October 14, 2003

Don Norman Interviewed on Emotional Design

BBC News has published an interview with "the Don" entitled "Technology to make you go 'wow'". In the interview, Norman summarizes some of the points he made in a talk I went to at the University of Minnesota; points that are surely expanded upon in his forthcoming book.

"He argues that the levels on which the brain works correspond with three different levels of design."

'The visceral level is the low biological level and there's where beauty comes in and appearances matter. 'On the surface something looks attractive and something feels good. That is very important and that makes the brain function differently.'

"On a visceral level, the brain is a little bit more creative so if there something does not work well, people are more willing to forgive it if they like it.

"Then there is the behavioural level which controls muscles, perception and language. It is at this level that usability and how something feels lie, something which he and his colleagues have examined in great detail.

But Dr Norman wants to move on and think at the deeper level of reflection, the level that dictates how we feel about things, he says.

'That is where having a good brand name matters. Having a good brand name has to earned because they stand for trust,' he says.

"Good design must incorporate all three levels, and that is what emotional design is all about."

You can pre-order Don Norman's upcoming book:

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