Am I washing my clothes or going to space?
The reading by Norman was quite entertaining. There are so many things I use in my every day life, especially technologies, that get me extremely frustrated with their complexity. However, when thinking of an item to capture for this post and relate to Norman’s essay I kept coming back to one in particular, the washing machine. My problem with this household appliance stems from Norman’s thought that, “Devices in the home have developed some related problems: functions and more functions, controls and more controls. I do not think that simple home appliances-stoves, washing machines, audio and television sets-should look like Hollywood’s idea of a spaceship control room.”
As you can tell by the photo, my washing machine has more knobs than I know what to do with, and whenever I have an especially tricky item of clothing I need to wash I usually go running to my mother complaining that this thing might as well be a spaceship. I can usually figure it out but I am reminded of when I was in high school and admittedly my mom still did my laundry for me. When it came time for me to finally do the task for myself I literally blacked out every time I needed to wash my clothes. My mom told me how to use the washing machine EVER TIME I did laundry, and when she wasn’t home she even left instructions for me (I know pathetic but I’m sorry, SPACE SHIP!) It still took me a good year to get it down. Until I moved to college and had a whole new space …err washing machine to learn how to use.
I know my washing machine might not be as complicated as some other peoples and that thought just makes me feel sorry for them. However, it just makes one of Norman’s last thoughts ring true, “The paradox of technology should never be used as an excuse for poor design. It is true that as the number of options and capabilities of any device increases, so too must the number and complexity of the controls. But the principles of good design can make complexity manageable.”
For those of us that just want to wash our clothes and not go to the moon, less is more. Its lucky I don’t shrink more clothes or turn them pink.