Don Norman at the Institute of Design

Don Norman is a professor emeritus of cognitive science at UC San Diego and a Professor of Computer Science at Northwestern University, where he also co-directs the dual degree MBA + Engineering degree program between the Kellogg school and Northwestern Engineering.

Thank you. I have this really neat, polished talk that I give on The Design of Future Things and I’m not going to give it to you. What I’m going to do is stumble through what I’m thinking about. That’s what I really like to do. I like to teach and think and talk about stuff I don’t understand. And so I give crappy talks because I’m making it up as I go along. And when I do understand it, I write a book and then I’m bored with it and go on to the next topic. So I’ll tell you what I’m working on.

But actually I thought I would start off by doing a John Maeda act. You know John Maeda? He’s this really weird graphic designer at the Media Lab and I just got a letter recently from the Media Lab and they were thinking of promoting him to full professor and would I write a letter. So I wrote a letter about why they should, absolutely promote him to full professor. And meanwhile RISD goes and makes him their president. And then MIT writes back and says: we’re going to promote him to full professor. And I say, isn’t that locking the barn door after the professor has left? So, if you actually go to the RISD website there’s this wonderful video of John giving a talk. And I decided “that a neat talk” so I’m going to— here’s his talk:

[takes off jacket to reveal ID t-shirt].

And he’s wearing a RISD t-shirt so I’m going to wear an ID t-shirt!


At Northwestern, we have a really anxious Dean who’s trying hard to say “design is important; we should be doing it.” Even though we don’t have really any of the technical competence to do design. Doesn’t matter. So we have the Segal Design Institute which is like the D-school at Stanford. Really impressive, sounds great, but when you go and look inside there’s nothing there.

I was also asked to take over the co-directorship of an MBA program. It’s a joint MBA-Engineering program between Kellogg school and the McCormick engineering school. And MMM used to stand for Masters of Manufacturing and Management. Why am I involved in manufacturing? It’s crazy. But when you look at manufacturing, nobody does manufacturing any more in the United States; it’s really “operations,” which means, making a smooth factory floor but also supply chain management and a lot of the students actually go into consulting. And so, I decided to add a Design track. So I decided I needed to learn about operations. So I’ve been reading about operations and I discovered that design and operations are the same topic. So, that’s kind of what my new book is going to be about so let’s see if I can explain it.

Most of you have probably been to Disney. One of the Disney theme parks? How do you like the lines? You love them, right? You love all those TVs you get to watch. What about the animals and the figures all bundled up in their hot, heavy suits? And how about the fact that the line isn’t actually so long— until you turn the corner— and then the next corner and the next corner.

Well, when I was at Apple Computer a bunch of kids at Stanford did a project and it was to eliminate the lines at Disney. And they figured out a way of eliminating the lines and they would have these little radio receivers you would carry that would alert you when your ride time was ready, and you could go to it and it was so sophisticated and it would warn you in just the right amount of time if you were on the far side of the park it would warn you earlier than if you were on the near side and so, Cary Lenningrad Terry Winograd, who was their faculty supervisor asked if I could find a Disney executive they could present to. So I found— I was a friend of Grant Ferin Bran Ferren who was a senior Disney executive, so Bran came up and the kids gave their presentation and afterward he said how great it was and how thoughtful and creative they were and if they’d like a summer job he’d offer it to them. But c’mon, he said. Lines are essential. We wouldn’t survive without lines.

So why do you think lines are important for Disney? [inaudible] Anticipation? That’s good. You’d be a good student. Would they actually miss you? What else? [inaudible] Maximum throughput? Ah, there’s a business reason. What if it were all really efficient and I could go to three lines and just zip, zip, zip and I leave? So if I have to stand in line for a couple hours, I’m in the park a couple of hours longer. Inventory management? Spoken like a triple-M’r. Spoken like someone from operations. Tell me more about that? [inaudible] Ah, so you’re not discussing why they have to have so much waiting, you’re talking about how you actually form them into a line.

