Natural mappings is describing the true and natural arrangement between the controls and the user and how they formally interact. Natural Mappings can be described at their most basic as good or bad, depending on the design and the relationship with the user. The object of a good natural mapping is to reduce the need for information from a user when trying to carry out a task. If the user can carry out the task with no information required, and with ease, the natural mappings are good.
Natural mappings can be applied to any object from a hair brush to a car. Therefore the natural mappings of an object should let us know how to use it, without a need for information, or for it to tell us, how to do so.
Our brains learn to identify how to use objects, but when we find difficulty in this and the design in itself requires instructions or labels, it may well be that the design itself is faulty.
If you use a vegetable peeler, you should naturally feel the ease of slicing through an object, if you find your having difficulty this could be the result of a bad design. The design should have been made easy, by the identation on the handle, theirfore when your hand feels comfortable, you are naturally in the correct poisition to start peeling. If you are holding the peeler, feeling comfortable to start peeling, but the peeler is not doing its jobs, then you have not made the mistake, the designer has.
The designer has not implemented the design in the most efficent and effective way, which concludes that the design is failing and no longer serving its purpose.
“Don Norman said is ‘The Design of Everyday Things’, Natural mapping requires no diagrams, no labels, and no instructions”
If a design of an object requires numerous labels and short expressions of instruction, the design is not working, at this point another design should be consider, as the object is clearly lacking and not of suitable purpose for its reasoning.
When thinking about mappings, open your mind, this can apply to a multitude of objects and pieces of information. The natural mappings of the design of an object can be translated to the design of a website. When a user struggles to identify the necessary information easily, without using a fine tooth comb, the site is flawed. The site design is failing and the structure needs reconsider.
Naturally a designer becomes the product or designs expert user, and when users foresee problems or navigational issues, the designer may become offended and put it down to their inexperience, but this is wrong and effectively naive of the designer.
The solution i propose is: If a designer targets the most basic level user of the design or product, the design should then become more solid and will work for all higher user levels, therefore creating a better design, and in my terminology: bullet proofed.
Creating designs with high quality natural mappings is challenging work. When we see designs that have clearly been thought through, we should really appreciate how the designer, has created that wondrous product.