I respect Don Norman for his contribution to human-computer interaction and bringing user-centered design to the masses. His early research on human memory, human error and good design is still core readings for students. His work at Apple and HP brought his methods to the research and development groups, and as part of Neilsen Norman Group he has championed our cause to the public. He also correctly identifies that as product designers we need to understand the design, the human, the business and the development/production of the products we are building which has been a major down fall of the human factors/usability movements.
In a recent interview with New Scientist he gets it all wrong. Don’s latest kick has been about the role that emotions play in product design. Companies like Apple and Sony have been very effective in making products that people love. I agree that designing products to evoke an emotion can help impact the final success. This is often an overlooked part of the user experience.
But do I really want my computer to have emotions?
I want to use the computer to complete tasks, accomplish goals, not tell me how it is feeling. I just want it to work. I don’t want to have a conversation with it to find out that "It’s feeling bad" I want the computer to understand my emotions not be an emotional object.