I read this because of the movie adaptation by Studio Ghibli and I found myself liking it as much, if not more, as I did the movie. There were many diI read this because of the movie adaptation by Studio Ghibli and I found myself liking it as much, if not more, as I did the movie. There were many differences between the two: the setting, the characters, the personalities of the characters among other things. In some ways the original was better than the adaptation, one of it being the character developments which were neater in the novel than in the movie. (In the movie there was a bit of disconnection in the character of Howl : he was totally cool one moment and the moment you turned your head, he suddenly became insensibly childish. In the book, he was almost constantly irritating.) The ending in the movie too, in my opinion, was a bit of a cliché: the conflicts seemed to settle themselves just because Suliman called an end to the war (why did she not do so earlier if she thought the war was stupid?).
Anyway, both the book and the movie were different but they were great works of their own rights and I loved them the way they were. ...more
The first Kinsella's novel that I read. I was 15 at that time and thought it was amazing and different. The reason is simple - I have been reading tooThe first Kinsella's novel that I read. I was 15 at that time and thought it was amazing and different. The reason is simple - I have been reading too much serious classics and it was my first time reading a romance. But when I read more of Kinsella's novel, I think this is only so-so. And reading some other romances made me wanting to puke. Kinsella's is fine but romance is so not my type....more
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.
TheHere 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 fancy hi-tech TV or microwave? Users usually blame themselves for these kind of 'mistakes', even downgrading themselves as stupid because they are unable to do things that others can. While it is true that sometimes it is the users' fault a machine does not work, most of the time the fault lies more in the design of the product.
Designers often put aesthetic value over practicality. Thus we have products with almost invisible buttons or as few of them as there can be, each of which controlling multitude of functions. This only confuses new users and may even cause competent ones to make mistakes if they have to use these products in times of emergency.
Don Norman proposes a lot of ways to improve a design. He is not opposed to a design being beautiful but suggests that designers find balance between the aesthetic quality of their creations and their ability to function well. And in this book, design is not the only subject of discussion but also the psychology of humans and the way our minds work. For example Don argues that the more tasks a man handle at once, the more likely he makes a mistake. Not to mention the Short Term Memory is well, short term. So when designing a product, a designer must consider the possibility of mistakes and do something to prevent it from happening.
Don also puts a lot of stress on mapping the functionality of a product. And it is important that users can straightaway see the result of his action, such as when he pushes a button he can see the light turns on or hears a beep. Oftentimes a designer's mapping does not match that of the users'. Human brains work with the logic that B happens when A is triggered so A must have caused B even if the fact is totally wrong (B may have been caused by C but because A is accidentally triggered, user reaches the wrong conclusion) and it is designers' job to accommodate this.
The edition I read was from 2002 but this book was originally published in 1988. All of the examples given and the pictures are outdated technology-wise but amazingly, Don wrote it so clearly that even if you have never seen one of those old bulky telephones, you can understand his point easily. I believe this book will always remain relevant to designers. After all it is not just about design but also about human psychology. The only complain I have is because the book was originally titled The Psychology of Everyday Things, it was referred in the book as POET so that was a tad confusing.
At the house I am currently renting, we have this toilet which, apparently, is from an excellent brand. From the outside it does look excellent. But it has a big problem. Every time you flush it, you need to press the button for more than five seconds or water will not stop flowing. It took us some times to figure this out and when we did, some of us often forgot the 'rule'. Not to mention that our guests do not know about it (which is annoying to the ones whose room is the nearest to the toilet since they have to keep re-flushing it) so we have to put a notice telling people to hold down the button for at least five seconds. I can count on one hand how many bother to read that notice and yes, we have repeat offenders. So here is just one example of how a faulty design can make life a nuisance, if not totally miserable. I might not think about it that way if I did not read this book, but Don Norman made me go around evaluating the designs of things around me. And goodness, the many beautiful but stupid designs there are!...more
It is a good read. Some short stories get on my nerve because of their overabundance of prose made beautiful, but this manages to be beautiful and to-It is a good read. Some short stories get on my nerve because of their overabundance of prose made beautiful, but this manages to be beautiful and to-the-point at the same time.
I wonder when this was written. It plays on the vampire-craze started by Meyer and Twilight but I thought we are past that? Or at least very, very near past it. In five years time maybe people will not get the cryptic meaning and inside jokes of all those Rosamunde and the hot vampire boys references anymore.
But people will remain able to relate with the feeling of growing up, leaving home, and seeing your dreams broken by reality. This is a rather sad story. Lonely. And maybe even a tad depressing in that loneliness and how close it feels to our real lives....more
It has a decent plot and decent twists and turns, and acceptably good premise. But I cannot handle the writing style. Was this really published in 201It has a decent plot and decent twists and turns, and acceptably good premise. But I cannot handle the writing style. Was this really published in 2011? It sounds like someone in the 1860s traveled through time to write and published this. Was this writing style done on purpose to match the setting or does the writer always write like this? I can abide this in real classics written in the Victorian era, but for sci-fi, ehhh... Nah, not really.