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The Design of Everyday Things [Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged] [MP3 CD]

Donald A. Norman , Peter Berkrot
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 30 2011
First, businesses discovered quality as a key competitive edge; next came science. Now, Donald A. Norman, former Director of the Institute for Cognitive Science at the University of California, reveals how smart design is the new frontier. The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how—and why—some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.

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Anyone who designs anything to be used by humans--from physical objects to computer programs to conceptual tools--must read this book, and it is an equally tremendous read for anyone who has to use anything created by another human. It could forever change how you experience and interact with your physical surroundings, open your eyes to the perversity of bad design and the desirability of good design, and raise your expectations about how things should be designed. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Provocative." ---Time

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"You would need an engineering degree from MIT to work this," someone once told me, shaking his head in puzzlement over his brand new digital watch. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars super interesting March 2 2004
By Miyoko
great for artists, designers, programmers, architects, actually pretty much anyone who has an interest in they way things work, creative process, and design.
This challenges the notion of lazy design, and goes against the issue of designing things the same way becuase that's the way it's always been done. Rewinds the design process and starts over. Shows design flubs and goes through the thought process and the intentions behind them. VERY interesting book, love the photographs and diagrams.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must read for Designers/Programmers Aug. 20 2003
This book is important for two reasons: (a) it makes you realize that software design is not much different than any other kind of design, and (b) when you find it difficult to operate some device, it's really the designer's fault -- not yours!
The same ideas that have been used for years now in the design of simple things (e.g. doors), to complex stuff (e.g. nuclear reactor control panels) or even more complex stuff (VCRs :), can be applied to User Interface design. Even the design of a good internal interface (API) shares many properties with the design of successful everyday objects: it should have a clear purpose, it should be obvious to use, difficult to abuse, indicative of how it works, informative about its status -- in other words it should look and feel simple!
Carried away by features, aesthetics, technological innovations and the fact that from a designer's point of view everything look reasonable, we end up with difficult to use, error prone devices and tools. Design for usability should be a primary goal for all everyday objects, and that includes computer software.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Design of Everyday Things Dec 26 2012
By glen cochrane TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Norman has written a great 'big picture' book on design. It deals with the concepts of design through example, and in no specific way. The ideas can be applied to any type of design, and he explains the logic behind such examples and ideas so that they make sense.

The book is clearly illustrated, and quite interesting to read, I think because so many of the examples are simple things, everyday things, and things that have come and gone throughout many readers' pop-culture life spans. It doesn't seem to me a book merely for designers, but for anyone. It's full of logical advice on the topic of creating things. Design is like rhetoric or syntax...anything we create has to be created in some way. And the way has a quality...knowing about 'big picture' design can help raise that quality.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
"The Design of Everyday Things" by Donald A. Norman is said to be one of those great usability books. I bought mine at a major usability conference, believing the hype. My conclusion: Useful, but overhyped.

Norman takes a theme that says, "Look at history and you will see how the objects we use daily are sensible and functional. Now, design websites and software likewise," and develops a complete book.

Rats. I gave it all away. Now you do not need to buy the book, nor read any its 257 pages.

Really, that's more or less all there is to the book.

It is easy to read, but, in the end, becomes repetitive and is deficient in assisting the reader with application. It points out a problem we need to understand, but offers no solution. It is worth reading, but lacks as an instructional tool.

For the dense-headed, or for someone who has never considered the arguments for thinking about function before form, the book is tremendously useful. Example after example is presented is simple terms so that readers will see that merely having a cool website is not enough.

Where the book does not meet the mark is in the transferring the ideas into something modern, practical, and, in the case of we communications people, websites. What starts with a brilliant exposition about devices being useful ends where it started.

Anthony Trendl

editor, HungarianBookstore.com
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Anything but useful information Nov. 10 1999
By A Customer
After reading so many wonderful reviews, and as a graphic / web designer myself, I expected lots of useful information. Unfortunately it was mainly hundreds of boring everyday experiences, complaints, moaning... and showing us how much this guy travels, how important he is and how everybody is amazed at his "deep" observations. For the reader, there is nothing useful whatsoever, no matter if you are a graphic designer, an industrial designer or a housewife.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Misleading Aug. 5 2011
By sonikin
The book is an interesting concept, however, it's title doesn't directly correspond to its content. The text presents itself as a rant, criticizing every bad design the author has come across in his lifetime. Moreover, it is made to seem that the book's main argument is that anytime a person has difficulty with a device/object/etc, it's the fault of the designer. This narrow view transforms into a psychological text about how humans perceive objects and how memory works.

If you're looking for a book on 'design' as in creative design and the design process, then this isn't the book for you. The book is dated and doesn't correspond well with our present time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars They don't call them gurus for nothing June 17 2010
By VeroM
There isn't much to say other than this is a must read for anyone working on product design and development! It's a breeze to read through.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic. Oct. 7 2009
Worth reading for anybody who wants a primer on the subject of usability, or who simply enjoys well-written anecdotes and evidence on the topic of design.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Overview of Design Fundamentals
Although I only read about half of this book, what I did read was quite good. This book presents some interesting insight into the design of everyday things, and provides amusing... Read more
Published on May 5 2009 by Eric Boyer
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, thought provocing, though a bit "lost"
I enjoyed this book - don't get me wrong. But I find presenting ideas one after the other, without constantly linking them, not very helpful. Read more
Published on Sept. 7 2006 by Rommil Santiago
5.0 out of 5 stars See The Psychology of Everyday Things
Take a look at the The Psychology of Everyday Things (the hardcover edition of this book). They changed the title for the paperback edition.
Published on June 24 2004 by R. Kashden
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind altering book.
If you design anything you will want to read this book. Even if you don't design what physically appears to a persons eye you want to read this. Read more
Published on April 10 2004 by Paco
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and Interesting Book
I'll make this quick. Even though this book was read for a college class, I actually enjoyed reading it. Read more
Published on Jan. 31 2004 by Jackson Stephens
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring book on software interface design
This book discusses many common design problems in our everyday things. It is an interesting and fun book to read. Read more
Published on Dec 24 2003 by Ting Liu
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring book on software interface design
This book discusses many common design problems in our everyday things. It is an interesting and fun book to read. Read more
Published on Dec 24 2003 by Ting Liu
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