Yup, we’ve got that one

And more than one million more. Become a member today and read free for two weeks.

Read free for two weeks
Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault, argues this ingeniouseven liberatingbook, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. The problems range from ambiguous and hidden controls to arbitrary relationships between controls and functions, coupled with a lack of feedback or other assistance and unreasonable demands on memorization. The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.

In this entertaining and insightful analysis, cognitive scientist Donald A. Norman hails excellence of design as the most important key to regaining the competitive edge in influencing consumer behavior. Now fully expanded and updated, with a new introduction by the author, The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on howand whysome products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.

Topics: Design, Art & Artists, Innovation, Creativity, Guides, Inspirational, and Informative

Published: Basic Books on Nov 5, 2013
ISBN: 9780465072996
List price: $17.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition
With a 30 day free trial you can read online for free
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Clear rating

This classic work by Norman introduces readers to the principles of usability and explores how people interact with technology of various kinds. The book is very readable and engaging. Even for those who are not engaged in related fields of work, the book is a fascinating insight into what makes a good product.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This classic work by Norman introduces readers to the principles of usability and explores how people interact with technology of various kinds. The book is very readable and engaging. Even for those who are not engaged in related fields of work, the book is a fascinating insight into what makes a good product.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Absolute must read for anyone interested in design. Highly recommend!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Finally read the usability classic! I didn't take a lot of concrete lessons from this, but I've been up to my ears in usability texts for a while now, and some of this doesn't translate well to web design. Still, a great read and lives up to the hype.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is considered an essential book on industrial design. Norman claims that designers get hung up on making devices look pretty at the expense of having them be difficult to use. He argues that they should place more emphasis on designing artifacts which communicate to the user how it is that they should be used. Important reading for people on the user interface side of software development.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
We've all had bad experiences with technology, from pulling fruitlessly on a door that we're actually meant to push, to being late for work because we hit the wrong button on the clock radio and accidentally unset the alarm, to spending a frustrating half-hour trying to figure out how to get a word processing program to format our paragraphs the way we want them. When things like that happen, most of us tend to blame ourselves first: "My brain just isn't working today", "I'm so mechanically inept," "I'm not good with computers." But Donald Norman suggests that we should be blaming ourselves less and the designers of these everyday technologies more. Good design, according to Norman, means usability, and that means working with the strengths and weaknesses of human psychology. Well-designed technologies, from doorknobs to computers, should follow certain basic principles. They should operate in ways that make sense to users and not give false impressions about how they work. They should provide feedback to make it clear what they are doing and what effect the user's actions have had. They should be easy to use correctly and difficult to use in ways that don't work. They shouldn't require the user to memorize tons of arbitrary information in order to do simple things. And they should be forgiving of mistakes; accidentally hitting the wrong switch should not lead to nuclear meltdown.Norman expresses these principles in a clear and readable style that's as user-friendly as the designs he advocates. He seems to have aimed this primarily at designers and businesspeople, but the writing is completely accessible and free from jargon -- he carefully defines the few specialized terms that he uses -- and is as appropriate and relevant to consumers as it is to producers. The book was originally published in 1988 (under the title The Psychology of Everyday Things), so the examples he uses are pretty dated, but the basic concepts are as valid now as they have ever been. If anything, it adds an extra dimension to the book to be able to look back after two decades of progress and consider which of Norman's design suggestions have become standard and which bad designs are still unhappily commonplace.One word of warning, though. I read one of Norman's later, follow-up books many years ago, in which he touches on some of the same basic ideas, and ever since I have been much less tolerant of the examples of bad design I encounter in my daily life. I'm also much more appreciative of the examples of good design, admittedly, but somehow there seem to be a lot fewer of those.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The first book I read when getting into more serious approach to studying usability. I thought it would be dry, but it's actually entertaining. After you read it you'll be looking ad everyday objects in a whole new light, most notably stoves and fancy doors. 'That's clever', 'Why'd they do it that way...stupid'. Helps you understand how people (that includes you) approach a problem, why they make mistakes with simple objects, and to maybe avoid problems in your product.