Don Norman Video: UX Week


Don Norman interviewed by Peter Merholz

UX Week – Video

Don Norman, the esteemed “Ralph Nader of design,” gives us 52:29 of his time to offer wisdom gained from his experience in matters of user experience, design, business, and making our case to management.

Don Norman Quotes

Notable quotables, for those who may not have the fifty two and a half minutes:

“Great design without smooth operations is worthless, but smooth operations without a good front end… good interaction design, is really worthless. So the two really come together.”

“A good designer will actually design the company.”

“User experience is really the whole totality. Opening the package… good example. It’s the total experience that matters. And that starts from when you first hear about a product… experience is more based upon memory than reality. If your memory of the product is wonderful, you will excuse all sorts of incidental things.”

“One of my favorite questions is ‘what do you hate most about when you visit a Disney theme park?’ And the answer is universal, ‘the lines.’ The next question is ‘would you go back?’ and the answer is yes. And so the lines are universally hated. And it doesn’t matter. So you don’t need to have everything perfect… they do a really good job of making the lines as bearable as possible. And that’s what user experience design is about, it’s about memories… that in the end, you love it.”

“Do not go to your executives with a little presentation or lecture about why it is good to treat customers well. Do not try to tell them why it is important to do it. Do not try to say why you have some unhappy customers. They will agree with you. And nothing will happen. Go to them just like the marketing people go to them. The marketing people don’t go with that argument. The marketing people go them first of all with a marketing campaign that looks exciting and second of all with spreadsheets that show, ‘if we do this, this is the expected profit.’ That’s what you have to do. You have to go in there with a spreadsheet. And say ‘if we do this, this here is what we expect to gain.’ The question is where do you get the numbers and so on. And the answer is, where do marketing get the numbers? They make them up! We can make up numbers just as well as they can. They have to be plausible. They can’t be silly. They have to be reasonable. But you make them up. If you’re the CEO of a company or senior executive of a company the most important thing is making a profit… so what you have to do to the executive is prove to them that they’re throwing away money and if they only follow what you say they will bring in a lot more money. And by the way no one ever checks up on you, so don’t worry about it. No one ever checks up on marketing people. And if at all possible find some senior marketing people to be your allies… if you can get marketing on your side and you can use spreadsheets, that’s how you make your case.”

“You have to learn to speak the language of business.”

“Your job is to make your boss successful.”

See all Adaptive Path UX Week videos on Vimeo »

About Michael Cummings 38 Articles
Michael Cummings has been planning, designing and producing interactive systems since 1997.

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