Have any of you ever been to Disney in Paris? Tell me about the lines there? Well, there are two issues there. One, nobody goes, so actually if you want to see the Disney stuff go to Paris because you can get right in; there’s hardly any lines, except it’s all in French… But aside from that. But actually the other thing is that Americans understand lines, but the people from Spain don’t. The people from Italy don’t. The people from Britain do. And so it’s really bizarre when you go there because there’s all these people who want to stand in line and all these people who think lines are silly and they just want to go to the front and get in. So it’s a culture clash; a major culture clash.

Yes? [inaudible] It’s the “look up there in the sky” phenomenon. Right. So if there were actually two rides and there were 100 people in one line and none in the other, I might actually go to the one with 100 because that’s the more exciting and interesting one, hmmm? Yes?

So the problem is— let me start with that point and then the advanced. So the real question is: if they weren’t in lines what would we do with them? And the answer is: build more rides. But a ride costs 10 to 20 million dollars; it’s a non-trivial thing to build. They build as many as they think they can afford and justify. They’re not going to build more rides. The second thing is people say, if they’re out of line they’ll buy more food. No. Believe me, they buy as much food as they can possibly eat at Disney. Don’t you remember that? Or they’ll buy more gifts? No, they buy as many gifts as they can. So, the lines are actually important. They keep them around longer and they spend ten to 15% of their yearly disposable income on one trip to a Disney theme park. So they’re not going to spend any more money, they’re not going to eat any more. And the lines are carefully calculated. The point is, how do we make the lines enjoyable at least? So Disney spends a lot of time and a lot of design effort into making them enjoyable.

All of this is a design issue. Whether you should have lines or not, how they should look, what you should be doing during those lines. There’s actually a famous business paper called the “Psychology of Waiting Lines.” It’s actually not very good, but it’s the only one I’ve been able to find that talks about how you can make these lines more enjoyable. And Bank of America discovered that when you’re waiting in line people’s perception of how long they wait doesn’t match the real amount of time. They always think they waited longer than they did. So they started putting up TV screens that show the daily news and then people thought they were waiting in line less time. Their estimate was that they were spending less time than they actually were when before they thought they were spending more.

So there are lots of things you can do. Operations is about lines. Or inventory. Or queues. Or buffers. Or stock. What you try to do in a factory is minimize those things. The wonderful advance that Toyota made was “no inventory.” Everything’s just in time. And that’s not really true: you’ve got to have some inventory to make it work. But operations is all about inventories. And about efficiency. Well? In the real world you’ve got to have lines. There’s no faking it. Cause if you have two systems. System A and System B. And this can be two machines or a person and a machine or another person, or a store and a person. You have two systems doing their own thing so you have to work with each other. One of them is going to have to wait. Because you go to a store, the salesperson. Well, if the salespeople are all busy then I have to wait. Now if they’re not all busy, what does that mean? Well it means that the salespeople are waiting. Any two systems that are going to interact, one of them is always going to be waiting on the other one. Either I’m waiting for something to happen or something is waiting for me and I have to finish.

Turns out when you start doing service design to a large extent it’s about handling the lines and the queues. And trying to figure out your [inaudible]. Lines are sometimes important, like in Disney. Or look at McDonalds. Fast food restaurant; I want to place my order and then I want to pick it up. But even in a fast food restaurant it takes time to prepare the food. To bag it and gather the right stuff, and so if they handle it right, after I place my order: if I drive my car around, sometimes around two different sides of the building, that’s a line. And it takes time to do that, and it gives them time to prepare the order so that when I get there it seems like: oh, the order’s ready. See? It’s immediate. And what’s neat about doing it this way is that you don’t realize that this is a delaying tactic. You think it’s normal; well, I gave the order and I have to drive to pick it up. That’s the way life is. But you don’t realize they’ve made it longer than it has to be, to give them time. But handling time is really neat. Handling lines is really neat. And I’ve really discovered that the operations people have got something there.

