The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition Info

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The ultimate guide to human-centered design

Even the smartest among us can feel inept
as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on,
or whether to push, pull, or slide a door.

The
fault, argues this ingenious -- even liberating -- book, lies not in
ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the
principles of cognitive psychology. The problems range from ambiguous
and hidden controls to arbitrary relationships between controls and
functions, coupled with a lack of feedback or other assistance and
unreasonable demands on
memorization.

The Design of Everyday
Things
shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are
simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple
function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal:
guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at
the right time.
The Design of Everyday Things is a
powerful primer on how -- and why -- some products satisfy customers
while others only frustrate them.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition:

5

Mar 21, 2008

After reading this you will never look at any man-made object the same. You will question everything from doors to tea kettles to the most sophisticated computer program. The next time you fumble with an answering machine, web page, or light switch you will think back to the lessons from this book. It is almost liberating once you can see beyond the design of everyday things.

I highly recommend this book for anyone. You absolutely must read it if you will ever be in a position to create something After reading this you will never look at any man-made object the same. You will question everything from doors to tea kettles to the most sophisticated computer program. The next time you fumble with an answering machine, web page, or light switch you will think back to the lessons from this book. It is almost liberating once you can see beyond the design of everyday things.

I highly recommend this book for anyone. You absolutely must read it if you will ever be in a position to create something (i.e. software, a chair, a cardboard box). If you don't, I will curse your name every time I am forced to use your product! ...more
2

Jan 13, 2013

For a book that a lot of people rave about as being a 'bible of usability', I have to say it was one of the worst written and designed books I have ever been unfortunate enough to read.
1

September 14, 2018

Can't stand this book
This book was assigned in a UX/UI college class, and I'm not done with it but I've read enough to know I hate it and honestly can't believe my school treats this book like it's the bible of design or something. I'm used to academic topis being studied with rigor, and this book is 95% one person sharing his opinion and experience (with a few mentions of studies) . In other words it's just anecdotal. And it reads like a crotchety old man who complains about everything. Like, he can find the problem with every design, but doesn't spend half as much time talking about good design.
To summarize, I find this book weak regarding the validity of it since it's just one person's opinion, it creates the experience of just listening to someone complains about everything, and doesn't leave me feeling like I'm learning any useful design skills.
1

November 3, 2015

Terrible Edition, missing the last few pages of the content.
Great book, except my copy is MISSING THE LAST 5 PAGES!
Goes from page 294 (in the concluding chapter) to 319 (in the notes section).
4

May 14, 2017

Conceptually interesting, somewhat poorly written.
The overview of design principles described in the first half of the book are interesting. I certainly became more aware of the kinds of poor design choices outlined and certainly learned a few things that will be helpful in my communications and systems development role at work.
The explanations of the psychology behind product interaction are, to me, poorly organized and explained. Further, if you've read any psychology or behavioral economics before, there's little to be learned here.
Finally, the writing itself is fairly poor. I read nonfiction almost exclusively, so I don't think it's the technical nature of the content; it's just not very engaging. The personal anecdotes, as other reviews have noted, often feel forced and a little self-congratulatory. A better editor would have helped, too. There were quite a few instances of small annoyances such as using "less" where "fewer" was needed, or an overabundance of "as a result" towards the end.
1

Jan 22, 2015

Too general to be valuable. Too many sentences like this: "Each discipline has a different perspective of the relative importance of the many factors that make up a product."
5

Jun 18, 2010

This took me FOREVER to read - but it isn't the book's fault. It was me just picking it up at odd moments & it giving me a lot to think about each time. I don't design every day things, so had absolutely no need to read this book, but found it extremely interesting. If you have any part in designing anything, you MUST read this book.

Norman points out the obvious - things I took for granted - & made me think about them in an entirely new light. He breaks down the simplest devices into This took me FOREVER to read - but it isn't the book's fault. It was me just picking it up at odd moments & it giving me a lot to think about each time. I don't design every day things, so had absolutely no need to read this book, but found it extremely interesting. If you have any part in designing anything, you MUST read this book.

Norman points out the obvious - things I took for granted - & made me think about them in an entirely new light. He breaks down the simplest devices into their basic functions & features, then rebuilds them in a way that is both obvious & yet entirely new. He then points out places where the design elements are good & bad. He gets into the basic aspects of design that I never thought about such as aligning the number of controls with the number of functions. Best of all, he lays all of this out in an interesting manner with common examples as he delves deeper into the problems & solutions.

