Good Design Is Clear


  1. The answer, I quickly determined, was that the appearance of the device must provide the critical clues required for its proper operation—knowledge has to be both in the head and in the world. - The Design of Everyday Things
  2. Many in the design community understand that design must convey the essence of a device's operation; the way it works; the possible actions that can be taken; and, through feedback, just what it is doing at any particular moment. - ditto
  3. This short lesson on conceptual models points out that good design is also an act of communication between the designer and the user, except that all the communication has to come about by the appearance of the device itself. The device must explain itself. - ditto
  4. Conceptual models are critical to good design. - ditto
  5. when instructions have to be pasted on something (push here, insert this way, turn off before doing this), it is badly designed. - ditto
  6. Well-designed objects are easy to interpret and understand. They contain visible clues to their operation. Poorly designed objects can be difficult and frustrating to use. They provide no clues — or sometimes false clues. - ditto
  7. including the importance of visibility, appropriate clues, and feedback of one's actions. - ditto
  8. When affordances are taken advantage of, the user knows what to do just by looking: no picture, label, or instruction is required. Complex things may require explanation, but simple things should not. When simple things need pictures, labels, or instructions, the design has failed. - ditto
  9. And part comes from the ability of the designer to make the operation clear, to project a good image of the operation, and to take advantage of other things people might be expected to know. - ditto
  10. A good principle, that. Controls are where they ought to be. One function, one control. Harder to do, of course, than to say, but essentially this is the principle of natural mappings: the relationship between controls and actions should be apparent to the user. I return to this topic later in the book, for the problem of determining the "naturalness" of mappings is difficult, but crucial. - ditto

Clarity of design minimizes complexity even when new features and functionalities are added to the thing - usefulness and usability should remain as clear as possible, if not clearer.