UX Magazine has a short interview with Don Norman, co-founder of the Neilsen Norman Group and author of the hugely influential book The Design of Everyday Things. What I like about him is not only is he insightful, he has a great way of cutting through the superficial and really getting to the heart of an issue. The whole interview is worth a read, but some excerpts I enjoyed were:
“The client says what they want, what they want to achieve, and then the designer comes up with a solution, but they never really ask whether or not that’s the actual underlying problem. If you dig a little deeper for the fundamental problem, your research can lead to creative and innovative solutions, sometimes completely eliminating the original problem.”
“One of the best examples is the old VCR. People struggled with setting the time…But why should you have to ‘program’ a VCR by telling it the channel and time. You don’t want to watch a channel at a specific time, you want to watch a show. That’s what we do today. We don’t set the time. We don’t program: we simply search for the name of the show we want and say, ‘Record it.'”
“Don’t feature match. Don’t design match. Make your [product] stand out from the crowd. It’s about your company, not about your competitors. What are your strengths? What does your website design say about your company? What does your product design say about your company?
“For instance, if your company is a fun, whimsical clothing company, your website needs to reflect that. You might not resonate with EVERY person who comes to the site, but you don’t WANT every person to buy your clothing. You want those who fit in with your company’s identity. That applies to every single business out there. You need to express what your business is like, what your image is, and then connect with people who share that. You need to show that you can solve their problem.”