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The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition Paperback – November 5, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


“Even classics can be updated and improved… Highly recommended.”

“This book changed the field of design. As the pace of technological change accelerates, the principles in this book are increasingly important. The new examples and ideas about design and product development make it essential reading.”—Patrick Whitney, Dean, Institute of Design, and Steelcase/Robert C. Pew Professor of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology

“Twenty-five years ago The Design of Everyday Things was instrumental in orienting my approach to design. With this latest revised and expanded edition, Don Norman has given me a host of new ideas to explore as well as reminding me of the fundamental principles of great and meaningful design. Part operating manual for designers and part manifesto on the power of designing for people, The Design of Everyday Things is even more relevant today than it was when first published.”—Tim Brown, CEO, IDEO, and author of Change by Design

“Norman enlightened me when I was a student of psychology decades ago and he continues to inspire me as a professor of design. His new book underpins all essential aspects of interaction design, the mother of human creation. It equips designers to make the world a safer, more pleasant and more exciting place. The cumulated insights and wisdom of the cross-disciplinary genius Donald Norman are a must for designers and a joy for those who are interested in artifacts and people.”—Cees de Bont, Dean, School of Design, and Chair Professor of Industrial Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

About the Author

Donald A. Norman is co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, an executive consulting firm that helps companies produce human-centered products and services. He is Breed Professor of Design Emeritus at Northwestern University and Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego, where he was founding chair of the Department of Cognitive Science and chair of the Department of Psychology. He has served as Vice President of Apple Computer's Advanced Technology Group, and his many books include Emotional Design, The Design of Future Things, and most recently, Living with Complexity.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Revised Edition edition (November 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465050654
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465050659
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Don Norman is a voyeur, always watching, always on the lookout for some common-day occurrence that everyone else takes for granted but that when examined, yields insight into the human condition. (If you are rushing to catch a train, how do you know if you got to the station on time? Empty platform? You probably are too late. People milling about, looking at their watches,peering down the tracks? Probably OK. Who needs technology when people are so informative, even if as an accidental byproduct of their activities.

Business Week has named him one of "the world's most influential designers," the influence from his books, essasys, courses and students, lectures, and consulting.

He takes special delight in the interaction of people and technology. "Develop the skill of observation," he councils: especially pay attention to the obvious. "Question the obvious and you will dis cover many hidden insights. What seems to be obvious often is not."

He is a fellow of many organizations and former lots of things, including VP at Apple Computer and even President of a startup. He has honorary degrees from the University of Padua (Italy) and the Technical University Delft (the Netherlands). He was awarded the Benjamin Franklin medal in Computer and Cognitive Science and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is known for his books "The Design of Everyday Things," "Emotional Design," and "The Design of Future Things," but he is most proud of his students, now all over the world, who put into practice his human-centered design philosophy. his latest book is "Living with Complexity," which argues that complexity is necessary: Our tools must match our tasks. When people cry out for simplicity, they are wrong -- people want understanding. That is not the same as simplicity -- simple thing are often the most confusing.

He is currently revising "Design of Everyday Things" to keep the message the same but update the examples. Expected publication date is August 2013.

He lives at, where you can find chapters from his books and loads of essays.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Smiling Buddha on October 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finally I got a chance to read this amazing book. Don Norman treats design very methodically and shows that good design is not a black box but something even more analytical people can understand and apply.
There are many important lessons but I found the concepts of discoverability, affordance, signifiers, feedbacks, mappings and constraints a simple, yet a powerful model to understand design.
I am not a designer by a far stretch but I can now appreciate good vs bad design with a deeper understanding of the designer's intent in building something. Even of design is not your field, you will greatly benefit from the book and you will realize that design is not just a touchy feely topic.

Although, I would have to say that for a design book, the images are not printed very well (in the paper back edition). And the during introducing the core concepts, in the first chapter, the author forgot to include 'constraints'. Also the order of these terms keep changing though out the book. This does not align well with the mapping concept the author so strongly professes.

However, now that this edition is out, don't get the previous version, since this one has far more relevant examples including hand held devices. As an additional resource, there is also a design course on udacity offered by Don Norman.
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78 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Arthur on June 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
The good:

All three stars I'm giving this are for the content. Norman's insights and principles are worthwhile and very useful. I don't agree with all of them, but most of them seem sound and the ones that don't still bring up good points to discuss.

The bad:

I wish an editor could convince him to cut this book in half. It's obvious that Norman is a academic and has been for a long time. He has that thing, that ivory tower myopia that comes off as pompous and self congratulatory. I had a really hard time wading through his never ending stories in the service of simple points. GET TO THE POINT, MAN. He also uses psychological terms that are terrible to try and parse (associative activation error? Are you kidding me? How about we call that the "ring ring, come in" error, so maybe people can remember it.) It's surprising that a book about design is so poorly designed on so many levels. Part of that is because this edition is an Amazon print on demand, and the layout sucks. Good lessons in here about how NOT to layout text. Part of it is also up to Norman, though. He likes using italics, I think as asides or illustrations of a point, but it's not consistent, and really just why, man? Why do that? Accept the cultural constraints of typography.


My advice is to read the last chapter, which is a nice succinct roundup of all the main points. If you want more information on any topic, look back through the book.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Brian Wilkerson on March 15, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some good information here, but the author suffers from an overabundance of 'completeness' in explanation. The author is clearly an authority on the topic of human interaction and design, and can go on endlessly about common mistakes made by designers. But you may find yourself skimming through much of the information as you find many pages are taken to make fairly simple or obvious points.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Gerber on September 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
For a book on usability, I was stunned by how poorly the core concepts are expressed. The author has clearly done research, and knows what he's talking about, but is so busy with meandering stories that it is hard to pull out the important information. I'm actually enjoying, "The Inmates Are Running The Asylum," much more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sarah in CA on April 6, 2014
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If you have ever read the original, then you will love the new one too. I recommend this book to all my university engineering students. Great examples today's college student can relate to.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ryan on January 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
For those that expect people to distill design principles into short bullet points, they are missing the point. Great design is about being exhaustive in the multitude of ways every day people will use, abuse, and misuse objects.
What the author does fantastically well is provide a broad range of 'models' for thinking about a user and how they might think. Another thing the author does well is show you why good design really matters, and is different from the 'artistic' design that wins awards. Finally, he gives you very practical advice on how to use models, constraints, affordances, and other tools to design a better product. All of this in a package that is entertaining, even if some of the examples appear stretched and outdated.
Other books, like 4 steps to the epiphany and running lean, have taken these principles to their logical extension: go out and get in front of users if you want to design. Similarly, IDEO and other design consultancies have taken this advice to heart. So while there are ways to 'hack' your way through the design principles you get in the book, from an understanding perspective the book really forces you to spend some time considering the challenges of design.
This fact, I believe, is one of its greatest virtues. Most likely, if you've spent some time creating something, you will not walk away with your mind blow. Conversely, if you haven't, there will be a lot of 'aha' moments. Nonetheless for both groups I hope I've explained there's a lot to like here.

If design is of interest, this is a great starting point.
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