporal contiguity. two: The Psychology of Everyday Actions 73 7. Constraints. Providing physical, logical, semantic, and cultural constraints guides actions and eases interpretation. The next time you can t immediately figure out the shower control in a hotel room or have trouble using an unfamiliar television set or kitchen appliance, remember that the problem is in the design. Ask yourself where the problem lies. At which of the seven stages of action does it fail? Which design principles are deficient? But it is easy to find fault: the key is to be able to do things better. Ask yourself how the difficulty came about. Realize that many different groups of people might have been involved, each of which might have had intelligent, sensible reasons for their actions.
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