I started thinking about services. We all know about product design, we all know how to do it, so therefore it’s boring to me. I mean, most people still do it wrong, but it’s boring because we know how to do it. Services, we don’t really know much about. I can’t find any decent literature about services. It’s amazing. A lot of people study it, but the operations people: ha, they want to make it more efficient. They look at it from the point of view of the company. Which means it’s often miserable from the point of view of the customer.

There’s an old paper, about 12 years old now by John Heskett. Who’s now in Hong Kong, but I don’t know for how many decades he was here at ID, teaching. And just a couple years ago he moved to Hong Kong Polytechnic. [editor’s note: Norman is referring to a paper by James L. Heskett, not John Heskett. The paper is “The Service Profit Chain,” from 1997.] And he argued that in service design you have two components. You have to treat them equally. One of them is the employee component. And what you want to do is treat your employees really well so you have employer satisfaction and employee satisfaction and employee retention. Because it’s a horrible thing at a company to lose an employee, because it takes time to hire a new one, and then time to train them and it takes time for them to learn the way the company works. And then the other side is exactly the same except it’s the customers. You want to have customer satisfaction, so you have customer retention: they keep buying from you and customer satisfaction. And that’s a really nice framework, but it doesn’t really tell you how to manage each of those.

There’s another interesting framework that’s called front-stage and back-stage. You’ve heard about that? You probably actually have a course in service design here, do you? So when I say: we all understand service design? you’re saying: yes, we do; we have a course in it. So what do you learn about service design? [inaudible] And as designers what do you worry about? Both? How do you worry about the backstage? [inaudible] Understand the operation… yes… efficiency. So the backstage is… operations! Making the stuff work efficiently.

Actually I love to tell the story of the iPod. Which you may not think of as a service, but it is. The success of the iPod has little to do with the iPod. I mean, the iPod is a nice device, but c’mon if you look in the stores there are lots of other music players, often with better capabilities and a lot cheaper, and often quite attractive. But iPod is a system, not a device. It starts off: Apple was the first company to license music from music producers so before Apple it was illegal to have downloaded music. Apple made it legal for 99 cents a song, which was not a bad price. Second, they bought a company that had a music database. Now I don’t know how many of you know SAP database, but they’re notorious for being horrible, clumsy, ridiculous. iTunes is an SAP database. Nobody knows because Apple did a great job. SAP is really pissed at Apple because they won’t let SAP brag about it. Apple wants, Apple always wants all the credit for everything.

Apple hardly ever invents anything. It’s amazing. You know the new iPhone? And the wonderful two-finger touch? Isn’t it great that Apple did that and invented it? You know, it’s been around for like 15 years and they were the first company to actually bring out a commercial product. And part of that is that the technology used to be expensive and now it’s come down to where it’s reasonably expensive. The iPhone is expensive. But they didn’t invent it; they exploited it. So they got iTunes: a great database. Easy to use, easy to buy. Easy to find your music. Easy to download to your computer, regardless of what brand it is. Easy to to plug in the iPod. Easy to get the iPod. And the iPod itself is well done. Not perfect, but it’s nicely done. But they didn’t stop there. There’s also this draconian DRM. Digital rights management system, so you’re stuck. Once you buy Apple music you can’t play it on any other device.

They didn’t stop there. If you look there’s actually three to five billion dollars worth of products that are sold to work with the iPod. External speakers, microphones, timers, this, that and— [inaudible] BMW, well. Yes, you can buy a BMW to plug into your iPod. Well, if you want to sell this, how come Apple doesn’t sell this and make some of the profits? Because Apple has a better way. If you want to say that this is Apple certified, and you use this little logo, which is a little rectangle with a circle and rectangle in it, you have to pay Apple 10% of your sales. So Apple gets profit at zero cost. 100% margin you call that. Zero risk. So Apple’s system is operations. One of the things that’s wonderful about that is how smooth the operations are. So operations really matter in design.

