Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we try to figure out the shower control in a hotel or attempt to navigate an unfamiliar television set or stove. When The Design of Everyday Things was published in 1988, cognitive scientist Don Norman provocatively proposed that the fault lies not in ourselves, but in design that ignores the needs and psychology of people. Fully revised to keep the timeless principles of psychology up to date with ever-changing new technologies, The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful appeal ...
Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we try to figure out the shower control in a hotel or attempt to navigate an unfamiliar television set or stove. When The Design of Everyday Things was published in 1988, cognitive scientist Don Norman provocatively proposed that the fault lies not in ourselves, but in design that ignores the needs and psychology of people. Fully revised to keep the timeless principles of psychology up to date with ever-changing new technologies, The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful appeal for good design, and a reminder of how -- and why -- some products satisfy while others only disappoint.
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Donald A. Norman wrote a landmark book back in 1988, previously called The Psychology of Everyday Things. (Norman explains the change in the preface.) I didn't read it in 1988, but twenty years later it's always entertaining, generally still relevant and often prescient.
If you think something you use on a regular basis is designed by a moron, this book speaks truth to power, my friend. If you occasionally look at a product - say, one by Apple - and think, "That is a brilliantly designed thing," well this book is also clearly for you.
It's considered a landmark book, and for good reason.
The book's main premise is both an examination of some items that are designed especially well (the typical touch tone corded phone) and a slew of others that are unnecessarily complex.
Things you deal with every day -- doors that you instinctively want to push but need to pull, trying to regulate the temperature in your refrigerator, half of the features on an average cell phone -- aren't purposefully confusing, but Norman successfully illustrates why they are too often designed stupidly.
Examining both the way we (users of designed products) react to information, how we map features - see clues to help guide us instinctively to use the product - are among the truly interesting points Norman makes throughout the book.
I'm especially late to the game with Design of Everyday Things, but it's obvious reading it to see how the ideas proposed here guide a lot of what Norman - and everyone else, for that matter - calls User Centered Design.
This book is absolutely for everyone but well worth reading for anyone involved in product management or marketing in general.
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