Jacob Mclaws's Reviews > The Design of Everyday Things

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

This a required read for anyone who wants to design things for humans to use, but it was more like a textbook than I hoped when I picked it up. Lots of design vocabulary and lots of fairly common-sense principles. Don Norman is definitely one of the early design thinkers and this is where he talks about it all.

Big takeaways:
Signifiers and feedback are key in designing something. The user needs to be able to quickly understand what it can do (affordances) and get immediate and appropriate feedback when they do something.

Human Centered Design Process: all about observing to understand the problem, ideating solutions, rapid prototyping and testing. You should test with small groups at first so that you have lots of opportunity to refine and iterate. I especially liked the part about using the Wizard of Oz technique: manually handling the backend yourself and letting the user think you are automating it. I think that's often the best way to test whether something will gain traction. Doesn't work for everything, but sometimes it's very useful.

When there's something wrong, humans aren't using things wrong, designers are designing poorly.
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Reading Progress

November 11, 2013 – Shelved as: design
November 11, 2013 – Shelved
November 11, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
January 27, 2014 – Started Reading
March 5, 2014 – Finished Reading

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