When you walk up to a door, how do you know how to deal with it? I never thought about it, just used it. Norman points out the clues I use, such as where the handles & hinges are located, as well as the conventions, such as pushing to go out of a commercial door, that I just KNOW & intuitively use. But what happens when designers fiddle around to make look pretty? Can anyone screw up something as mundane & venerable as a door? Unfortunately, yes indeedy!

He relates a funny story about getting stuck briefly in the foyer of a commercial building because of the 'modern' design of the doors. Hidden hinges, lots of glass, & handles that stretched across the entire center of the door gave no clue as to which way they opened. Couple that with one set of doors opening in the opposite direction from the others & a simple task - walking into a building without much thought (actually while thinking of other things, like the upcoming meeting) - became an irritating puzzle. Not a big deal? Actually, it is.

Norman pulls out some truly horrific numbers to make a great point on how important intuitive design is. The average person has something like 30,000 different instruction sets to remember on a regular basis. If each one of these took just a minute to remember, you'd spend several months learning them, assuming a 40 hour week devoted to the task! That we've absorbed these instructions & conventions over decades & are facing an increasing number of them on a daily basis makes it particularly irritating when they get redesigned into a problem.

Note: This book was published in the late 80's. While there are some desktop computing examples given, this book is pre-Internet. Think of how much additional information is required in the wake of that. (Think browsers, email, scams, viruses, ....)

While some of the examples are a bit dated, such as VCR's, they're not terrible. The multifunctional switches, confusing menus, & seemingly random options packed into those machines have carried over into their descendents in spades. Other examples, such as phone systems & stoves, are still so on target that it's absolutely infuriating. OK, phone systems are complicated, extremely proprietary & full of more options than ever, but do they HAVE to be so hard to use? I don't think so.

I know damn well that designers could do a much better job of laying out the controls for something as simple as a stove. They've had over a century & it's still a complete PITA to figure out which knob operates which burner. I can't walk up to any stove & put my hand on the correct knob. I have to read, sometimes even puzzle out symbols to figure out which is which. Even on my own simple stove, which we've had 5 years, I wind up reading to figure out the controls. OK, Marg usually cooks, but that's just STUPID design - one more minor irritation in a world filled with them, but one that could so easily be rectified with just a bit of thought!!! It's just infuriating.

While I was reading this book, a couple of examples of its relevance slapped me in the face.
- Steve Jobs died. Why was he so successful? Many people say that he was an inventor. WRONG. He rarely came up with anything truly new. His forte was in timing & design. Microsoft had a tablet for years before the iPad but their offering never made it. Why? Because the hardware couldn't support the overall expected functionality properly AND the user interface wasn't nearly as well designed as the iPad. Microsoft tried too early, designed it poorly, & FAILED themselves right out of the market.
- Amazon took the ebook market by storm. The Kindle wasn't the first ereader & it isn't really all that great hardware-wise, but it has a great interface that leverages a wonderful support system - all good design. It does one thing & does it really well.

Long review, but design is one of the most misunderstood & important concepts of our lives. I was completely shocked by my own ignorance about it. I still don't claim to be any expert, but it sure made me see the world in a different way.

Update 13May2019 Here's a new article by Norman. "I wrote the book on user-friendly design. What I see today horrifies me" with a subtitle: The world is designed against the elderly, writes Don Norman, 83-year-old author of the industry bible Design of Everyday Things and a former Apple VP.
https://www.fastcompany.com/90338379/...

It's a fact. I'm now in my 60s & he's right. We're a large segment of the population that isn't cool, but we have the money & time. Design for us! ...more
3

March 8, 2017

This is so annoying to me I don't know if I can finish ...
So far, the content is informative and interesting. However, I would think a book about design would be well designed. The section headings on the left sided pages are so far to the right I have to crack the spine all the way open to read many of them. This is so annoying to me I don't know if I can finish reading it. The small, grainy graphics are also dismaying. It's difficult to have confidence in the author's expertise when so little thought is put into the presentation.
5

December 21, 2016

A UX Bible
A UX researcher's or designer's bible. If studying human factors engineering, human computer interaction, or any other related field; your professors, peers, and colleagues will reference this book and Don Norman. I keep this on my desk at work and continue to use it when explaining heuristics to clients, engineers or data scientists.
4

Jul 23, 2017

Whenever programmers ask other programmers for book suggestions, there's always some smartass that says something like "The Art of War" because of blah blah blah about corporate politics. Hoo boy you're clever, you suggested a non-programming book, way to not play by the rules. You really march to the beat of your own drum there, slick.

