putting people first

by experientia
by experientia
19 July 2006

Don Norman’s case for activity-centred design

Be the first to share
putting people first
by experientia

Don_norman
In a column written for Interactions Magazine, Donald Norman argues that human-centred designers should not just create clever taxonomies, but also task-onomies.

“Many of the design tools used by the Human-Centered Design community lead to well-structured, carefully organized designs, often using powerful card-sorting and hierarchical clustering algorithms to make similar things be located near one another. Call this the “Hardware store” organization. Hammers are in the hammer section where they are all logically arranged. Nails are in the nail section.”

“The hardware store organization is based upon a taxonomy: appropriate for libraries and for stores where the major problem is locating the desired item out of context. But note that some stores have learned to provide activity-centered organization in addition to their normal classification. Thus, smart food stores put potato chips and pretzels next to the beer. And some even put beer next to the diapers, so that when a shopper makes a late night, emergency trip to get more diapers, why there is the beer, temptingly convenient. Sensible, well-organized logical design would not support this real behavior.”

“The best solution is to provide both solutions: taxonomies and taskonomies. Some websites organize all their items logically and sensibly in a taxonomic structure, but once a particular item has been selected, taskonomic information appears. For example, if examining a pair of pants, the website might suggest shoes and shirts that match. Look at a printer and the website might suggest ink, paper, and other related accessories. Buy a book, and the website suggests other books on related topics, or sometimes, books purchased by other people who also bought the book under consideration. Such recommendations based upon past behavior are often superior to recommendations based upon logic.”

Read full story

Be the first to share
Related Article
23 January 2015
Designing a user experience for wearable devices
Gradinar Razvan discusses some of the questions that UX designers will need to consider when designing for wearables. In particular, he presents the key things that designers should keep in mind when they are designing …
Related Article
19 January 2015
The agency is dead. Long live the agency.
The traditional agency model is physically more than alive on a small scale, but mentally has been stagnating, writes Tobias van Schneider, Product Design Lead at Spotify NYC: Agencies are now tasked to find their own voice, …
Related Article
19 January 2015
In the age of the Internet of Things, all products are software products
Esko Kilpi, the principal of Esko Kilpi Ltd, a leading research and consultancy firm focusing on the art of interaction, science of social complexity and the design of digital work, writes about how the value …
Related Article
21 December 2014
Why Americans care more about experiences than possessions
Leslie Bradshaw, managing parter of Made by Many, describes Americans' shifting value systems. "Young people have redefined success, and their new definition values experience over possession. The word “experience” may sound like a code word for …
Related Article
19 December 2014
Beautiful users: book and exhibition
BOOK Beautiful Users: Designing for People Edited and designed by Ellen Lupton Princeton Architectural Press, 2014, 144 pages In the mid-twentieth century, Henry Dreyfuss, widely considered the father of industrial design, pioneered a user-centered approach to design that focuses …
Related Article
4 December 2014
There is no such thing as UX Design
Peter Merholz argues that the entire “field” of user experience emerged for one reason — to accommodate, and overcome, poor (or non-existent) product management practices. He now wants to retire the term: "'User experience design' served a …
Related Article
3 December 2014
Ericsson’s new ConsumerLab report about the smart citizen
Last month, Ericsson published its latest ConsumerLab report, entitled "Smart Citizens: How the internet facilitates smart choices in city life." The study covers 9 cities worldwide-Beijing, Delhi, London, New York, Paris, Rome, São Paulo, Stockholm and …
Related Article
20 November 2014
The Banks of the Future: An Experience Design Perspective
Banks should shift their role from payment processors to trusted consumer advisors by focusing on the customer experience, argues Rob Girling in an Op-Ed piece for PSFL. "My advice to banks is to start by looking …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

29 October 2014
Experientia at EPIC: UX transforming a financial institution

In September 2014 Experientia gave a presentation on working as UX professionals with financial institutions at the EPIC conference in New York. The paper is now available on the EPIC site in HTML and PDF versions (free registration req’d). Abstract Application of a user-centered approach rooted in ethnographic methodologies facilitates a major European bank’s transition […]

See all articles