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week2 reading notes

Design of Everyday Things -- the psychopathology of everyday things


understandability & usability

conceptual model


Emotional Design

The teapots also illustrate three different aspects of design: viscer- al, behavioral, and reflective. Visceral design concerns itself with appearances. Here is where the Nanna teapot excels—I so enjoy its appearance, especially when filled with the amber hues of tea, lit from beneath by the flame of its warming candle. Behavioral design has to do with the pleasure and effectiveness of use. Here both the tilting teapot and my little metal ball are winners. Finally, reflective design considers the rationalization and intellectualization of a product. Can I tell a story about it? Does it appeal to my self-image, to my pride?

The objects in our lives are more than mere material possessions. We take pride in them, not necessarily because we are showing off our wealth or status, but because of the meanings they bring to our lives. A person's most beloved objects may well be inexpensive trinkets, frayed furniture, or photographs and books, often tattered, dirty, or faded. A favorite object is a symbol, setting up a positive frame of mind, a reminder of pleasant memories, or sometimes an expression of one's self. And this object always has a story, a remembrance, and something that ties us personally to this particular object, this particular thing.

This is so despite the common tendency to pit cognition against emotion. Whereas emotion is said to be hot, animalistic, and irra- tional, cognition is cool, human, and logical. This contrast comes from a long intellectual tradition that prides itself on rational, logical reasoning. Emotions are out of place in a polite, sophisticated society. They are remnants of our animal origins, but we humans must learn to rise above them.

As I've said, cognition interprets and understands the world around you, while emotions allow you to make quick decisions about it. Usually, you react emotionally to a situation before you assess it cog- nitively, since survival is more important than understanding. But sometimes cognition comes first. One of the powers of the human mind is its ability to dream, to imagine, and to plan for the future. In this creative soaring of the mind, thought and cognition unleash emo- tion, and are in turn changed themselves.

chap1 attractive things work better

Positive emotions are as important as negative ones—positive emotions are critical to learning, curiosity, and cre- ative thought, and today research is turning toward this dimension.

Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and misses)

Sometimes when people learning about physical computing hear that a particular idea has been done before, they give up on it, because they think it’s not original. What’s great about the themes that follow here is that they allow a lot of room for originality. Despite their perennial recurrence, they offer surprises each time they come up. So if you’re new to physical computing and thinking to yourself “I don’t want do to that, it’s already done,” stop thinking that way! There’s a lot you can add to these themes through your variation on them.


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