"Super Normal" is a Japanese design philosophy pioneered by Naoto Fukasawa and Jasper Morrison that is a great way to describe the process of industrial design and aesthetics. Dave Morin (CEO of Path) has done a great job of explaining the application of this model to software design. I will be repurposing a lot of his content here, so check out his original article.
Defining Super Normal
The concept here is simple - when you set out to create a new product, you don't start by thinking of something completely new. Instead, think of a product that is already "normal", and then try and make it better or "super normal".
Dave goes on to explain this beautifully with a standard household metal bucket. As he describes:
"The design we know today has evolved over the years to include a few simple features. The bucket is made of durable metal for longevity. It has ripples on the sides to make it easy to grasp with the hands. It has a curved metal handle making it possible to carry with one hand. The bucket design of today serves its function well."
This is our baseline "normal", and is very east to picture in your mind. We now ask the question - what are the key problems? In our bucket analogy when filled with cold water, we can define some of these as the handle which cuts into your hands, picking up the bucket which is freezing to the touch, and lastly the process of pouring out the water which is hard to control and makes you lose some of the water.