People-Centered Design. Why it matters?

Distinguished Lecture | IST - Centro de Congressos | 14:30

Prof. Don Norman,

University of California


At the new Design Lab at UC San Diego,
Design is a way of thinking,
understanding people real, fundamental
needs, and designing systems that fulfill
those needs in an understandable,
enjoyable manner.
Does it matter? Yes. Medical error is the
second largest cause of death in
healthcare (alongside cancer and heart
attack). And most of this error is caused
by poor design of instruments, devices,
and procedures.
Autonomous cars promise to save lives,
but how do pedestrians interact when
the cars have no drivers?
In this lecture, I describe some of the
problems we are studying, including
healthcare and autonomous
automobiles, showing how we
approach these issues.
We practice a philosophy of
people-centered design where we
start by observation, then progress to
deep analysis of the underlying issues,
to rapid prototypes (in hours), testing,
and continual iteration. Engineers and
computer scientists need to
understand these principles. Engineers
often make the mistake of being far
too logical. What do I mean? Come to
the discussion.


Don Norman is Founder and Director of the
Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego. He
was co-founder and first chair of the Cognitive Science
Department and prior to that, chair of Psychology.
He has been a Vice President of Advanced technology at
Apple and an executive at HP. He is co-founder and
principal of the Nielsen Norman group, a member of the
National Academy of Engineering, fellow of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cognitive Science Society,
ACM, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society and Design
Research Society. He is an IDEO fellow, and a trustee of
IIT’s Institute of design.
He serves on company boards, has honorary degrees from
Delft, Padua, and San Marino, the lifetime achievement
award from ACM’s Computer-Human Interaction group,
and the President’s lifetime achievement award from the
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. He has published
20 books translated into 20 languages including Emotional
Design and Design of Everyday Things. He can be found at