Coffee in the Cockpit

While watching the video of Donald Norman's history lesson, I decided to read through the chapter to which he continually refers. Coffee Cups in the Cockpit, as mentioned in the video, argues how man conforms to technology if treated properly. This reminded me of a podcast and article produced by 99% Invisible, which addresses Automation Paradox. I belief in the efficiency of good design, but it is vital to ensure the necessity of education. Design should not simply create a shortcut, but enhance the authenticity of knowledge and implement direction to desired end product.

The concluding chapter, Norman wrote:

Complex systems involve a mixture of automatic and human control. Alas, there is too much tendency to let the automatic controls do whatever activities they are capable of performing, giving the leftovers to people. This is poor system design. It does not take into account the proper mix of activities, and it completely ignores the needs and talents of people. The price we pay for such disregard for the total system performance comes when things go wrong, when unexpected conditions arise or the machinery breaks down. The total reliability and safety of our systems could be improved if only we understood and treated people with the same respect and dignity that we give to electronic signals and to machines.

"This is poor system design."

In 1988, Norman had a full supportive article explaining these concerns and yet 11 years later, 216 people lost their lives aboard Air France 447 to the fact that a system failed due to poor design. We must calculate ideas extensively and take precaution that it is truly good.