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Intro to the Design of Everyday Things

Free Course

Principles of Design

Related Nanodegree Program

Introduction to Programming

About this course

Everyone designs. Design occurs anytime you deliberately change an environment to make things better. When you decide what seat to take in an auditorium you’re designing your experience. When you rearrange the furniture in a room or draft an email, you’re designing.

This course provides a summary of key concepts from the first two chapters of The Design of Everyday Things (Revised and Expanded Edition, November 2013) by Don Norman. It’s intended to be enjoyable and informative for anyone curious about design: everyday people, technical people, designers, and non-designers alike.

What you will learn

  1. Affordances and Signifiers
    • Discover the various affordance you must account for when designing.
    • Learn about signifiers and how to improve the utility of your designs.
  2. Conceptual Models and the System Image
    • Use conceptual models to improve your designs.
    • Learn how to design something so your users can develop their own conceptual model.
  3. Gulfs of Evaluation and Execution
    • Discover what you are allowed to do, using the Gulf of Evaluation.
    • Get feedback on your designs with the Gulf of Execution.
  4. Design the User Interface for a Timebank
    • Combine everything you have learned in this course to design the user interface for a Timebank.
    • Sketch a concept of your design.
    • Conduct user testing to improve upon your design.

Prerequisites and requirements

There are no prerequisites for the course; it’s for anyone curious about basic design principles.

See the Technology Requirements for using Udacity.

Why take this course?

This course will provide you with the knowledge needed to start recognizing the role of design in today’s world, and to start making better design decisions in your own life. In addition to learning basic design concepts such as affordances and signifiers, you will also gain practice in observing and applying design principles.

Learn with the best.

  • Don Norman
    Don Norman


  • Kristian Simsarian
    Kristian Simsarian


  • Chelsey Glasson
    Chelsey Glasson