Similarly, I constantly see "The Design of Everyday Things" suggested in these kinds of conversations. I think it's supposed to give engineers great insights into Whenever programmers ask other programmers for book suggestions, there's always some smartass that says something like "The Art of War" because of blah blah blah about corporate politics. Hoo boy you're clever, you suggested a non-programming book, way to not play by the rules. You really march to the beat of your own drum there, slick.

Similarly, I constantly see "The Design of Everyday Things" suggested in these kinds of conversations. I think it's supposed to give engineers great insights into design and how humans interact with objects around them. This is supposed to change our outlook for the software we build for people.

Well, I don't think it did that at all. Really, the only thing to take away in that regard is "think about how people use your software". In other words, I think a great many UX-centered books are vastly superior in this regard.

That's not to say this book is bad. In fact, I imagine there are people reading my review right now thinking "who gives a shit that this guy is a software engineer?" Indeed, this book is great. Very enjoyable, and very informative. It made me think about every day objects I've never even given a second thought to. There's an entire section on sink faucets that blew my mind. But ultimately, the book is really about exactly what the title says it is, the design of everyday things and objects. There's some hinting at a greater, broader meaning than this, but it never comes to much.

Definitely a great read, worth it for sure, but don't buy into the "everyone who makes software should read this book" hype. ...more
2

Apr 15, 2011

Jeff Garzik gave me a copy of this back when he was building the Linux network stack in Home Park; I'd seen it praised by a few other people by that time as well (via the GT newsgroups, most likely). I was underwhelmed -- there were a few good case analyses (the oven UI I recall being particularly effective), but very little usable, general principles came out of the read. I went back in 2006, thinking I'd perhaps missed something, but didn't find much more. then again, i'm probably not the Jeff Garzik gave me a copy of this back when he was building the Linux network stack in Home Park; I'd seen it praised by a few other people by that time as well (via the GT newsgroups, most likely). I was underwhelmed -- there were a few good case analyses (the oven UI I recall being particularly effective), but very little usable, general principles came out of the read. I went back in 2006, thinking I'd perhaps missed something, but didn't find much more. then again, i'm probably not the target audience. this book seems to receive much play in computer science programs, but it's really much more of an industrial design text; its prevalence in CS programs evidences IMHO the sad state of HCI textbooks.

I'm still eagerly waiting for a single textbook which unifies theory and practice of effective, attractive UI design. Instead, we seem to have the "GUI metrics" crowd, fetishists assuming the existence of some spiritus mundi, just waiting for the right Gaussian to be fitted (thus giving rise to twin abominations, MacOSX and GNOME3); meanwhile the "design" crown speaks in riddles, playing a game where men throw ducks at baloons, and nothing is as it seems...but this is why, I suppose, I only write backends and libraries. ...more
0

Apr 15, 2008

Couldn't get in to it. Maybe I'll try again at a different time. On a side note, I found it odd that a book about user-centered design had line-broken right-justified headings and baffling use of italics.
4

August 31, 2016

A Great Primer and Intro. Heavy on theory.
This book is more of an INTRO or PRE-101 to user/human-centered design. Norman is really good at introducing concepts and painting it with examples. I only wish that this book picked our brains more. There could have been many times he could have displayed the information in fun, amusing, and even trivial ways. It felt like he was giving us the cheat-sheet without doing what great teachers do: use creative means to present the information. This book is a primer, so if you are expecting some sick UX skill-based tips and tricks, you are out of luck. The text is foundational information that helps create a thought-leading designer. In a classroom setting, using this book would be fantastic. It lends some great inspirational food-for-thought for the aspiring designer. There are many broad concepts, each with endless possibilities for lesson plans and teaching material.
1

August 19, 2018

This is a book that could be a pamphlet
A pamphlet may be able to be reduced to a single-page flow chart. It's a Norman book in the same way a terrible door is a Norman door. That assumes its purpose is to inform the reader in a succinct manner, and not generate money for the author who mentions his other works many times throughout. It's exceptionally good at generating revenue; maybe I'm applying his solution to the wrong problem, the correct problem being 'I need money for a boat.'
3

August 26, 2015

Not great for those in the field
I had high hopes for this book, but was very disappointed. First, I found his writing style to be patronizing and even condescending at times. Some passages were sarcastic and meant to be funny, but read as him viewing himself as some kind of savior to the field. Secondly, (even for those outside the field of human factors), I'm worried this book is too superficial. I enjoyed the examples, but found the overall message to be one that encourages simplicity and efficiciency over complex human cognition. I understand the premise, but disagree on his approach. Thirdly, the book was extremely redundant. The same superficial ideas are rehashed over and over, to the point where even someone outside of the field would think, "Seriously man, I get it! I got it two pages ago! Please move on to something else!"

