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The Design of Everyday Things

Cover of The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman Published by Basic Books
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images A friend kindly let me borrow his car. Just before I was about to leave, I found a note waiting for me: “I should have mentioned that to get the key out of the ignition the car needs to be in reverse.” The car needs to be in reverse! If I hadn’t seen the note, I never could have figured that out. There was no visible cue in the car: the knowledge needed for this trick had to reside in the head. If the driver lacks that knowledge, the key stays in the ignition forever.

It is easy to show the faulty nature of human knowledge and memory. A common classroom exercise in the United States demonstrates ...

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