2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars super interesting
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...
Published on March 2 2004 by Miyoko
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Anything but useful information
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...
Published on Nov. 10 1999
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book , sometimes repititive,
Tend to repeat and over emphasize some design concepts but is effective in exposing them.
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all those who create things for consumers,
Great read...Its very interesting and keeps your attention. It has lots of personal ancedotes. The only downside is that this edition is showing its age. Quite a few of things that he muses about are already reality (e.g. PDAs and hypertext media).
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read book,
This book is used in our Computer Science graduate class for "user interface and HCI". I think it is very good reading material for graduate level course. This book is very useful to understand the principle and practice of a good design, as well as dozens of examples of "bad" design.
However, I may think it is a little bit out of date. Published in 1988, a lot of things has changed in these 10 years.
5.0 out of 5 stars Design of Everyday Things,
This book is a must if you are dealing with any aspect of interface design. This book explains what causes people to react to well designed artifacts and shun poorly designed artifacts, while keeping the case specifics of technology to a minimum. This knowledge is directly transferable to the computer realm where it can be applied to interface design. Allowing the designer to create interfaces which are usable. What I like most about this book is it explains the "WHY" while leaving the implementation details to the reader.
5.0 out of 5 stars About Dr. Norman,
Dr. Norman is an incredibly charismatic individual. I was fortunate to have him as a lecturer in my Cognitive Engineering course at University of California, San Diego. He captured my attention and released my imagination.
The Design of Everyday Things is a very informative and entertaining reading. I have read it twice! Buy it! Enjoy it! Learn from it!
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes a bit dated, but still very much worth reading,
Previously titled as "The Psychology of Everyday Things", another title for this book might well have been "The Usability of Everyday Things." Norman successfully helps designers think through some of the usability issues associated with their designs. As someone who attempts to design easy-to-use software, the issues raised in this book are very helpful.
According to Norman, "clever" or "unique" designs may often win awards, but these same designs may often be difficult to use. Usability needs to receive greater attention when designers are hard at work, but design considerations are frequently driven by appearance and price. I think Norman's book would be interesting reading for consumers as well as designers, especially since consumers often purchase items based on appearance and price rather than usability.
Some may find the examples used in the book to be a bit dated, but the principles behind the examples clearly still apply. The only area of the book that I think needs careful reading is in the discussion of how memory and the human mind work. Though very interesting, there is much in this section that is simply theoretical and needs to be taken as such. It would be interesting to read some more recent information in this area to see how the theories have shifted in the last decade.
Regardless of these issues, the principles enumerated in the book will prove very helpful to those in any industry who are responsible for the design of everyday things.
5.0 out of 5 stars Although dated, still a classic,
While many parts of this book are somewhat dated it makes one wonder why some of the very poor design fundamentals pointed out in the book continue today. Why is it that you still find new buildings going up with a pull bar on a door that needs to be pushed to be opened? I even encountered a sliding door last week that had a vertical pull bar. How would a person know by looking at the door that it should be slid instead of pulled? Of course, you don't know and that is the sort of thing that is covered in this book. There is really no reason not to make things much easier to use except poor design.
How relevant is this book? I became exposed to it as required reading for computer engineering studies. Maybe the next generation of designers will be able to think ahead about things and design them better. Heaven knows it won't hurt Microsoft to have someone who understands a user interface better.
So, is it of value to people other than designers? I think so. For one thing it has changed the way that I look at things and when choosing a purchase I look at design considerations. After all, why shouldn't I pick the one that is better designed on the outside? Maybe that reflects a better design on the inside. I've even found that I think of things I learned in this book when doing something around the house such as adding a set of doors to enclose my bookcase or when I enclosed my porch. It has affected a lot of things that I do not to mention it is simply a delightful read and written in a very easy style.
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Slightly Repetitive, and Just A Little Dated,
I read this book (1989 edition) in 2001 after reading a lot of good and excellent reviews of the book on Amazon. I got a copy from the library and read the book over a couple of days.
Let me say that this book is an excellent read for anyone who has either suffered through modern (VCR, computers) and not so modern contraptions (doors) as well as for those who actually design these things. The author has used many, many examples to drive, no, hammer the point accross that most everyday appliances that we use are (a)Not well thought designs, (b)Form seems to precede function, (c)Difficulty in using a product seems more often than not the fault of the end-user.
The book therefore is a fascinating read on how so many bright people can come up with so many not so bright designs. The book is not too big, so can be read in a relatively short period of time.
There are faults with the book too - in trying to drive home the point that many everyday things are poorly designed, the author becomes repetitive. Even with a gentle style of writing and criticism the book at times reads like a litany of complaints. And some of the author's suggestions as to what he thinks might be good design examples I couldn't agree with whole heartedly - eg. he thinks a computer mouse should not have 2 buttons, one might do.
Overall, the book is a must read. I can suggest for those who wish to read something similar but deals more with computers and modern electronics a couple of books by Alan Cooper - 'About Face' and 'The Inmates Are Running The Asylum', as well as most books by Steve McConnell.
One interesting note - the author in 1989 states that the computing power to put a small computer in one's plam was there, and within 10 years he expected such a device to become perfect. That would mean 1999. We had the Palm 3 and 5 in 1999. Perfect? Maybe not. But what strikes me is that the author in 1989 could think to give the technology 10 years to mature.
5.0 out of 5 stars Life changing (yes, really!),
I read this book while starting on a career in computing. Since then I have heard many people complaing about "dumb users" and the like - every time, I was reminded of this book. Norman illustrates how crucial design is to the usability of everyday things. And most importantly, empowers US to stop blaming OURSELVES when things go wrong. Even if the content is dated, the message is ageless.
5.0 out of 5 stars Opens your eyes to the usability problems of everyday life,
This book is fun for anyone: regardless whether you are an interested usability novice or a full-featured cognitive psychologist.
It demonstrates the good and the bad in usability design, it shows potential solutions to everyday problems and tells many great stories about usability adventurues the author has experienced.
After reading this book, you will become 'aware' like never before. It opens your eyes to the disasterous usability problems that surround us and how to correct them (if you are developing a product).
You won't regret it if you buy this book; it's a classic in its genre.
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The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman (Paperback - Sept. 19 2002)
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