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Browsing a good old bookshop can yield glorious finds, such as this understated little book that is in fact a treasure. The cognitive aspect of design is usually something one picks up during training or by experience; I don't know if it's articulated into a course anywhere, and books about it certainly are not a dime a dozen. What do I mean by "cognitive aspect of design"? It is when you design something that is intuitive to use, or at least easy to figure out without having to dig into a user manual. We've all had to deal with thoughtlessly designed things, from a door whose opening doesn't make sense to a website where you just can't find the contact page. Cognition is at the essence of design, whose first function is communication; aesthetics must layer themselves on that without contradicting it.Norman's book specifically discusses manufactured products, but the same notions apply to 2D design (one could say to life in general). Examples of bad and good design alike are studied, pointing out why they work or not, with users quoted for their reactions to them, a welcome insight. On the basis of each of these illustrations, a principle of cognitive design is then discussed. The 7 chapters are outlined as follows:1. The psychology of everyday things2. The psychology of everyday actions3. Knowledge in the head and in the world4. Knowing what to do5. To err is human6. The design challenge7. User-centered designMy own experience of this book was like a series of epiphanies. Although cognition was already a personal forte, I feel it has given me insights that improved all my communication-related work. The info doesn't need to be memorized or referred back to – once you understand it, it remains with you. Besides, it's a really fascinating and often fun read.I would buy this book in a heartbeat for anyone who creates things meant to be used, as well as anyone whose job includes conveying information clearly.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is a seminal work in user-centered design—-a must read for any designer. Norman uses many examples from everyday life to support his arguments. He points frequently to failures in design from all kinds of situations. Norman tends to repeat things and ramble at times, but the central tenet of this book is clear: the user’s needs are not the same as the designer’s. Covers concepts of affordances and mapping of user interface controls.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wow, while the examples are dated, VCRs and Voicemail, the ideas lay the foundation of all of the design stuff I've been hearing for the last five years. As with most "classics" that I've read in the last couple of years the ideas in then have been repeated in numerous ways in numerous books since, hence the "classics", so I don't think I got much new from it, but it was still an enjoyable read. And if anyone knows where I can get a copy of "Catalog of Unfindable Objects" let me know!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
My first book to design issues. Easy to read and easy to understand.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Design of Everything Things is a classic that holds up well after twenty years. Anyone who tries to build a device that human beings will use is well-advised to pay close attention to Norman's helpful case studies and taxonomies of design successes and failures. Even though all the lessons in here apply to computer interfaces, there is very little discussion of computer technology. Though this may seem to date the book, it actually ends up being an asset. Both because computer interfaces change so quickly and because Norman's observations are most effective when applied to objects like doors and dashboards that are so much a part of our daily existence we forget that they have human interfaces at all.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The second book to read to get into interaction design, right after "The inmates are running the asylum".After reading the book, one cannot help but see all the usability problems which surrounds us in everyday life.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A classic on design and usability. A must-read for anyone with the slightest interest in design.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A classic but the points are still as relevant today. Door handles!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Why is it not necessarily your fault when you cannot operate a light switch – analysis of fundamentals of design with everyday examples.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book is a great user experience primer -- it describes the basic principles of designing a good experience, and uses everyday examples to illustrate each point.Not only is the book crammed with information, though, it is easy to read, often humourous, and very accessible even if you have no prior knowledge of usability or technology.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Everyone who works in book publishing should have this book (or ebook if it is available!) as a reference point.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Loved the premise, the execution left me a little cold. There was much here that was interesting but then it would start turning into a text book. I'm sure that for an engineering student or a doorknob designer an analysis of the eight or nine distinct actions and decisions involved in opening a door are probably of use. For me, less so.

I still think its worth a read. I liked the really excellent argument that much of what is termed human error is in fact poor design. And that one sign of a well designed product is that you don't need a multi page instructional manual to figure out how to use it. There were lots of interesting things like those in here, I liked the idea that designers should plan for operator mistakes and wherever possible make them easily reversible. I liked the point that almost no truly new product or idea really works all that well on the first try because hey, its new nobody knows how yet! So if we want innovation, we have to give new ideas some room to fail a time or two.

