When the Machine Thinks It’s Smarter than You

I give up. In any design, once you learn how to do something once, you should be able to do it again. This is really horrible.

That is design guru Don Norman talking in a New York Times article about a poorly designed Kodak digital picture frame he was trying out at a Best Buy store. Norman is the author of the classic book The Design of Everyday Things, and the new release, The Design of Future Things. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of using a crappy Chinese TV or DVD player remote with row after row of identical buttons you never use, you know what he’s talking about. Devices with poor design tick me off to no end. The only excuse for it is pure laziness.

As devices get “smarter” and are embedded with more intelligence, Norman suggests that predictable behavior on part of the machines will put us humans at easy, and help us to hate them a little bit less.