It's clear that he has given up on the field of psychology in understanding human factors: as he put it, he needed to change the name of the book from The Psychology of Everyday Things, in part because "Bookstores placed the book in their psychology section (along with books on sex, love, and self-help)." That condescending sentence says a lot about how he views the field of psychology in human factors.

I might recommend this book for a professor who needs to get their seminar interested in the very basic applied psychology of design, but I would not recommend using this book as any type of hard learning tool.
3

Jan 02, 2017

This book is more for knowledge than for enjoyment. The writing is rather dry and textbook-like with many abstract/theoretical concepts and ideas. I feel like taking a short course in design, which is still quite helpful. Nevertheless, I was expecting more of "smart" designs, more fun and strange and inspiring stories, but Norman isn't there to entertain but to educate and so there are examples mostly to illustrate concepts and processes. Naturally I was a bit disappointed, but still in general This book is more for knowledge than for enjoyment. The writing is rather dry and textbook-like with many abstract/theoretical concepts and ideas. I feel like taking a short course in design, which is still quite helpful. Nevertheless, I was expecting more of "smart" designs, more fun and strange and inspiring stories, but Norman isn't there to entertain but to educate and so there are examples mostly to illustrate concepts and processes. Naturally I was a bit disappointed, but still in general a book is a good read. ...more
5

Jul 05, 2007

Have you ever stood in front of a door, or a microwave, absolutely flummoxed, because the damned thing gave you no clue whatsoever how to open it. If so (even, I venture to think, if not), you will enjoy this book. In clear, coruscating prose he exposes the miserable flaws in the design of everyday objects which conspire to make our lives less convenient, more miserable, and sometimes more dangerous.

The book is not just an exposé of the appalling laziness and hostility to consumers that is Have you ever stood in front of a door, or a microwave, absolutely flummoxed, because the damned thing gave you no clue whatsoever how to open it. If so (even, I venture to think, if not), you will enjoy this book. In clear, coruscating prose he exposes the miserable flaws in the design of everyday objects which conspire to make our lives less convenient, more miserable, and sometimes more dangerous.

The book is not just an exposé of the appalling laziness and hostility to consumers that is commonplace among designers(not just in the software industry, which is a story unto itself - see "The Lunatics are Running the Asylum") - it is also a clarion call to action. We need not live in a world where it appears that appliances conspire to make us feel like idiots. And when they do - when you can't figure out which button to push, or whether a door opens inward or outward - remember that you are not the one at fault. It is the lazy incompetent designer of the thing which is making you miserable who is deserving of scorn and ridicule.

Far too often, in a design world which favors form over function and usability, crimes against the user get rewarded with prizes and the acclaim of the design cognoscenti. People who presumably never have to struggle with the consequences of their own reckless disregard for the usability of the objects they design.

This book is an outraged and eloquent call for change. ...more
3

Dec 22, 2017

The Design of Everyday Things (DOET) is the story of doors, faucets and keyboards; it's the tale of rangetops and refrigerators. Donald Norman beckons the reader to look at the common objects they deal with every day in new and methodical ways. And he offers this central question; what makes an object well-designed as opposed to poorly-designed?

But on the question of design DOET, itself an everyday object, rates poorly. Norman's discussion of individual items proves inconsistent and rarely The Design of Everyday Things (DOET) is the story of doors, faucets and keyboards; it's the tale of rangetops and refrigerators. Donald Norman beckons the reader to look at the common objects they deal with every day in new and methodical ways. And he offers this central question; what makes an object well-designed as opposed to poorly-designed?

But on the question of design DOET, itself an everyday object, rates poorly. Norman's discussion of individual items proves inconsistent and rarely systematic; sometimes he includes examples of both good and bad design (such as when he analyzes doors), but oftentimes he only mentions the bad (such as when he talks about office phone systems.) He rarely offers suggestions for superior designs and organizes everything by psychological concepts that often prove vague or arcane; section headings include 'Memory is Knowledge in the Head' and 'Using Sound for Visibility.'

