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4.2 out of 5 stars81
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on June 2, 2000
The Design of Everyday Things is the ultimate vehicle for translating usability design issues into everyday experiences. Once reading this book, one is no longer able to ignore the ergonomic, conceptual, and structural design flaws of everything from doors to complex information system interfaces. This book is clear and concise case-based information on how to recognize, diagnose, and design for usability in every arena. To the ever growing population of Information Systems and Web developers: you NEED this book for its insight on the human interaction experience; don't just develop an interface because you can- create a user-based system through the instruction of Don Norman's principles outlined in this book. Don Norman is a god!
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on July 15, 2001
every wonder what moron designed this &%# (whatever)? [why in my Buick Regal do i push the shifter FORWARD to put the car in REVERSE? and BACK for DRIVE("forward")?] ever curse a faucet and it's designer, because not only is it needlessly unergonomic, but difficult to even figure out or remember how to use (or nearly impossible, once your hands are wet & soapy)? ...or a kitchen radio with three buttons which all do different things, but all look exactly alike --and are placed side-by-side? you'll be glad to know you're not alone. Donald Norman is my hero, bar none. if you thought no one has given any thought to the thought behind design, think again. informative, and entertaining.
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on February 2, 1999
While in University, studying Industrial Design, I would have rated it a 4 .... now I rate it a 2. It is still the rarest example of litterature on human perception affecting design. It still is unique, but you will not need to read it more than once, it is likely not to become a reference in your bookshelf BUT it is exellent for university/college level reading and book report to anyone studying psychology and or design. The book is full of anecdotes and lessons. It would be best if accompanied with a good textbook on perception. Reading some Papanek in conjunction with a perception textbook and this book will result in some well intentioned Design creativity I'm sure.
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on August 5, 2011
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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on July 12, 1998
Norman does an excellent job of showing the reader that interface design is not simple a matter of putting a handle or some buttons on something. His in depth analysis of not only which interfaces are good or bad but why is an interesting and educational read for anyone who must create objects, devices, or interfaces that a person will interact with. The language is easy to understand and not heavily technical but still remains interesting. His examples are not specific to computer interfaces but to many different kinds of devices - telephones, light switches, etc. An excellent book for readers of any level - student or teacher, from junior high on up.
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on December 22, 1998
Norman's work is THE book to start reading if you are 1) developing ANY kind of technology (e.g., web page, software program, etc.), or 2) beginning any tangible product design.
The book is easy reading, contains some key design concepts and is fun. It is not for artists or graphic designers. And for those who think that it is "rudimentary", just look at the products being designed today: car stereo buttons that you cannot reach, drink holders on car doors (don't slam that door), and VCRs that people cannot program.
This is the kind of book that you should hand out to everyone in your IT department for the Holidays.
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on June 13, 1999
This is actually a really bizarre book, in that it is as much an autobiography of Dr Norman's experiences in his own home as it is about design. Dr Norman is like the Charlotte Bronte of engineering -- although appaerently trapped in his own little world, he manages to discover universal truths that are relevant way beyond it.
Don't be confused: this is a rather tiresome book to read, as Dr Norman evaluates the design and usability of taps, light-switches, telephones and door handles (lots of door handles), but in a cosmic sense, worthwhile.
In short: I am glad to have read it, even though the reading was pretty dull.
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on March 14, 2000
A number of reviewers have made points about the end notes. I corresponded with Professor Norman on this subject. He informed me that more people comment on the usability (or lack thereof) of the endnotes than of any other aspect of the book. Having said that, don't let this design error interfere with the great content.
This book is not for people with strong backgrounds in usability and design. It is an excellent introduction and overview. Prof. Norman makes many great points which were new to me because I hadn't studied these concepts before. If you design anything and you haven't studied usability, get this book.
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on January 6, 2000
When I started my first job out of college I was given a copy of this book by my boss. Since then, I've had a chance to do GUI design for the web as well as client/server applications. This book has proven invaluable. It completely changed the way I thought about design and usability. The examples given show how everything can (and should) be made more usable... every time I turn on the wrong burner on my stove, or pull on a door I should be pushing I curse the designer who should have read this. The examples may not be specifically about computer user interface design, but the lessons learned are directly applicable.
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on October 30, 2003
We all go through life frustrated by stupid design of everyday things. This book reassures you that you're not cracking up, and that there are others out there who feel the same way.
However, the book is now 15 years old, so many of the examples quoted seem very quaint, and the photographs seem even older - like scenes from the earliest 'James Bond' movies.
There needs to be a more upto date view of good/bad design - design principles are not immortal - what was good yesterday might not be any good for tomorrow - eg what was good in a black & white world might be irrelevant in a colour world.
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