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Evening Keynote with Don Norman Wednesday, December 5th

November 28, 2012

After a day of intense learning, unwind with us at this stimulating event aimed at broadening your view of user experience and your networking opportunities.

Dr. Norman’s keynote is free for all Las Vegas Usability Week attendees, no matter which days you’re registered for. Just show your conference badge at the door.

The evening keynote will run from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. There will be a networking reception during the time between the end of the full-day courses and the start of the keynote.

The Design of Everyday Things In the 21st Century

The Design of Everyday Things was first published in 1988. Even though the fundamental principles of human interaction introduced in that book are still true, a lot has changed since then. The examples in the book reveal its age: “What is a slide projector?” students ask me. But more importantly, the technology of interaction has changed. Oh yes, we still have doors and switches, faucets and taps to bedevil us, but we now have intelligent machines, continuous interaction with large data sources and social networks that enable life-long interaction with friends and acquaintances across the world.

As we develop new forms of interaction, as touch and feel become important modalities, as speech and gaze direction are important inputs and haptics, augmented and virtual reality outputs, and as there is continuous interaction with one another, what new principles are required.  What happens when we wear augmented reality glasses or embed them within our bodies? Gestures and body movements are fun, but not very precise. And how do we discover those gestures and movements? What ever happened to fundamental design principles of discoverability, feedback, reversibility, and conceptual models?

Doors, water taps, and light switches may remain the same, but automobiles will drive themselves, machines will converse with us, telling us jokes, anticipating our desires. And often they will get it wrong. How shall we design in the 21st century?

Technologies disappear, but the needs they satisfied often remain. Phonographs, slide projectors, and film have disappeared, but music, illustrated talks, and photographs still exist. As technologies change, what design rules must change with them? What must stay the same?


Don Norman likes the fact that in addition to being named as “one of the world’s most influential designers”, Business Week has also labeled him a curmudgeon. “Question everything,” he argues, “for questioning and debate provides deep understanding.” He is both a businessperson (VP at Apple, Executive at HP and a startup, and member of company boards) and an academic (Harvard, UC San Diego, Northwestern, KAIST). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group where he helps companies make products more enjoyable, understandable, and profitable. He is an IDEO fellow and a Trustee of IIT’s Institute of Design in Chicago. He is one of the founders of CHI and received their Lifetime Achievement award.
He is author of numerous books, including Design of Everyday Things and Emotional Design . His newest book, Living with Complexity , argues against simplicity. “The world is complex,” says Norman, “and our tools must match the world. Moreover, people don’t really want simplicity (no matter what they say), they want understanding.” He lives at www.jnd.org .