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Donald A. Norman
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The Psychology Of Everyday Things

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  12,340 Ratings  ·  986 Reviews
Anyone who designs anything to be used by humans -- from physical objects to computer programs to conceptual tools -- must read this book, and it is an equally tremendous read for anyone who has to use anything created by another human. It could forever change how you experience and interact with your physical surroundings, open your eyes to the perversity of bad design an ...more
Published (first published 1988)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David
Mar 21, 2008 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Bennet
Mar 29, 2012 Bennet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can learn a lot about relationships from studying the principles of design.

Design is a noun and a verb. Here we’re thinking in terms of both, as in how to design a design. A design is an act of communication. Even the purely aesthetic design, in which appearance is all, is intended to evoke a response.

A functional design must convey the essence of the device’s operation to the user, or put another way: how form translates into function.

Design alone should convey how a thing is supposed to
...more
Jim
Sep 18, 2016 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 t
...more
Philip Mcallister
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.
Nick Black
Apr 15, 2011 Nick Black rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nick by: Jeff Garzik
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 targ ...more
David
Aug 05, 2007 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 commo
...more
Traveller
Jan 16, 2015 Traveller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Bryan Alexander
May 06, 2014 Bryan Alexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technology, design
A splendid book that I finally got around to reading, The Design of Everyday Things walks us through exactly what the title promises. Norman explores phones, doors, car keys, VCRs, water faucets, and signage, looking for principles that show how these work well or poorly.

Despite the author being a psychologist, the books is beautifully bereft of jargon. It reads like Asimov's nonfiction: accessible, brisk, pedagogically attuned, and often witty.

One nice assumption: that the user (you) is usually
...more
Noce
Jun 01, 2013 Noce rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Orsù, imbranati di tutto il mondo rianimatevi

Una volta sfrondato dalla reiterazione sfiancante alla È facile smettere di fumare se sai come farlo il messaggio profetico emerge in tutta la sua evidenza.

Non siamo noi ad essere cerebrolesi, ma è il progettista ad essere diversamente scadente.

Detto questo, mi accingo a progettare una ciotola a sezioni basculanti con timer incorporato e pulsanti a idrogetto per il mio cane, in modo che anch’esso (si noti il lieve sadismo in crescendo che culmina in
...more
Jessica
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.
Katie
Mar 16, 2016 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I think there is really only one gif to sum this book up properly:


This book, although the examples are dated (as listed in nearly every review), is quite fabulous. The original title was actually "The Psychology of Everyday Things" which was less friendly to the average person, but quite accurate.

Like I said in a previous update, I feel like this book should be required reading for any type of designer, but somehow I had missed it until now. Great detail about design methodologies, constraints,
...more
Rob Adey
Sensible thinking, but does come across at times like an 80s observational comedy routine about motion sensitive taps.
Stringy
Sep 18, 2011 Stringy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t
...more
Kipriadi prawira
A big part of what makes The Design of Everyday Things so enjoyable are the descriptions of flawed designs that Norman peppers throughout the book. These case studies serve to illustrate both how difficult it is to design something well, n how essential good design is to our lives. Norman draws on his own (often humorous) experiences with poorly designed objects, as well as anecdotes from colleagues n friends, n paints an all-too-familiar picture of design gone awry. If you’ve ever struggled to ...more
Eduardo Rocha
May 09, 2013 Eduardo Rocha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. You'll never look at another door or faucet in the sameway.
If you take anything from this book, it is these 7 principles of making a difficult design task an easy one.

1. Use both knowledge in the world and knowledge in the head.
2. Simplify the structure of tasks.
3. Make things visible: bridge the gulfs of Execution and Evaluation.
4. Get the mappings right.
5. Exploit the power of constraints, both natural and artificial.
6. Design for error.
7. When all else fails, standardize
...more
Jon
Mar 31, 2008 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: designers, computer scientists, engineers
The book introduces basic psychological concepts from areas such as cognitive psychology and ties them into usability and design.

Even though the book feels a bit outdated (they talk about rotary phones and old sewing machines), all the principles covered in the book still apply today.

Even though the book was written with things in mind that most of us won't necessarily use anymore (such as the problem of threading a projector), the principles are still useful to know when designing modern-day th
...more
Maria
Jun 17, 2016 Maria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
еееее, конец

что я могу сказать - не то чтобы книга бесполезная. нет, какие-то идеи из нее действительно фундаментальны и важны - что если пользователи постоянно совершают одну и ту же ошибку, это ошибка не пользователя, а дизайнера; что если обычное устройство, типа водопроводного крана, требует инструкции - это плохой дизайн и т.п.

но эти вещи легко уместились бы в 100-150 страниц и избавили бы читателя от остальных ненужных двухсот

три пункта, которые раздражали меня всю дорогу:

1) отсутствие лог
...more
Jessica May
Jan 28, 2015 Jessica May rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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."
Norain
Jun 14, 2016 Norain rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, science
Here was one of those few books that not only made me go "Whoa!" but also made me go away, many times throughout reading it, to do some pondering.

