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Discoverability and Understanding in design


Discoverability and Understanding are two of the most important characteristics of a good design and should never be underestimated and underused.


Discoverability

Is it possible to even figure out what actions are possible and where and how to perform them?


For example - any door where you see “Push” and “Pull” is an example of a failed design:


The door below is a good example of a good design:


Good design doesn't need a manual - its function must be easily discovered by the user.




Understanding

  • What does it all mean?

  • How is the product supposed to be used?

  • What do all the different controls and settings mean?

Lots of nowadays products have too many controls and functions so it is very defying in terms of design understanding. For example, most of washing machines have overcomplicated control boards so it seems we could use them to fly to Mars:


In most cases people usually memorize 2 or 3 settings and use them all the time, leaving other buttons untouched.

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