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Donald Norman, a retired professor of cognitive science, is bothered to no end by the fact that grappling with unfriendly objects now takes up so many of our hours. Over the course of several books, of which The Psychology of Everyday Things was the first, he has railed against bad design. He scrutinizes a range of artifacts that are supposed to make our daily living a little easier, and he finds most of them wanting. Why, he asks, does a door need instructions that say "push" or "pull"? A well-designed object, he argues, is self-explanatory. But well-designed objects are increasingly rare, for the present culture places a higher value on aesthetics than utility, even with such items as cordless screwdrivers, dresser drawers, and kitchen cabinets. In their concern for creating "art," many designers don't seem to consider what people actually do with things. Such disregard, Norman suggests, leads to few objects being standardized: think of all the different kinds of unsynchronized clocks that lurk in microwave ovens, VCRs, coffee makers, and the like--and of all the different kinds of batteries needed to drive them. Why, he wonders, must we reset all those clocks whenever the power goes off? Some designer somewhere, he ventures, ought to develop a master clock that communicates with all other electric clocks in a home--one that, when reset, synchronizes its slave units.
You don't need to be especially interested in technological matters to enjoy Norman's arguments. The book's underlying question is aimed at a global audience: will the design of everyday things improve? If this entertaining and, yes, well-designed book changes even a few minds, perhaps it will. --Gregory McNamee
I ended up reading the other book and sending this one back, but I would recommend either.
The Psychology of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman is a book that gives an interesting treatment of usability and design of everything from doors to computers.
Essential reading for Designers, Programmers, Engineers, Architects and a lot more besides.
The book arrived with a crack in the corner and the cover is bended.
Book seems new, the damage is probably done during transport in a simple carton box.
It has always amazed me how many times I have seen people stumble over what should be very simple things. Causing delays and frustration and sometimes harm. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Bill
Once you've read this book, you'll never blame yourself for not figuring out how to use something again. Read morePublished 20 months ago by S. Mittal
An excellent book looking at usability and design. It's not hard to see why this book is a set text on many HCI and general Comp. Sci. courses worldwide. Read morePublished on July 21, 2011 by Lloyd Morgan
I forward the recommendation that was made to me once. A nice book for thinking design and practical concepts. Read morePublished on January 3, 2010 by Lionel
Dome-headed engineering professors call it "human factors engineering," "interaction design" or "usability engineering," but the purpose of this strangely-named discipline is far... Read morePublished on January 10, 2008 by Rolf Dobelli
This book is fantastic!!! It explains how the most basic things in the world work, and as a result is one of the fundamental building blocks to gaining a curiosity of everything... Read morePublished on April 7, 2007 by Mr. Nathaniel Singer
I was confused when I first ordered because this book appeared to be a different book from The DESIGN of Everyday Things, but they are, in fact, the same book, just different... Read morePublished on January 17, 2007 by Jared Vorkavich
If you are stymied when trying to set a $10 alarm clock, or find yourself pushing on doors clearly labeled "PULL" or you let your VCR player blink 12:00 because it defies your best... Read morePublished on October 5, 2004 by Jean E. Pouliot