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

Donald A. Norman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

20 April 2005
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 New Yorker.Emotional Design articulates the profound influence of the feelings that objects evoke, from our willingness to spend thousands of dollars on Gucci bags and Rolex watches, to the impact of emotion on the everyday objects of tomorrow.Norman draws on a wealth of examples and the latest scientific insights to present a bold exploration of the objects in our everyday world. Emotional Design will appeal not only to designers and manufacturers but also to managers, psychologists, and general readers who love to think about their stuff.

Frequently Bought Together

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things + The Design of Everyday Things, revised and expanded edition + Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 115 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions and Teach Through Design
Price For All Three: 30.36

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (20 April 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465051367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465051366
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 13.4 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The book pops with fresh paradigms, applying scientific rigor to our romance with the inanimate. You'll never see housewares the same way again."

About the Author

Donald A. Norman is Professor of Computer Science at Northwestern University, a former "Apple Fellow," and a partner in the Nielsen Norman Group Consulting Firm, which consults with corporations on design. He is the author of a number of books on design, including Emotional Design and the best-selling The Design of Everyday Things. He lives in Northbrook, Illinois and Palo Alto, California.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
While this book was at times fascinating, entertaining and easy to read, I believe that it was not as inspirational as Norman's classic book, The Design of Everyday Things. The first half of the book serves as a useful overview into the psychological theory of emotion and is written in simple and plain English. However, the second half of the book goes on to discuss how we may interact with robots and machines in the future and while interesting to read, it does become slightly repetitive at times.
This book is not up to the same (very high) standard as some of Norman's previous work, but is still an interesting, insightful and easy read. Definitely worth a look!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Understanding the emotions consumers feel about the objects you sell can help your business make the most of its product designs. Expert Donald Norman explains how being attractive, fun and enjoyable makes a product better. He explains that the emotions which affect purchase decisions are based on three aspects of design: "visceral" (appearance), "behavioral" (performance) and "reflective" (memories and experiences). He provides interesting case studies to show how objects evoke emotions. Norman's central theme is that "attractive things work better." And, the book works best when he hews to that theme; the last section, where he veers into a discussion of robots, doesn't seem as pertinent or as strong. We recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand how design affects emotions, and how emotions affect purchasing decisions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By rob crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This is a very good book about the many levels of design. Often, you can get something that works well, but is ugly; conversely, you can get something that looks great but doesn't really work. The great service of this book is that Prof. Norman creates a useful framework to categorise and analyse these things. It is thoughtful, often funny, and in my experience covers the field accurately and concisely.

First, according to Norman, there is the behavioral level, that is, how the thing functions. This is how many people, in particular Americans, approach the objects that they buy: if it works and is durable yet not expensive, it is a good deal. Second, there is the visceral level, which is the (perhaps innate and genetically programmed) reaction that a buyer had to the appearence of something bought. It is about beauty, the appearence of safety, and the like. Third, there is the reflective level, which includes the personal associations of the consumer as well as the intended subtexts that a designer might attempt to incorporate. THe latter two are more favored by the design-loving cultural elites in continental Europe, and they are prepared to pay a lot for them as well as discard still-usable goods for the latest fashion. It is an entirely different mentality and linked to personal pleasure and a sense of emotional satisfaction that come from these objects, which blur the line of design and art.

While all products reflect these three levels, more often than not one is favored by any given firm in the product design process. Target goes for level one with its cheap and useful products, but with Graves' and Starck's designer goods is attempting to appraoch the other levels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I looked forward very much to reading Donald Norman's next 'big number' after his fantastic text 'Design of Everyday Things'. 'Emotional Design' starts well with the introduction of the 'visceral, behavioural, reflective' level of user engagement, but from then on, conceptually, it all goes downhill.

The first three chapters offer new insightful material which explains how to take into account emotion in design, but the later chapters,'Fun and Games', 'People and Places', and 'Emotional Machines' (read: Robots for everything) really don't seem to go anywhere new.

To be honest, the idea of robots serving up everything does not inspire me in the same way as it does Donald Norman. It just seems like a lot more machinery to maintain and manage, at a time when we need to become more skilful ourselves, rather than deskilling ourselves and handing on our intelligence to machines.

I work with 'smart' buildings, and see just how often machinery breaks down. It's depressing.

Coming back to Donald Norman's book - the fact that it has been put together from a variety of separate sources shows. It is really an edited book of his conference talks and other events, and it would be more honest to sell it like this.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Out of touch with modern technology 3 Nov 2005
By Dr. P. J. A. Wicks VINE VOICE
I really enjoyed The Psychology of Everyday Things, but I found this book disappointing. Donald Norman makes some comments that make him sound like an out-of-touch IT teacher at school rather than a master of clever design.
The suggestion that we might one day all have clever boxes in rooms of our houses, say that showed us how to do auto repairs in the garage, or cook a recipe in the kitchen, seem to have bypassed entirely the concepts of the Internet, Wi-Fi, and LCD flatscreens. Why re-invent the wheel? Similarly, how could a book on the way thought and emotion interact in the design of products possibly neglect to include the Apple IPod? This thing has totally revolutionised consumer electronics but instead we're treated to a chapter about the design of kettles.
There's the kernels of some good ideas in here, but they're not followed through with particularly impressive thinking. I'd be very interested to see someone else tackle this area from a more modern perspective.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Inspiring!
For anyone in any profession, especially Product Design, this book is a bible for truely understanding why us humans behave the way we do when interacting with the objects in the... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Angus Lowe
5.0 out of 5 stars The book for emotional design
Norman is one of the world's leaders of emotional design. This book is simple, the ultimate level of complexity, and it provides an excellent overview of what emotional design is... Read more
Published 7 months ago by GoGetIt
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I was required to read this book for my Design course in University and it has honestly been really interesting, great quality and price too.
Published 9 months ago by Nathan
5.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable...
what is it that makes consumers love or hate the products they use? this book goeas about answering this question while giving great examples. Read more
Published on 18 Sep 2011 by Gcrikey
3.0 out of 5 stars Generally good, but to many tangents
I like this book and it makes you think about design in a totally different and more holistic way, but I don't like the author going off on so many tangents. Read more
Published on 15 Sep 2010 by Kevin De Smet
3.0 out of 5 stars Partly interesting, partly very much uninteresting
I've previously never cared much for design, so reading the first few chapters in this book about visceral, behavioral and reflective design was very interesting - and pretty much... Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2010 by Magne Thyrhaug
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but not as practical as The Design Of Everyday Things
Definitely an interesting book, but don't expect the sort of practical guidance found in Donald Norman's most well-known previous work. Read more
Published on 15 July 2009 by R. Hague
4.0 out of 5 stars good book and good delivery time
I am using this book for my final year project at university and it is very good for understanding emotional design and the use of affect
Published on 22 May 2009 by Mr. R. Haddock
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