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The Design of Everyday Things Online Course Launches

What design tradeoffs do you see here?

What design tradeoffs do you see here?

While making my usual cup of coffee this morning at Udacity, I noticed that someone recently attached a handmade label to our Nespresso coffee machine addressing confusion around a key step in using it.
The following questions immediately came to mind: How would I change the design to alleviate the confusion? What were the potential tradeoffs the people who designed the machine faced that resulted in the confusing step?

These questions prompted a smile because they’re evidence that I’ll forever see the designed world around me differently on account of my work on our course The Design of Everyday Things.

Design is more than aesthetics, and is increasingly playing an impact in people’s lives (especially with the rise of mobile and wearable technology). When design is done well, it can play a substantial role in helping people live safer, healthier, more efficient, and even more meaningful lives. When it’s done poorly, it can lead to disastrous situations. I’ll never forget a segment I recently listened to on NPR that mentioned an accidental death of an infant because a poorly designed drug label misled a team of doctors and the infant’s parents into giving her too much of the drug.

The aforementioned story is an extreme case of the consequences of poor design; most of us don’t encounter life and death design decisions. We do, however, make design decisions that impact people around us, whether or not we have the word “designer” in our job title.

I’m thrilled to announce the release of The Design of Everyday Things. The class covers key concepts from the first two chapters of Don Norman’s recently revised book The Design of Everyday Things, and is designed to give you knowledge, vocabulary, and hands-on experience to support making sound design decisions in addition to being an informed consumers of design.

Don, Kristian Simsarian and I hope you enjoy taking The Design of Everyday Things course as much as we enjoyed making it! It’s meant to be a collaborative experience; over 40,000 students and counting are ready to take the class, and we’re confident our students will learn just as much from each other as they will from us.


Chelsey Glasson
Course Developer, The Design of Everyday Things