Nielson’s Error Principle and Design

Nielson’s error principle states that the more something is used, the fewer the errors.  I pretty much agree with this notion, as I’ve used this with my children over the years when they’ve gotten frustrated with something like bike riding, piano practice, etc.

But, is the error principle still applicable when a design is so poorly thought out that it is almost impossible to master.  You know the design.  It’s the kind that makes you feel like you’re a salmon swimming upstream every time you use the gadget – television provider remotes, tiny and poorly placed buttons on car radios, and coffee makers which have multiple functions for single buttons.

Design principles are well known.  They must be, right?  It is so unfortunate the principles are ignored, discarded, or overlooked.  As a friend and I were discussing this week – we just want “something that works”…but with minimal learning on my part.

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