The book starts with some scenarios about faulty designs that embarrass the users. Remember the time when you went to a toilet and broke into cold sweat because you could not find the flush button? Or the time when you struggled to open the door by pulling it only to be told that you should push it? Or the time when you simply could not switch on that
...more
Brian
May 03, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brian by: Michael Economy
(4.0) Some good stuff in here, though it's certainly dated

I'll be looking up some of his other books to see if he's as good at predicting and suggesting product improvements as he was back then.

I think he makes concrete some really common sense ways to approach and analyze designs of products that humans use. It's certainly entertaining to point out ridiculous products, interfaces etc., but that's kind of 'negative design': what not to do. That doesn't actually help you do it right. Fortunately,
...more
Neven
Jul 01, 2014 Neven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. A
...more
Ingrid
Lectura imprescindible si te interesan temas como el diseño centrado en el usuario, usabilidad, etc.

La primera vez que lo leí fue durante la carrera de Psicología, cuando aún era "La Psicología de los objetos cotidianos". Pero esta reseña hace referencia a la edición electrónica del 2002: The Design of Everyday Things.

Algunos de los ejemplos, aunque el libro se ha actualizado un poco, siguen siendo anticuados (estamos hablando de cosas que hace 12 años eran habituales y que han quedado desfasada
...more
Mark Campbell
Apr 18, 2016 Mark Campbell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. A must read for anyone involved in the creation of anything whether it be human processes, making websites, or designing cars.
Jess
Apr 16, 2016 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this book for a course I'm taking on user experience and usability. I wouldn't have picked this book up on my own, but I'm not sorry I read it. Norman supplies numerous examples that made the book engaging. I do feel like the content is not my go-to for nonfiction reading.
Chad Warner
Sep 08, 2014 Chad Warner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: designers
Recommended to Chad by: Jason Tally
An excellent book about how to design usable products. It’s philosophical but backed by plenty of examples (text and images) of good and bad design, including buildings, appliances, and technology. It’s interesting and well-written. I read the 1988 edition, so most of the tech references are dated, but the design principles still apply.

My web design business, OptimWise,designswebsites for small businesses, so I found this very practical. I liked Norman’s emphasis on simplicity, intuitiveness, an
...more
Koen Crolla
The value of this book—the reason it is enjoyable to read, and, rationalisations aside, the reason it became as popular as it did—is in its collection of everyday bad designs that it gathers and complains about; people love commiserating, and they love seeing someone else complain about the sort of thing about which they could see themselves complaining.
Almost everything else in this book is garbage. The psychologizing is garbage. The repeated attempts to inspire whole industries into being are
...more
Laura Carmignani
Sep 09, 2016 Laura Carmignani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uno studio molto interessante sulla comodità del design che fa capire quanto sia importante tenere a mente come verrà utilizzato un prodotto dal consumatore. Dopo averlo letto guarderete con un'altra prospettiva e con spirito critico tutto ciò che vi circonda: porte, interruttori, docce, computer, apparecchi domestici, ecc.
Il punto chiave è quello di creare un design che non renda la vita un inferno al consumatore e che sia facile da comprendere e da usare. Le descrizioni sono semplici e aiutat
...more
Fred Zimny
Dec 18, 2015 Fred Zimny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Services that are difficult to use or understand are the result of faulty design – not stupid users.

A well-designed service teaches its users how to use it.

Designers need to consider human psychology.

The key to fixing bad design is to find the “root cause” of the problem.

Good design uses constraints to help the user understand the service.

Well-designed services communicate with users by providing feedback.

Design needs to be human-centered to bring technology and people closer together.

Successful
...more
James Eckman
Jul 04, 2016 James Eckman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Engineers, designers
Shelves: non-fiction
The 2002 edition was a fascinating, fast read if a bit dated in spots.

2013 edition of this book is much better. Norman now has serious industrial experience and this version is a major update of the original 1988 publication.

The main problem today is there are many products that are poorly designed for use. This hasn't changed for decades and many of the examples involving ordinary items are still valid. The book introduces the problem and then gives examples of good design and how to achieve i
...more
Yevgeniy Brikman
Jan 26, 2015 Yevgeniy Brikman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has several very important ideas:

* Even if you aren't professional designer, you still use design everywhere in your life, including how you design your house, your resume, a report, some code, etc.

* Design is all about focusing on people's needs and abilities. You may think you know what those are by the virtue of being a human, but you don't, as most human actions are unconscious. Therefore, to be a good designer, you need to learn some psychology.

* Good design is all about finding t
...more
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Donald Arthur Norman is a professor emeritus of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego and a Professor of Computer Science at Northwestern University, where he also co-directs the dual degree MBA + Engineering degree program between the Kellogg school and Northwestern Engineering. Norman is on numerous company advisory boards, including the editorial board of Encyclopædia Bri ...more
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“Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating.” 22 likes
“Rule of thumb: if you think something is clever and sophisticated beware-it is probably self-indulgence.” 18 likes
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