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Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,411 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Did you ever wonder why cheap wine tastes better in fancy glasses? Why sales of Macintosh computers soared when Apple introduced the colorful iMac? New research on emotion and cognition has shown that attractive things really do work better, as Donald Norman amply demonstrates in this fascinating book, which has garnered acclaim everywhere from Scientific American to The N ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 11th 2005 by Basic Books (first published 2003)
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 ·  4,411 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Unexpectedly deep.
Of course, the author goes a bit too far with his discussion of teapots and emotions they invoke in the user. But quite a lot of it is sheer brilliance distilled.
I HAVE A COLLECTION OF TEAPOTS. One of them is completely unusable—the handle is on the same side as the spout. It was invented by the French artist Jacques Carelman, who called it a coffeepot: a "coffeepot for masochists." (c)
Design is important to me, but which design I choose depends on the occasion, the contex
Erika RS
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, physical, software
This book was interesting but disappointing.

The first half was a fascinating addendum to The Design of Everyday Things. This part of the book talked about the role of emotions in design and usability. Things that are more pleasurable to use are easier to use than something with the same basic design that is not a pleasure to use. The psychological basis for this claim is that when people are enjoying what they are using, they can take a more creative view at any problems they encounter during t
Gaurab Dutta
Oct 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
this book will definitely allow some fresh insights to how we see things and make certain choices. A good way to evoke the designer in you!
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is the first book I’ve read on design. I like the focus on the importance of emotions. The first four chapters were interesting to me, then I hit a dead zone and skimmed chapters 5-7, but I enjoyed the epilogue. I’m sure I will look at products in a new way after this.

Also, I like to find arguments against our crappy school system and ways to improve it, so this caught my eye:

p. 205 Robot tutors have great potential for changing the way we teach. Today’s model is far too often that of a ped
Michael Scott
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
(I chose to write this review only after reading both Emotional Design and The Design of Everyday Things. The wait was worthwhile.)

Emotional Design focuses on the aesthetics of things, that is, on what makes an object desirable (for a human). Just like the influential late-1980s book by Norman, The Design of Everyday Things, this book marks a belief shift, from performance and usability, to catering to human impulse and cognitive responses. In other words, Norman argues that we are no longer in
Alex Pricop
Sep 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked the general idea of the book and Norman has a great way of separating the way design is experienced. I felt like he was dragging too long and it seemed like the same ideas were being hammered down through too many examples and the book could have benefited from further editing and a reduced length.
Mar 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book expands on Norman's The Design of Everyday Things by exploring how people interact with things when human emotions are taken into account. While the previous book focused on usability based on physical human limitations and logical design, this book delves into how design can affect both the act of the interaction and the quality of the emotional bond with objects (and computer software) through that interaction.

This is not a How-To design book with step-by-step instructions; it explor
Stephanie H
Nov 13, 2011 rated it liked it
I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but this is a book you can aptly judge. The cover depicts a juicer that is mechanical and feminine at the same time. It has sharp edges beautifully paired with delicate, sensual curves. It is supposedly not meant for juicing actual fruit, but it is certainly a conversation starter.

This book was full of great anecdotes about the random stuff we have that we are attached to for no apparent reason. I have a hand mixer in my house that used to
Tú Pa
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Norman has a beautiful, special view of our everyday life. If you already read The design of everyday things, Emotional design might seem not as good as it, until the epilogue part. Yes, we're all designer as he said. We just simply can't negate it:

"We are all designers. We manipulate the environment, the better to serve our needs. We select what items to own, which to have around us. We build, buy, arrange, and restructure: all this is a form of design.

We are all designers—and have to be. Profe
Jun 08, 2007 rated it did not like it
I just weeded this book out of my bookshelves, after four years and moving it across the country and into (and out of) four separate apartments. I took it off the shelf, removed the bookmark that had been optimistically marking a quarter of the way through the book, and I put the book in my stack of books to be given away.

I give up. I will never finish this book. The writing style is impenetrable and boring, which means that even though the premise of the book is fascinating--how form affects wh
Jamie Bourne
Apr 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
I bought this book because of the epilogue and the prologue and was disappointed to find out those were the best parts.

I would completely cut the chapters on emotional machines and the future of robots which is nothing more than Don Norman's conjecture on how robots might exist and ends with his robot manifesto.

Highlights include

Will robot athletes compete, if not with humans, then perhaps in their own leagues — but thereby leading to the demise of human leagues?

What if a robot pet bites some
Guilherme Gontijo
Dec 19, 2015 rated it liked it
50% good, 50% bad. The second half is all about AI emotional design. Interesting, but not very useful for graphic design.
Oct 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
Repetitive, uninteresting examples, preaching to the choir, little to no evidence, not very actionable.
Yu Takk
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
When I started reading this book, I was pleasantly surprised because it was much better than I had expected. I read Norman's another bestseller, The Design of Everyday Things, a few years ago and got the impression that he was very outdated and boring author.

However, the first half of this book was not old at all. It seemed that the author updated his theory and started to think about different levels of design. For example:

"all my previous work focused upon behavioral design. I still maintain
Dec 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
In the epilogue of this book, Don Norman expresses his gratitude to a myriad of people who helped him organize many years worth of disparate notes into a cohesive book. For me, ‚'Emotional Design' remained rather disconnected. Not in an altogether bad way, the book reads like the (slightly rambling) classroom lecture from a venerable guru‚ with the reader left to pull it all together.

