Title: The Psychology of Everyday Actions
Week of Jan. 28 2019
This topic deals with some of the basic principles of problem
solving. Some of the traps and pitfalls we experience in our
environment and in our faulty reasoning perpetuate improper
response. In order to overcome these situations we must be aware of
the design we propose for objects and be conscious of the messages
design sends to the users.
Norman makes a good case for the need to be aware of our own state
of mental models as we interact with the environment. Learned Helplessness and Taught Helplessness are two examples of how
our state of mind can hinder the usage of objects. Other situations
arise when the design of the object imposes artificial Gulfs or a mismatch between user and
object. Norman goes onto state that the 7
stages of action outline the process, in which a user must
go through, to complete intended goals. He then goes onto propose we
ask 7 basic design questions which target the 7 stages of action.
These would then address the problems we find in everyday design.
Which State is this system in?
Be prepared to discuss some case studies regarding the design of
objects and the errors which arose with the interaction, based on
the readings. Come prepared with your own cases which will be used
as discussion topics for the seminar group. How do the readings
relate to the design of an object or artifact? Can Norman's
discussion on the topics covered in the reading help resolve or at
least identify why errors were made? If you were to address each of
the 7 stages of action with relation to the design, could problems
within the design be avoided.
Chapter two "The Psychology of
Everyday Actions" of Donald A. Norman's "The Design of Everyday Things".
Identify a software artifact which you interact with on a regular
basis. The interaction is the result of forming intentions
to accomplish goals. Using the reading as support for your
argument, discuss the pitfalls in the design. How can one "use the seven stages to ask design questions",
Figure 2.7, to improve the artifact? Will a simple
redesign satisfy the criteria expressed in the Gulf of Execution and
the Gulf of Evaluation? Be sure to suggest improvements if
Be prepared to answer the following questions:
- What are the Gulfs?
- Describe the cognitive cycle when one interacts with an
- Describe Taught Helplessness.
- Describe Learned Helplessness.
- Why do we blame the wrong cause?
Marks will be awarded for presentation, preparation and
participation in the discussion which exhibit emulsion into the
subject matter. Students who do not come prepared can expect a low