But let’s look at backstage and frontstage. What’s really interesting is that that’s a funny distinction. If I’m a clerk in a bank, to me the frontstage is the customer sitting in front of me. And the backstage is whatever goes on when the customer’s doing their thing before coming to me. And if I’m a customer, the front stage is the clerk. The bank clerk. And the backstage is whatever goes on behind them.

But, a backstage has a frontstage and a backstage. If I’m in the backstage, I talk to a customer and then a machine, and I do something. And a machine has a frontstage, which is my interaction with it, and a backstage which is all that happens mysteriously behind the scenes. But if you actually go behind the scenes you’ll find there’s lots of people in backroom offices doing things and so, each of them has a frontstage, which is the machine delivering something to them, and the backstage, which is the operations that they pass on to somebody else. So it’s a recursive, continual. So it’s really very complex design process. If you start thinking about that, that’s interesting. So how do you manage it so that it’s efficient, but that the employers actually like it?

There’s an interesting movie called the Harvey Girls. In the 1870s, Fred Harvey took one of the transcontinental trains, went from the east coast to the west coast and it was a miserable experience. And when it would stop for food, it was incredible. It was filled with roaches; it was always stale. The way it was described was that it was fresh coffee; every month. He decided that he was going to change that, so he convinced Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad to let him do restaurants. And what he said, was he would open up a restaurant and he would guarantee great food, and he guaranteed the railroad that all the customers on the train would be served in 30 minutes.

What he did was he hired a bunch of girls; they called them Harvey Girls. That was unusual because girls weren’t waiters in those days. And he hired them and brought them into the remote cities and gave them room and board and they lived there. And their job was to service the customers in 30 minutes. With a smile. He trained them how to smile. How to do it. How to be efficient. And the first month was all training; they weren’t even paid. But they were given room and board. And what he did was, he would have the conductors go down the car and take the orders and then throw them off when they passed the next telegraph station. And the station would telegraph it to the restaurant so they would have sometimes a couple of hours to prepare the food so when the customers came their orders would all be ready. And that meant that the restaurant could also tell their suppliers what the supplies would need to be. This was in 1870 and he actually did what today is really one of the great user observations. He did a lot of iteration, tried it and modified it. A lot of training. It was really a great test case.

He finally went out of business. He was actually so successful that people would sometimes not get back on the train again. They would stay and wait for the next train. So pretty soon he was building hotels around the train, and pretty soon he was selling things while they had extra time, they could buy souvenirs. And he finally went out of business when the trains got better and they started having good dining cars. He actually started supplying the food in the dining cars. But it was a very successful business. So he understood a lot of this.

But the operations people don’t get it yet. Hospitals are interesting. I’ve been doing a lot of work in hospitals. I go up and down. I’m on a National Academy of Science committee looking at information technology in hospitals, because their president has said: we should have electronic record systems. Because look at all the errors people make now, and if we only had electronic systems we wouldn’t make those errors and because this committee is composed of expert physicians and expert computer scientists and one behavioral scientist (me) we know that the president is right. They won’t have those errors when we introduce computers. We’ll have different errors. Probably bigger ones too.

In fact we’ve seen it; I’ve seen it already. I was wandering about; we’re following physicians on their morning rounds, we’ve looked at nurse shift takeovers, we’ve looked at assignment of hotel beds— um, restaurant beds— that is incredibly hard. People stay in those recovery rooms after an operation for hours, not because they’re needed, but because there’s no bed available. Even with large hospitals you just can’t give a person the next available bed. It has to be a bed where the physician has rights to visit. It has to be a bed with the right supplies and equipment and the right kind of ward depending on the kind of operation that was done. And you never know when the patient is going to come, even if you know when they’re going into the operation room you never know how long it’s going to be or what complications can arise. You don’t know when your patient’s going to be well enough to be discharged to free up the bed, so it’s a very complex problem.

