Users cannot communicate directly to the designers. Thus, it is designers’ design that takes on the responsibility to communicate with the users of the product. The design will reveal whether the designers are considerate and thoughtful or not. The ideal relationship between users and their products should be like a pair of old couple with no guessing and confusing. However, every new product and its user are newly-wed. How can they possibly form a silent understanding and have their minds in sync?
Once I used a bread machine to bake a cake. I pressed on the panel where printed “Start” (yes, there’s no buttons, terrific) and then the countdown number on the screen turned red. I thought it’s the sign that it started to bake but later I knew I was wrong because I came back to check the machine and found it still and cold. It is frustrated that your machine does not give you feedback so that you know you did the right thing. I didn’t even know if I give out my order or not since I can’t feel the button being pressed and the panel gave me a wrong clue. This is the example of product fail to communicate with its user.
Users will generalize their past experience and apply it to the present situation, like old school lovers who are used to movie and dinner for a date than a bungee jumping from the bridge. To impress users, designers should take them to a restaurant that suits their taste instead of one with menus they can’t understand. Indications and feedbacks must be clear and correspond to common sense or regular standards. To prevent the users from causing damage if they operate the product wrong by not only warning but also forcibly block the operation through the design.
The communication between a product and a user is more like the designers are communicating with the user. Designer cannot rely on manuals and instructions since many users will not bother to take a look. User-centered design involves psychology, human behavior, scenarios simulation, to achieve a user-friendly design, and establish new usage habits gradually rather than forcing users to adapt.
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