Even more fundamentally, explanatory pictures rarely occupy the same page as the text that references them, forcing the reader to page back and forth. That the typesetting for his book is so awkward feels especially glaring as that's the sort of basic design flaw DOET seeks to expose.

To Norman's credit, he shows passion for the subject and writes engagingly when he isn't listing psychological vocabulary words. And the subject of design is fascinating; relevant to everyone, applicable to all areas of life and endlessly detailed. And Norman routinely finds interesting digressions; applying design principles to Legos or charting every plausible game of Tic-Tac-Toe.

And I found myself agreeing with Norman's core philosophy. He argues that function should supersede features and usability is more important than aesthetics. He also takes the stance that if you can't figure out a gadget, it probably isn't your fault and he goes into detail about how common this sort of confusion is.

Norman takes a decidedly pro-humanity outlook in a book all about objects; just one more irony. After all, DOET is a poorly-designed study of design regarding a mundane subject that fascinates.

Edited 2/19/2019 ...more
5

Jul 10, 2010

Excellent piece of non-fiction. This book is a prescribed textbook for a course on computer interface design that I'm doing.

Once I really started reading it, I almost couldn't put it down - it was so interesting that it almost read like fiction - none of the dry dust usually found in conventional textbooks.

Very well and humorously presented, and a must for engineers, designers, manufacturers and inventors everywhere!
4

October 21, 2017

Essential for all Creators
Its a good book with great examples. It does shed some light on the troubles with design and shows problems from another perspective and it should be rightfully considered as one of the key books regarding design in general. However, It's quite shallow and the author doesn't go into much of a detail. Don't get me wrong, I am not a literary critic or anything but as a European, the style is not a strong suit. People, who are used to the American style of literature are going to be fine, but sometimes there is too much repetition of ideas and a bit deeper analysis of the problem would be beneficial. To sum up. The contribution of the author in the field of proper and functional design is huge and the terminology used is crucial for understanding the key principles of design is paramount. But I would go into a bit more detail.
4

Jan 21, 2019

BLUF: A good-to-great primer on human-centered design, albeit one that's lighter on examples and political introspection than I'd hoped for.

Longer take:
I'll admit: since first hearing about "Norman doors" in college and then seeing the hilarious "second degree burn kettle" on the cover, I'd built up the idea in my head of this book being some sort of righteous crusade against poorly-designed objects. I looked forward to hours of chuckling along as he gave instances of abominably unusable BLUF: A good-to-great primer on human-centered design, albeit one that's lighter on examples and political introspection than I'd hoped for.

Longer take:
I'll admit: since first hearing about "Norman doors" in college and then seeing the hilarious "second degree burn kettle" on the cover, I'd built up the idea in my head of this book being some sort of righteous crusade against poorly-designed objects. I looked forward to hours of chuckling along as he gave instances of abominably unusable products, starting from the accidental and working his way towards the truly negligent or coercive, skewering each for our edification; by explaining the shortcomings of each example and walking through the process of improving it (if possible), the reader would come to a bottom-up understanding of the principles of HCD.

Fortunately, there are plenty of click-baity listicles to get my design schadenfreude fix, because this is definitely not that book.

First of all, Norman is only incidentally concerned with "objects" per se - the first chapter or two uses a fair number of them to ground the ideas of mappings and physical constraints, but the book as a whole is mostly concerned with the more intangible disciplines of user interface and process design. This actual makes for a more mind-expanding book, as the reader discovers the underlying analogy between the building blocks of physical and non-physical forms of design.

Secondly, contrary to the polemic I was expecting, Norman's voice is actually pretty neutral and empathetic throughout. Rather than casting blame, he investigates failures of design as a whole the same way he's investigated actual accidents: by seeking root causes in broken feedback loops and failures to account for human nature.

Despite a writing style that I'd call bland and curt (I think in the interest of sound neutral and accessible?), I blew through the first five chapters - solid material with exciting implications! However, DOET started to drag for me in the last two chapters ("Design Thinking" and "Design in the World of Business"), which felt less like popular non-fiction and more like a corporate self-help manual. Maybe it's just a problem of audience? The practical workplace material is probably interesting for current-or-aspiring designers themselves, but IMHO, it has far less to offer the casual reader. Worse, it brought to the foreground some ethical issues that the book had until then steered clear of, but without providing any satisfactory answers for.

