Rod Hilton's Reviews > The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
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really liked it
bookshelves: science

Whenever programmers ask other programmers for book suggestions, there's always some smartass that says something like "The Art of War" because of blah blah blah about corporate politics. Hoo boy you're clever, you suggested a non-programming book, way to not play by the rules. You really march to the beat of your own drum there, slick.

Similarly, I constantly see "The Design of Everyday Things" suggested in these kinds of conversations. I think it's supposed to give engineers great insights into design and how humans interact with objects around them. This is supposed to change our outlook for the software we build for people.

Well, I don't think it did that at all. Really, the only thing to take away in that regard is "think about how people use your software". In other words, I think a great many UX-centered books are vastly superior in this regard.

That's not to say this book is bad. In fact, I imagine there are people reading my review right now thinking "who gives a shit that this guy is a software engineer?" Indeed, this book is great. Very enjoyable, and very informative. It made me think about every day objects I've never even given a second thought to. There's an entire section on sink faucets that blew my mind. But ultimately, the book is really about exactly what the title says it is, the design of everyday things and objects. There's some hinting at a greater, broader meaning than this, but it never comes to much.

Definitely a great read, worth it for sure, but don't buy into the "everyone who makes software should read this book" hype.
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Reading Progress

September 26, 2008 – Shelved
November 9, 2016 – Started Reading
July 23, 2017 – Finished Reading

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