Week two of my first masters course is over and I batted a 0/2! You were supposed to post the discussion in two separate posts…of course I did one and it was impossible to correct…and then I didn’t realize an assignment was due Thursday so I submitted it today, almost 3 full days late. Sigh.

Anyway, by far my favorite part of the week was the readings. The Norman book is a little dense to read at night (or basically anytime) but I really enjoyed reading Designing with the Mind in Mind. This week’s readings covered:

  • How perception is biased
  • Gestalt principles
  • Visual structure
  • Color blindess
  • Peripheral vision

I feel like a lot of what was covered in this book so far was “common sense” to me. Perhaps this goes along with Norman’s thoughts on memory and “knowing” something (you “know” it but you don’t necessarily know how you know it).

What I found the most interesting though was Johnson’s long slog on and on about vision. How color vision actually works, what rods in your eye are actually used for and good at, and the idea that “the fovea is only about 1% of the retina, but the brain’s visual cortex devotes about 50% of its area to input from the fovea.” WHAT?! That’s crazy. I laughed a little bit that this entire ramble on about fovea’s led up an example of error messages and making users see said messages.

The designer in me knows of course you don’t put error messages away from the area in question because of XYZ reason but I really appreciated the scientific explanation behind something we’re “trained” to know.

The other thing I really liked reading about although I wish gave more relevant examples was the Gestalt principles. I learned these long again and perhaps even reviewed them back in the day but re-reading about them was a nice refresher. I just wish there were more relevant to IT examples.