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The Design of Everyday Things
The Design of Everyday Things
by Donald Norman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.52

31 of 44 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Outdated undergrad course notes, 24 July 2002
The book reads as a bound set of lecture notes for a US first year undergrad course. Whilst the core thrust of his argument has value, it is spoilt by labouring the point - time and time again he comes back to criticising ease of use of the telephone until the reader is left thinking "ok, just get over it".
The text itself is very dated - there are humourous references to a "pocket size computing device which has huge storage and is able to connect to my laboratory and home computers possibly electromagetically" being available in 15 years hence.
There are also a number of factual inaccuracies which detract from the message. A painfully detailed description of the way in which turn-offs from British motorways are signed, which is upheld as an example of good design, is, well, just plain wrong.
I would take issue with some of the other examples selected as "good design". B&O hi-fi's, for example, may have an ergonomic style, but the user interface itself runs contrary to a large number of Norman's own recommendations regarding mapping and intuition. I wonder whether he has ever actually used one himself?
In all, the book serves as a useful starting point for discussion, but does not offer any significant insight into the psychology of design. Good ideas are undermined by poor examples and specious arguments, leaving little more than the common sense of good design.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 30, 2009 12:49 AM GMT

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