As far as I can tell, DOET would like its readers to think that its central principles are apolitical: the reader is encouraged to pursue designs that are usable for a wide variety of users based on their size, ability level, and culture, but this is still viewed through the functional lens of creating the most effective products. What does "effective" mean though? I don't want to assume the worst in the author, but the text itself does little to contradict the idea that "effectiveness" is no more and no less than a means towards profitability. Case in point: it wasn't until Norman briefly touched on (and conspicuously failed to condemn) the strategy of planned obsolescence that it occurred to me just how limited in scope his idea of "human"-centered design really is.

Wouldn't a design philosophy that holistically factored in human needs and psychology favor durable, recyclable products with replaceable components rather than products we're forced to discard every year or two, polluting our environment for generations? Wouldn't a human-centered design philosophy content itself with products that served actual human needs, rather than preying on our insecurities to create new ones?

It's interesting to me that Norman used to be an executive at Apple, a company infamous for perfecting the art of planned obsolescence - does he fail to condemn the practice here because he doesn't want to burn any bridges, or because he and Apple are actually in alignment and he sees nothing wrong with it? I'd guess it's not too hard to find out where he stands if you really wanted to know, but within the scope of this book, his failure to take a stance on any political question related to design presents the reader with an unsavory question:

Are "humans" supposed to be the ultimate beneficiaries of Norman's "human-centered design", or are we just a demographic to be focus-grouped as a means of maximizing market penetration?

The Design of Everyday Things leaves it to other books to answer that question, apparently. ...more
1

Jun 06, 2010

This was written in a decade before authors learned how to write stimulating non-fiction.
4

Sep 18, 2011

A classic for a reason. The examples are dated, but if you still remember rotary dial telephones (maybe over 30 years of age?) you'll be fine with them. Since Norman more or less predicts iPhones and iPads in this book, I'd love to read an update chapter from him in the next edition.

The principles are still accurate and useful, and Norman makes a solid case for why my inability to get through doorways safely is actually the fault of the manufacturers. People using products are busy, they have A classic for a reason. The examples are dated, but if you still remember rotary dial telephones (maybe over 30 years of age?) you'll be fine with them. Since Norman more or less predicts iPhones and iPads in this book, I'd love to read an update chapter from him in the next edition.

The principles are still accurate and useful, and Norman makes a solid case for why my inability to get through doorways safely is actually the fault of the manufacturers. People using products are busy, they have their mind on other things, and they can't read the mind of the designer. Therefore, if you're in any way responsible for making a product for other people to use, it's worth your while to take a look at how to embed the knowledge of how to use it within the object itself.

Norman covers some of the techniques for this, but you can get that in many other user-experience and design books with more up-to-date examples. What I found most valuable was his way of taking a fresh look at everyday objects, really observing what happens when we use them and wanting to find a way to smooth that path. In future I'll be trying to do the same. ...more
4

Apr 29, 2014

DoeT isn't the world's best written book—Norman's style is too often kvetchy-casual, sounding more like a modern-day ranty blog post than a classic of academic design writing.

But that is only one way in which this book is ahead of its time. The observations and recommendations regarding usable design here hold to extremely well 25 years later; even though Norman's examples concern ancient phone systems and slide projectors, it all translates perfectly well to virtual touchscreen UIs of today. DoeT isn't the world's best written book—Norman's style is too often kvetchy-casual, sounding more like a modern-day ranty blog post than a classic of academic design writing.

But that is only one way in which this book is ahead of its time. The observations and recommendations regarding usable design here hold to extremely well 25 years later; even though Norman's examples concern ancient phone systems and slide projectors, it all translates perfectly well to virtual touchscreen UIs of today. And when he makes predictions about the future, he's eerily prescient. Watch him describe smartphones, the World Wide Web, Nest thermostats, and Siri… in 1988. Not only does he correctly predict future technology, he's better aware of its problems than today's designers.

That alone excuses the book's stylistic shortcomings and proves its undeniable worth. ...more
5

Aug 10, 2017

(5.0)

Can't believe I hadn't read this before.

There's a lot of wisdom in this book. I'd highly recommend for anyone pursuing a career in design, product, marketing, or tech, or anyone who just wants to build great products.

Internalize these ideas and put them into practice and you will create better products that will impact people's lives.

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