Designing Wrong

An article by David Pogue in the NYT last week reminded me of one of my favorite (somewhat fluffy, but a fun read) design books — The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman (originally published as The Psychology of Everyday Things).

User-centered design. When I come across a door that gives no clue as to whether it is a pull or push, when I have to fill out a web form in some absurd order not correlating with the work I’m trying to accomplish, I wonder whether the designer[s] actually consider the user at all.

That isn’t to say that I don’t have my own failures as a designer, because I do. My failures are usually because I misunderstand how I believe the user does work, not because I completely ignore the user. I’m not sure which is worse.