March 14: Mental Models with an example
As designers of a product, we can’t assume that users share our mental models of how our products work.
Source: The Design of Everyday Things
Published: November 2013
Mental Models with an example
Mental models are the conceptual models in people's minds that represent their understanding of how things work. Different people hold different mental models for the same concepts.
Don Norman, designer and author, used to own an ordinary, two-compartment refrigerator. The refrigerator had two controls:
When he tried to make the freezer colder, it also made the refrigerator colder—even when he didn’t change the refrigerator dial.
His mental model of how the cooling unit worked differed from how it actually worked; there was only one cooling unit with a valve that dispersed the air to each compartment, instead of two respective cooling units.
The takeaway: As designers of any product, we can’t assume that users share our mental models of how our products work.
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