Intro to the Design of Everyday Things
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list 2 sequences
assignment Level : Intermediate
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
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credit_card Free access
verified_user Fee-based Certificate
timer 12 hours in total

About the content

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.

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  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • Don Norman - Don is the author of The Design of Everyday Things. He is both a businessperson (he has worked as a VP at Apple, an Executive at HP and UNext) and an academic who has been a faculty member at Harvard, UC San Diego, Northwestern, and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an IDEO fellow, and a trustee of IIT’s Institute of Design. He can be found at
  • Kristian Simsarian - Kristian Simsarian is a design leader, educator and consultant. He is currently the founder and chair of the undergraduate Interaction Design program at California College of the Arts (CCA). Kristian co-founded the Software Experiences practice at IDEO as an Associate Partner, and led design innovation initiatives for many of the world’s most impactful organizations, including: Microsoft, Nokia, Lily, Pfizer, Samsung, Yahoo!, XBOX, SAP, AT&T, Procter & Gamble, the FBI and the National Institutes of Health. After a decade at IDEO he shifted his focus to education while continuing as an IDEO Fellow and independent consultant. As co-teacher of this course, he brings the first steps of actually taking action and becoming a designer yourself.



Udacity is a for-profit educational organization founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, and Mike Sokolsky offering massive open online courses (MOOCs). According to Thrun, the origin of the name Udacity comes from the company's desire to be "audacious for you, the student". While it originally focused on offering university-style courses, it now focuses more on vocational courses for professionals.

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