But, look at the buffer problem, from an operations point of view, what I watched was a waiting room filled with patients. So that our expensive physicians and expensive equipment doesn’t go wasted. Now think about it from the patient’s point of view. What I want is a waiting room filled with physicians. So when I go in I get served. Interesting enough, I found one hospital where I saw both. Lots of waiting rooms with lots of patients waiting around. I saw one place where there were physicians waiting around; nothing to do, telling jokes. Drinking coffee, catching up on e-mail. It was the emergency room. Now actually that is where I’d like a waiting room filled with physicians. Happened to be a light load. Actually they kept apologizing to us: oh we’re sorry there aren’t more emergencies this morning.

If you actually look at what’s going on in the hospital it’s actually not a bad example of these principles that should apply to any service. No information, no feedback. The thing that really frustrates people more than anything else is uncertainty. Not understanding what is going on. You’re waiting in the waiting room; you don’t know how long you’re going to have to wait. You’re in a hospital bed and all these people come in. Suddenly someone comes in and pokes you. Makes you take some medicine. A physician with five people trailing behind comes to look at you and what do they want? When am I going to get my medication. What is this? Why are you doing this? If you could only keep people informed, it would be really interesting.

One of the hospitals, the University of Pittsburgh medical center is actually trying this. They have these big TV screens; big computer screens for the physicians. So you go in and can review with the patient so you know who this is. But why not have a TV screen, they say, for the patient? Which gives a list of the times when you get the medications and what they are and when this group of people come in, who they are and why they’re there. So they’re just starting to deploy it; they’re testing it. It’s a rare instance of patient-centered design. And trying to understand what makes people feel better. And that principle really applies to a lot of operations. It’s a really major design issue.

As I tell my students, what they’ve learned to do is optimize the plan from the point of view of the total throughput. But what if they tried to optimize from the point of view of the machine? Or the point of view of the parts? Optimizing from the point of view of the part is very much like optimizing the hospital from the point of view of the patient. The patient is going through all these different processes so maybe too much efficiency would be a bad thing. Maybe more feedback would be useful.

So, where else do I want to go?

Well there’s, yes? [inaudible question] Yeah. What a novel idea; dialog! So that doesn’t feel like waiting at all, kind of like when I drive around the McDonalds it doesn’t feel like I’m waiting, it feels like: well I have to go from here to here and suddenly your three minutes or two minutes or whatever it felt natural, so if you had a dialog or information it might feel natural. And normal.

So how can we make— some of these things— waiting lines are necessary. I’ve argued that. How do you make it feel though like it’s part of the game. Look at what Disney, or some of the amusement parks do. They do what computer scientists would call a “double buffer system.” You take this ride that’s going to be a spaceship simulation system and fifty people get in and sit in these chairs that tilt and vibrate and there’s a story and so on. So people are all lined up waiting to go, for the next batch. So what do they do? They don’t tell them it’s a “line.” It’s a “briefing session.” Right? You’ve been through that? And they give you this wonderful story and show slides and explain the information and so on, and you don’t think you’re waiting in line. You think that’s part of the experience. That’s not quite a dialog, but it’s in the same spirit. So that’s kind of neat. So now when you go in, if you actually compute how much time you spent, you might have spent 45 minutes or an hour— most of which was in the briefing or pre-briefing rooms, and only a short time actually on the ride, but from your point of view it was a good experience total.

There’s a few other puzzles that I’ve been thinking about. There’s this famous paper and book by this famous author, what’s his name? You guys would know: it’s called The Experience Economy. Pine and Gilmore. See, I knew you guys would know. And actually if you read the papers and the book they’re really exciting and they seem just right, unless you think about it deeply. It’s really shallow and crappy and made up. But there’s something right about it. They love to talk about Disney, and they love to talk about American Girl dolls and they love to talk about things like Bass Pro, the sporting goods store.

