Things That Make Us Smart: Defending Human Attributes In The Age Of The Machine
"[T]hose who benefit most from a technology and those who must do the work to make it function are different people." (pg 216)
In this 1993 book Norman observed, and mourned, that human experience has become subject to the calculating rhetoric of modern technology. Many tasks and experiences that people regularly engaged in had been ...more
Hot DAMN. Everyone in tech should read this book. It should be mandatory if you are starting any kind of job in technology, particularly if you work with social networks. The main thrust is that there are things computers are good at, and things people are good at, and these are two different kinds of things, and for people who work with computers, they need to approach computer programs and interfaces with humans in mind first.
This book is from 1993 and predicts:
+filter bu ...more
Cited in Toward a Theory of Design ...more
Norman is such a pleasure to read. His prose style is light and easy, he has brilliant examples, and he mints some very useful concepts. The Things That Make Us Smart picks up many of the themes of The Design of Everyday Things, but gives them a different emphasis. DOET focussed on physical artefacts like plugs and door handles, whereas TTMUS focusses on information technology. DOET focussed, rather humorously, on design failures. TTMUS is more abstract and general, as Norman tries to explain ho...more
Things That Make Us Smart is more scholarly - discussing the viewpoint that technology should adapt to us, instead of the current state where we are adapting to technology. The majority of the book discusses experiential vs. reflective experiences and how we can harness technology's strengths and "affordan ...more
Most of all the refreshing perspective is how much room there is for different kinds of methodology in study, which could be as simple as qualitative research from reporting one’s sensation to quantitative studies worked around specific questions.
And most importantly the perspective is a hum ...more
The premise is that people and machines are good at different tasks and we waste much time trying to get each to behave like the other. The author argues for a human centered view of technology where the machines conform to us rather than the other way around. ...more
As an engineering major I can definitely relate, it is nearly impossible to analyse an engineering problem with many variables without the tool of pen and paper to extend your working memory and a calculator to automate tedious arithmetic.
Very good book. Examples are outdated but principles still apply.
Norman also makes some surprisingly accurate (and of course some blatantly failing) predictions about technology usage.
Goodreads is hiring!
Learn more »