The Design of Everyday Things I interacted with

In this small project, we simply look around items in the surroundings and find anything that could be explained by design principles explained in Don Norman’s book “Design of Everyday Things.” Here is my list of 9 things I interacted with followed by each principle.


  1. Light switch in the hotel room – Mapping
    There’s are 2 switches by the door, one obviously turns on the light in front of the door, but the other doesn’t seem to do anything.
  2. Switches don’t work? – Discoverability
    Just moved into a new house, and found several switches don’t do anything. Later on, I realized some are light controls for sockets on the other side of the room; some are master switches that actually “turn on” the power of plug sockets on the same wall … not sure about the design logic behind this—> supposed to be a safety and energy saving feature??
  3. The mirror in my bathroom – Affordance (designer & user) vs Efficiency?
    In our new bathroom, we have an entire wall of mirror, which makes storage space very inefficient: pretty much all things have to be put away from that wall of mirror. BUT, we put a lot of hangers with suckers because there’s a lot of space for it … BUT it looks really ugly.
  4. The same design works differently in different places – Inconsistency
    In the common area of my apartment, the switch for a sensor light has a “power” icon on it; there’s an exact same design of switch in my own apartment bathroom, but it doesn’t turn on when people enter the space. I am still trying to figure out if I’m missing some settings? Or there’s actually another “master” control to activate the “sensor” function?
  5. The UCI payment system: so confusing – Discoverability, learnability, mapping, etc
    There was completely no information feedback regarding whether I am successfully enrolled in the class or not; before the enrollment deadline, I kept receiving an email saying I have money past due… which I checked several times, the balance shows “0”.
  6. Samsung recorder app and in-coming phone – Interference
I was recording the course while incoming call happened and I didn’t realize the recording just stopped. Lose 5 minutes of talks.
  7. Gmail account switch and flags – Usability
    When you sign into multiple Gmail accounts, you cannot just sign out of one account nor switch between drive accounts. And I never understand what that “flag” means…
  8. Corner Desk/Shelf – Efficiency + Delight
    I love “corner” furniture design: They are not only great room décor but saves a great deal of room space.
  9. Hotel room door lock – Constraint
    Pretty neat design that if the door is locked from the inside, you won’t be able to open it from the outside even with the door card: The indicator light shows “orange” instead of “green” in this situation.




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