I don’t know if any of you— have any of you been to Bass Pro? It’s like an amusement park for men. Actually, they advertise it as for men. But it’s actually different than some of these theme park restaurants in the sense that in the restaurant there’s all this amusement, but it has nothing to do with being a restaurant, and what Bass Pro does is: it’s for sporting goods. They have waterfalls and aquarium. They have climbing walls. And you can try out your equipment. And the aquariums you can actually try out the fishing lures. You can actually see the fish bite it. They take the hooks off, but you can actually— they try to make it part of the experience, but it’s also a part of the selling experience. The stories I hear are that you have to drag the men out of the stores after four of five hours; men who hate shopping, will go in there forever. But that’s what Pine and Gilmore’s stuff is about. It’s about stuff like that. There’s this taco restaurant in the Denver area, and they have 1,100 seats. And there are lots of experiences.

But one of the papers we read, “My week as a room-service waiter at the Ritz” it’s a Harvard Business Review article about a guy who spent a week learning how to be a Ritz Carlton room service person. Who was actually a journalist; he was just trying to see how they taught them. But it was really quite amazing. And the argument from Ritz Carlton’s point of view is that in a good restaurant, or a good hotel, if a guest wants something they just have to ask. In a great hotel, they don’t have to ask. So they’re giving you a tremendous amount of personal service. Is that what you always want? I see some shakes of the head. I’ve stayed in lots of Ritz Carltons and lots of Four Seasons and there are lots of times I prefer the Hilton Garden Inn. So instead of $600 a night, it’s closer to $100 a night. And instead of a lot of personal service there’s essentially no personal service. But, it’s consistent. It’s clean. It’s neat. As a business person, what often happens is I come in late at night. I just want to check my e-mail and go to sleep. And in the morning I just want a really good shower and get out of there. And all this fancy personal service gets in the way.

So what I want is a hotel that gives me free internet. The really expensive hotels don’t give you free internet; it’s only the cheap ones who do. A coffee pot in the room so I can make coffee if I want it. In the really expensive hotels they don’t give you a coffee pot in your room because they want you to pick up the phone and say: I’d like some coffee. And they say: yes sir, Mr. Norman; we’ll be right there. And they always know your name too. I just want to make it; I don’t want to have someone come up. And there’s always a good desk and a good light and enough electric outlets. And you don’t find that in the luxurious hotels. They didn’t think that you’re there to work.

How many of you use an ATM machine instead of a bank teller? Why? Well there aren’t that many bank tellers any more; you have to wait in line. But even if there were no line; you don’t have to make pleasant conversations, you don’t have to worry about it, you just get your money and go. So there’s a lot to be said for automation when everything goes right; when nothing goes wrong. It’s when something goes wrong or you need something special that you need to talk to a person.

The question is, how do you put all of this together? When is it that we want lots of good service and when is it that we want to be left alone? The people vary, I vary. There are times when I want— well I don’t actually go to Ritz Carlton much, I go to Four Seasons. Same price. I like that; it’s my favorite hotel in Las Vegas. Why is that? You go to Las Vegas it’s filled with gambling and the noise and you can’t get through anything. And if you go to the Four Seasons in Las Vegas it’s actually not even a whole hotel, it’s only half a hotel; the top floors of another hotel. And the instant you open the secret door to the Four Seasons the noise goes away. There’s no gambling in the Four Seasons no casinos whatsoever. Just classical music coming out of the loudspeakers. And you walk down the hall and the maids say: good morning Mr. Norman. They all memorize your name and you get served. And if you’re on vacation it’s perfect. If you want to get work done it might get in the way.

