David's Reviews > The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
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it was amazing

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 commonplace among designers(not just in the software industry, which is a story unto itself - see "The Lunatics are Running the Asylum") - it is also a clarion call to action. We need not live in a world where it appears that appliances conspire to make us feel like idiots. And when they do - when you can't figure out which button to push, or whether a door opens inward or outward - remember that you are not the one at fault. It is the lazy incompetent designer of the thing which is making you miserable who is deserving of scorn and ridicule.

Far too often, in a design world which favors form over function and usability, crimes against the user get rewarded with prizes and the acclaim of the design cognoscenti. People who presumably never have to struggle with the consequences of their own reckless disregard for the usability of the objects they design.

This book is an outraged and eloquent call for change.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 5, 2007 – Shelved

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