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on August 9, 2001
This book has many points on good design and makes me wonder how on Earth we can have so many examples of bad design. The book has many anecdotes that break up the monotony, but they don't last long. I find that even with all its very good points and humor it is still extremely slow to read and is quite repetitive. Still, I find myself looking at things differently now. I am now looking at object's design more and more and thinking how it could be improved or why it is good in the first place. Many of the good points of the book are also common sense ideas, but sometimes overlooked. The Design of Everday Things unfortunately tries to put these simple ideas into more technical words and thoughts than they should be, and I wonder if this book in itself is really an example of good design or bad design.
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on December 30, 1999
As a designer of e-commerce systems, I constantly face the challenge of designing easy-to-use solutions. Until I read this book, I never understood how people inherently understand how to use something. I will be able to instantly apply the knowledge in this book to my work. Reviewers who criticize the book for being to simplistic, dated, or not involving technology are missing the point. It doesn't matter whether a design is for something physical or a computer interface. The point is that a user should be able to figure out how to use a new item with minimal instruction. This book explains how people figure things out, and how to incorporate design elements to lead users in the right direction and to help them to recover from slips/mistakes. Excellent book.
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on February 25, 1999
The contents of this books are absolutely excellent as many previous readers said. It should be a must-read for every engineer and every engineering student as well as their bosses. But I found this book seems not organized well enough. The key principles should be highlighted more. The design of subtitles is confusing or at least helpless for readers to construct a clear structure of the contents. Sometimes in the later chapters, the concepts echo the key principles, but it's hard for a reader to remember those principles since it never helps readers to construct a clear concept structure. You have to either read this book fast and keep your brain clear, or take notes. You need to organize the book by yourself. This is why I only give a 4-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 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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