Sometimes I switch even from moment to moment. In the morning I don’t want your help thank you very much; I want to get out of here. That happened to me this morning. I was having breakfast with a visiting professor, actually a former student of mine. And the waiter came by and asked if everything was alright and it sounds like the sort of thing a waiter should do, but no. It interrupts our conversation.

But isn’t it correct for the waiter to ask if everything is all right? How do you balance that? How can you design a service so that when a person really wants personal attention you’re right there to give it to them but when the person wants to be left alone they’re left alone to do their stuff? You have the answer? Do not disturb sign? Yes… but the do not disturb sign is clearly an attempt to do this but how many times have you put up the do not disturb sign on your door and then forget it’s there? Or I have the sign, and I mean it, except that I’ve ordered breakfast and I didn’t mean you; I wanted breakfast and it doesn’t come and I call up and then they tell me that they came to the room but you said do not disturb. Or what does it mean when I’m walking down the hall; I want to wear a big sign that says do not disturb me, or flip it over to say: hey, I really want help.

That happened to me this morning at the beginning when we were trying to have conversation. They were always coming by to check on us, but when I was out of coffee it’s: hey… But it’s a difficult job to manage all that and remember the cost. The problem is that the Four Seasons, they’re going to charge you $600 or $800 dollars a hotel room. They can afford to have lots of people watching you, trying to guess when you want help or not. But the Hilton Garden Court can’t. So the real question is how can you do this even in the non-luxury section.

[inaudible question]

I like that, that’s kind of neat. There’s a registration process to become a Four Seasons customer. And so, we’d like you to go through a little training session here about how you would like to indicate to our employees that you’re ready for service or no, leave me alone.


No, I think you’re right. There are lots of cultural norms and it’s kind of silly to go through training period, but in some sense we do. When we move to a new culture we learn about the rules of the culture. The problem though is in this flat world we’re traveling all around and the cultures vary. Even subcultures vary so even the signals you send at the Four Seasons hotel might be very different than at a McDonalds. But the principle is correct. That’s why in the luxury hotels there’s a training process for the waiters and the clerks and all the people who help to try to read these signals to try to understand that when someone looks around, go and ask if you can help, but if they really look like they know what they’re doing, let them do it. But that is difficult.

What I’m trying to do; what I’d love to do is have a theoretical framework and I’m trying to start to put it together, based a bit on what John Heskett talked about, a bit on what the control systems talk about, but most of the literature as far as I can tell, from the operations point of view. All the literature is on optimization from the company’s point of view. Not from the customer’s point of view, or even the employer or employee’s point of view. And the design literature is mostly the front end; make the front end experience wonderful. But very few designers consider the back end. The back stage. And very seldom from the point of view of the people working there; not always. And I’m sure your course is exemplary of course. Sure. But I really don’t think there’s much literature. And it’s not the same.

One of the things that’s different is that products tend to be static. Even in the interaction design courses it’s kind of static. A little bit of interaction. Whereas in services it’s really experiences. It’s not like the Experience Economy, all great theatrical shows. Even using an ATM machine is kind of an experience; when it goes well. And the proper modeling for that is not a sketch or a physical prototype; it’s a storyboard. What you want to do is show the time course, so it’s a storyboard or a little video. And we actually don’t know good prototyping schemes for things that involve time. Because it’s easy to make a foam mockup, but it’s hard to make something that shows the interactions of people. A storyboard is probably the best, or a video. But those are instances. It’s an interesting challenge.

I have an outline in my pocket. If you notice, I haven’t looked at it yet, so I’m sure there are lots of topics I had in mind I would talk to you about. But you get the idea where I’m going, or where I’m not going. Or where I’m rambling. So actually, throw a question at me. That’ll be more fun than looking at my outline.

. . .

This transcript is from a lecture by Don Norman in April 2008 at the Institute of Design in Chicago. The photograph was captured from a videorecording of the lecture.

Lecture continues for thirty-six minutes of questions, starting at around 42min 30sec.

Download this lecture [64.8 MB]

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s