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

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  4,045 ratings  ·  176 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 ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 11th 2005 by Basic Books (first published 2003)
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☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡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.
Q:
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)
Q:
Design is important to me, but which design I choose depends on the occasion, the
...more
Erika RS
Jan 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned, software, physical
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
...more
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!
sleeps9hours
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
...more
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
...more
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.
Danien
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
...more
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
...more
Shaina
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
...more
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.
Kevin
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
...more
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
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 ...more
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.
...more
Nika
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
...more
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
...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.

I
...more
Jaki
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 ...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.
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
Gin
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 ...more
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."
Andriy Bas
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
The key insight — about 3 levels of processing the information (or "3 levels of Design"):
1. Visceral - Concerns itself with appearances.
2. Behavioral - Has to do with the pleasure and effectiveness of use (usability).
3. Reflective - Considers the rationalization and intellectualization of a product.

Different items and behaviors are processed on different levels, thus we need to understand it and design products and services for the corresponding levels.
Sumaya
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for designers, it sums up all you need to know about emotional design in a quite easy to understand/navigate manner
It helped me realize in which area/level of emotional design I wish to work on
The author kind of lost me in the chapters where he talked about robotics and emotions
Since it’s not my field of interest
But I’ll definitely use this book as a reference.
Alex Wang
Jan 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
Don Norman is a giant in the space and offers insightful theory and speculation about the future.

The first half of the book is a fantastic sequel to his seminal, "Design of Everyday Things," while the second half is a bit incoherent - rambling, loose, and with a lack of evidence. Still, his reputation and crisp writing carries him to a strong end.
Vignesh Nandha Kumar
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design
Not as good as The Design of Everyday Things, but the first half is good. The later parts, especially those about the future of robots, digress too much from the topic.

Overall, a must read for designers though.
Vasilis
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design, accessibility
The first four chapters were really good. Kept nodding my head in agreement and kept sticking notes to the margin. Skipped the last two chapters, they seemed a bit outdated.
Gary
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of the book was very interesting in terms of emotion and usability in design. All the sudden the book turned into a sci-fi study of robots. Don’t get me wrong, I love robots, but it wasn’t what I wanted out of the text.
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تفکر طراحی 1 3 Jul 07, 2014 07:37AM  

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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 ...more
“Learning should take place when it is needed, when the learner is interested, not according to some arbitrary, fixed schedule” 31 likes
“Will robot teachers replace human teachers? No, but they can complement them. Moreover, the could be sufficient in situations where there is no alternative––to enable learning while traveling, or while in remote locations, or when one wishes to study a topic for which there is not easy access to teachers. Robot teachers will help make lifelong learning a practicality. They can make it possible to learn no matter where one is in the world, no matter the time of day. Learning should take place when it is needed, when the learner is interested, not according to some arbitrary, fixed schedule” 6 likes
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