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Lo spremiagrumi di Norman o il contorno emotivo delle cose

Esiste un lato emotivo del design che è parte fondamentale dell’esperienza d’uso. Da uno dei padri dell’ergonomia, una conferma che usabilità ed emozione non si escludono, tutt’altro.

Nel sito di Donald Norman (www.jnd.org) fa bella mostra la (efficacissima) copertina dell’ultimo libro di Donald: Emotional Design. Vi campeggia lo spremiagrumi di un famoso designer; dentro il bicchiere il sottotitolo recita: Why we love (or hate) everyday things. Il libro è una riflessione sull’aspetto emotivo del design, e sul rapporto di tale aspetto con quello dell’usabilità e della praticità.

Nel sito sono già disponibili alcuni assaggi. E come al solito lo stile affabulatorio e ironico di Norman mi conquista. Ecco uno stralcio dal prologo.

I have a collection of teapots. One of them is completely unusable – the handle is on the same side as the spout. It was invented by the French artist Jacques Carelman, who called it a coffeepot: a “coffeepot for masochists.” […]

The second item in my collection is the teapot called Nanna whose unique squat and chubby nature is surprisingly appealing. The third is a complicated but practical “tilting” pot made by the German firm Ronnefeldt. The Carelman pot is, by intent, impossible to use. The Nanna teapot, designed by the well-known architect and product designer Michael Graves, looks clumsy but actually works rather well.

The tilting pot, which I discovered while enjoying high tea at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago, was designed with the different stages of tea brewing in mind. To use it, I place the tea leaves on a shelf (out of sight in the pot’s interior) and lay the pot on its back while the leaves steep. As the brew approaches the desired strength, I prop the pot up at an angle, partially uncovering the tea leaves. When the tea is ready, I set the pot upright, so that the leaves are no longer in contact with the tea.

Which one of these teapots do I usually use? None of the above. […]

The story of the teapots illustrates several components of product design: usability (or lack thereof), aesthetics, and practicality. In creating a product, a designer has many factors to consider: the choice of material, the manufacturing method, the way the product is marketed, cost and practicality. How easy is the product to use, to understand? But what many people don’t realize is that there is also a strong emotional component to how products are designed and put to use. In this book, I argue that the emotional side of design may be more critical to a product’s success than its practical elements.

Ed ecco allora Norman approdare al concetto di Intelligenza Emotiva (come la definirebbe Goleman).

Emotions are inseparable from and a necessary part of cognition. Everything we do, everything we think is tinged with emotion, much of it subconscious. In turn, our emotions change the way we think, and serve as constant guides to appropriate behavior, steering us away from the bad, guiding us toward the good.

Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things, prologo e altri stralci del libro.