There is a whole lot in this book that is really interesting, but it does suffer from a confusion of tone. Is it a textbook for engineers and designers or is it for a general audience? It teeters back and forth and never does really decide. But I guess if I want innovation, I have to give this book some room to be dull in spots.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

This classic work by Norman introduces readers to the principles of usability and explores how people interact with technology of various kinds. The book is very readable and engaging. Even for those who are not engaged in related fields of work, the book is a fascinating insight into what makes a good product.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This classic work by Norman introduces readers to the principles of usability and explores how people interact with technology of various kinds. The book is very readable and engaging. Even for those who are not engaged in related fields of work, the book is a fascinating insight into what makes a good product.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
good
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Absolute must read for anyone interested in design. Highly recommend!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Finally read the usability classic! I didn't take a lot of concrete lessons from this, but I've been up to my ears in usability texts for a while now, and some of this doesn't translate well to web design. Still, a great read and lives up to the hype.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is considered an essential book on industrial design. Norman claims that designers get hung up on making devices look pretty at the expense of having them be difficult to use. He argues that they should place more emphasis on designing artifacts which communicate to the user how it is that they should be used. Important reading for people on the user interface side of software development.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
We've all had bad experiences with technology, from pulling fruitlessly on a door that we're actually meant to push, to being late for work because we hit the wrong button on the clock radio and accidentally unset the alarm, to spending a frustrating half-hour trying to figure out how to get a word processing program to format our paragraphs the way we want them. When things like that happen, most of us tend to blame ourselves first: "My brain just isn't working today", "I'm so mechanically inept," "I'm not good with computers." But Donald Norman suggests that we should be blaming ourselves less and the designers of these everyday technologies more. Good design, according to Norman, means usability, and that means working with the strengths and weaknesses of human psychology. Well-designed technologies, from doorknobs to computers, should follow certain basic principles. They should operate in ways that make sense to users and not give false impressions about how they work. They should provide feedback to make it clear what they are doing and what effect the user's actions have had. They should be easy to use correctly and difficult to use in ways that don't work. They shouldn't require the user to memorize tons of arbitrary information in order to do simple things. And they should be forgiving of mistakes; accidentally hitting the wrong switch should not lead to nuclear meltdown.Norman expresses these principles in a clear and readable style that's as user-friendly as the designs he advocates. He seems to have aimed this primarily at designers and businesspeople, but the writing is completely accessible and free from jargon -- he carefully defines the few specialized terms that he uses -- and is as appropriate and relevant to consumers as it is to producers. The book was originally published in 1988 (under the title The Psychology of Everyday Things), so the examples he uses are pretty dated, but the basic concepts are as valid now as they have ever been. If anything, it adds an extra dimension to the book to be able to look back after two decades of progress and consider which of Norman's design suggestions have become standard and which bad designs are still unhappily commonplace.One word of warning, though. I read one of Norman's later, follow-up books many years ago, in which he touches on some of the same basic ideas, and ever since I have been much less tolerant of the examples of bad design I encounter in my daily life. I'm also much more appreciative of the examples of good design, admittedly, but somehow there seem to be a lot fewer of those.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The first book I read when getting into more serious approach to studying usability. I thought it would be dry, but it's actually entertaining. After you read it you'll be looking ad everyday objects in a whole new light, most notably stoves and fancy doors. 'That's clever', 'Why'd they do it that way...stupid'. Helps you understand how people (that includes you) approach a problem, why they make mistakes with simple objects, and to maybe avoid problems in your product.