Norman offers an illuminating model - distinguishing between 3 layers of design: visceral, behavioral and reflect
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Emotional Design is another classic from the product design guru Donald Norman. I found this a thought-provoking read with its focus on emotional design, a topic that design theory often doesn't cover.

This book is an excellent complement to his "Design of Everyday things", another design classic. It describes the human psyche when it comes to buying and using products and how to appeal to the emotion to design more attractive products. It outlines in a very accessible manner, his research on the
Alicia Fox
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
The first half is okay and the second half is blah. Speaking about objects and why we love or hate them, Norman is en pointe. I can't understand why the later portion of the book is all about how to design AI we'd enjoy, without any seeming knowledge on Norman's part of biology and psychology. I don't want to live in a world where my vacuum cleaner is pouting in the corner out of jealousy I spent too much time with my toaster. (I don't wish to turn a simple review note into a critique of bizarre ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aldo Ojeda
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology, design
This is the first time I read about design, leaning more on the cognitive side of it. I really liked and find really useful the three levels of the brain described by Norman: the visceral level, that first gut feeling you get when you see an object; the conductual level, the feeling you get when actually interacting with the object; and the reflexive level, that has more to do with the cognition and your self-image. Even if this book focuses on industrail design, I think you can apply this persp ...more
Obed M. Parlapiano
Really good read focused on how emotions affect our views of things and the world.

This book can be a 5 out of 5 for many people. And if I had read this book having no other context, or expectation, it probably would be for me as well.

Before reading this book I read "the design of eve day things". By the same author, which is a great book.

Funny enough, I changed my rating to 5, after thinking of everything I learned by reading this book. It is definitely worth a read.

Norman is a great designe
Jon Nguyen
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a useful book in understanding how “soft” things like emotion and aesthetics play into the design of products. There’s a good combination of theory, anecdote, and speculation, which makes it nice to read.

The only issue is that it was published back in 2004, and could use an update based on all that’s happened since then. He wrote it in a world before smartphones, modern social media platforms, chatbots, deep learning, and many other advancements.

Most of his predictions about the future s
Feb 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I loved this book when I read it in high school and geeked out and left a sticky note for the author on his office door when I toured UC San Diego. I was so excited by what I found here. I was excited except for what he said in the end. His argument that robots need emotions to be better servants to people makes no sense to me. Emotions in a "creature" require will to honor them. Robots having no emotions is what makes it ethical for them to do serve us in the ways they do. His idea of true robo ...more
Arnold Petersen
In my opinion, Dan Norman is one of the leading researcher on design and cognitive behaviour associated with design, he has my highest respect. In this book however he is very heavy on theories and after the first few chapters the detail when he gets into prediction of future on robotics, it gets a little overbearing to be honest. There is no doubt in my mind that it has all the clever thinking and for an academic or student, it will certainly make sense but for a designer its a little stretch.

Apr 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
I have mixed feelings about this. I really enjoyed Don Norman’s other book, The Design of Everyday Things, but I found this one to be lacking in insight at a lot of points. The book discusses the three different levels of emotional design: visceral, behavioral, and reflective. And it started off on a pretty good foot, describing some pretty fun and insightful examples. I particularly enjoyed those, but towards the end, it started getting into territory that was either mundane or obvious. There w ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it liked it
A good expansion on Design of Everyday Things -- covering some key aspects of design neglected by that book -- but altogether longer than it needed to be and with extraneous essays on robots that felt both tenuously relevant (probably belonged in different book despite the discussion of emotion) and dated already (remember, this book came out before smartphones radically changed our relationships to social media and machines...and before internet-of-things technology started making major inroads ...more
Jul 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economy
The book starts off with discussions and interpretations about why we love some things and hate other because of the way they are designed. And if they are as valuable if they are less useful by putting aesthetics first. Then on the second half of book author dives into imagining future and robots part in it. At this time of reading authors predictions mostly have come true. Nevertheless its fun and interesting read maybe because i do very much agree to authors thoughts about robots and their fu ...more
Aman Parnami
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Being a fan of Norman's classic, Design of everyday things, and given the broader appeal for the factors that effect human (dis)liking of interfaces and products, I was determined to read this book. At first I found the categorization of levels at which a human connects to a product insightful and examples of existing products helped make a strong case. However, the future chapters didn't add any value, only weight to the book. I argue that the book will be as useful and more likely to be read, ...more
Shubham Bansal
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
As the title suggests, this book is about what constitutes the element of the emotional design. i.e what makes our emotions tickle and enhance them to enable us to take an action. The emotional behavior is as important to satisfy as a functional behavior if the product needs to fit the definition of a good product. This book is a must-read for anyone who is making products for a retail consumer. Even for business consumers, this is an equally good theory to consider while developing a product.
Oct 03, 2020 rated it liked it
The first half was very design-focused and got to the heart of universal truths that won't really alter over time. But the second half around AI felt dated and was very difficult to get through. When this was first published, his insights into robotic and artificial intelligence were likely new and groundbreaking. Today these ideas are everywhere and we've either heard all about them or are actually living within them.

Maybe it's time for Norman to revisit some of these themes with an updated ve
Rasa Jonkute
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
An amazing explanation of Norman's three levels of design. Not only super informative but also inspiring (wasn't paying too much attention to speculations about the robots in the future though).

The role of aesthetics in product design: "attractive things make people feel good, which in turn makes them think more creatively. How does that make something easier to use? Simple, by making it easier for people to find solutions to the problems they encounter."
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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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