The Design of Everyday Things Paperback – 9 Sep 1998
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"Norman... makes a strong case for the needlessness of badlyconceived and badly designed everyday objects... [T]his book mayherald the beginning of a change in user habits and expectations, achange that manufacturers would be obliged to respond to. Buttonpushers of the world, unite." Los Angeles Times --Los Angeles Times
From the Publisher
This is the only updated edition, and the only one to include Don Norman's brand new introduction. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Certainly not the books fault, but this book does tend to get recommended to students as the definitive book for software interface design.
The book is quite dated, being just a renamed reprint of 1989 book "The Psychology of Everyday Things", identical content, except with a new foreword.
The insight into the flawed design of everyday objects is amazing, but could have been so much better if instead of just updating the foreword new chapters were added dealing with modern issues (computers, satellite tv, mobile phones, etc).
Reading this book will still make high tech designers better, but don't expect it to be as relevant to you as it was to your lecturer who read it 17 years ago.
One of the easiest ways to sell good design and usability is by showing people what happens if you don't invest enough time and resources. This book provides ample ammunition to any designers who are confronted with clients who require educating, as well as a design solution.
Why not 5 stars? - well, the book could be longer.
Interestingly, most of my undergraduate colleagues decided on a different career path,but still rate this book as one of their favourites. You will never look at the world in the same way after you have read this book. It is truly inspiring...
Norman exposes some simple guidelines for ensuring usable design which make one wonder why they appear to be so frequently ignored in comtemporary design.
This book is not only a must for design students, it is essential for even senior designers and managers involved with design.
The tone of the book, unfortunately, is very negative. Admittedly, it is easier to find problems than impart praise. It is nevertheless better to teach via good examples. Mr Norman seems to get great pleasure from pointing out when some appliance doesn't meet one of his principles. Perhaps he's still bitter about a bad childhood experience with a badly designed toaster...
Although the content is revelant, it is not well organised. There should at least be a distinct section of the book dedicated to each principle. Instead, the author introduces some principles in point form, and others elsewhere in the text. This makes studying especially difficult, as you spend much of your time making sure you've found all the revelant principles.
For a book on design, I am dissapointed to see that it is more difficult to use than it should be. Mr Norman, as per your request on the last line of the book, here's a weed 0>-,'--
That said, the book is a bit dated, with references to the Mac Lisa, the NES, the Bell telephone and buildings and furniture designed in the 70's. It sorely needs an update, to show how the situation has improved: idiot-proof and color-coded connectors are standard in almost all electronics nowadays, auto-volt adaptors means we don't have to worry about burning electronics, plug-and-play and software wizards makes DIP switches and hacking at configuration files a thing of the past (unless you are a masochist or use Linux); and how they stay the same: different proprietary power connectors for cellphones (sometimes from different models of the same manufacturer, even with the same voltage!), ditto for memory cards, mobile phone and mp3 player user interfaces that seem to want to reinvent everything from scratch (and get it wrong) with every model released, the one button interface that behaves differently on how long you press it and scratch-filled screens (it's as if the designers never thought we'd put their _pocket-sized_ devices in our actual pockets!).
That said, it's still a necessary read for anyone designing an application UI or a webpage, or just about anyone else who has screamed at the designer of a shower faucet that you just can't turn when your hands are soapy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic book, opens your eyes to how everyday design can create confusion amongst us as humans and just how easy it is to get design wrong! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Oliver Sunderland
Very interesting reading. Easy to follow it will change your approach toward everyday object design and use. Read morePublished 2 months ago by matteo pallini
Please don't pay attention to negative comments like "outdated" etc. because they will mislead you from the core understanding what DESIGN is / should be. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dom
A design classic. The Design of Everyday Things will make you take the time to look at things you use without a second thought and understand the why and how of product design. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Peep_squeak
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