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Browsing a good old bookshop can yield glorious finds, such as this understated little book that is in fact a treasure. The cognitive aspect of design is usually something one picks up during training or by experience; I don't know if it's articulated into a course anywhere, and books about it certainly are not a dime a dozen. What do I mean by "cognitive aspect of design"? It is when you design something that is intuitive to use, or at least easy to figure out without having to dig into a user manual. We've all had to deal with thoughtlessly designed things, from a door whose opening doesn't make sense to a website where you just can't find the contact page. Cognition is at the essence of design, whose first function is communication; aesthetics must layer themselves on that without contradicting it.Norman's book specifically discusses manufactured products, but the same notions apply to 2D design (one could say to life in general). Examples of bad and good design alike are studied, pointing out why they work or not, with users quoted for their reactions to them, a welcome insight. On the basis of each of these illustrations, a principle of cognitive design is then discussed. The 7 chapters are outlined as follows:1. The psychology of everyday things2. The psychology of everyday actions3. Knowledge in the head and in the world4. Knowing what to do5. To err is human6. The design challenge7. User-centered designMy own experience of this book was like a series of epiphanies. Although cognition was already a personal forte, I feel it has given me insights that improved all my communication-related work. The info doesn't need to be memorized or referred back to – once you understand it, it remains with you. Besides, it's a really fascinating and often fun read.I would buy this book in a heartbeat for anyone who creates things meant to be used, as well as anyone whose job includes conveying information clearly.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This is a seminal work in user-centered design—-a must read for any designer. Norman uses many examples from everyday life to support his arguments. He points frequently to failures in design from all kinds of situations. Norman tends to repeat things and ramble at times, but the central tenet of this book is clear: the user’s needs are not the same as the designer’s. Covers concepts of affordances and mapping of user interface controls.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Wow, while the examples are dated, VCRs and Voicemail, the ideas lay the foundation of all of the design stuff I've been hearing for the last five years. As with most "classics" that I've read in the last couple of years the ideas in then have been repeated in numerous ways in numerous books since, hence the "classics", so I don't think I got much new from it, but it was still an enjoyable read. And if anyone knows where I can get a copy of "Catalog of Unfindable Objects" let me know!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
My first book to design issues. Easy to read and easy to understand.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Design of Everything Things is a classic that holds up well after twenty years. Anyone who tries to build a device that human beings will use is well-advised to pay close attention to Norman's helpful case studies and taxonomies of design successes and failures. Even though all the lessons in here apply to computer interfaces, there is very little discussion of computer technology. Though this may seem to date the book, it actually ends up being an asset. Both because computer interfaces change so quickly and because Norman's observations are most effective when applied to objects like doors and dashboards that are so much a part of our daily existence we forget that they have human interfaces at all.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The second book to read to get into interaction design, right after "The inmates are running the asylum".After reading the book, one cannot help but see all the usability problems which surrounds us in everyday life.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A classic on design and usability. A must-read for anyone with the slightest interest in design.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A classic but the points are still as relevant today. Door handles!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Why is it not necessarily your fault when you cannot operate a light switch – analysis of fundamentals of design with everyday examples.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This book is a great user experience primer -- it describes the basic principles of designing a good experience, and uses everyday examples to illustrate each point.Not only is the book crammed with information, though, it is easy to read, often humourous, and very accessible even if you have no prior knowledge of usability or technology.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Everyone who works in book publishing should have this book (or ebook if it is available!) as a reference point.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Loved the premise, the execution left me a little cold. There was much here that was interesting but then it would start turning into a text book. I'm sure that for an engineering student or a doorknob designer an analysis of the eight or nine distinct actions and decisions involved in opening a door are probably of use. For me, less so.

I still think its worth a read. I liked the really excellent argument that much of what is termed human error is in fact poor design. And that one sign of a well designed product is that you don't need a multi page instructional manual to figure out how to use it. There were lots of interesting things like those in here, I liked the idea that designers should plan for operator mistakes and wherever possible make them easily reversible. I liked the point that almost no truly new product or idea really works all that well on the first try because hey, its new nobody knows how yet! So if we want innovation, we have to give new ideas some room to fail a time or two.

There is a whole lot in this book that is really interesting, but it does suffer from a confusion of tone. Is it a textbook for engineers and designers or is it for a general audience? It teeters back and forth and never does really decide. But I guess if I want innovation, I have to give this book some room to be dull in spots.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Load more
scribd