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Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things Paperback – Illustrated, May 11, 2005
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Herbert A. Simon
"An interesting exception to these problems comes when designers or engineers are building something for themselves that they will frequently use in their own everyday lives. Such products tend to excel. As a result, the best products today, from a behavioral point of view, are often those that come from the athletic, sports, and craft industries, because these products do get designed, purchased, and used by people who put behavior above everything else. Go to a good hardware store and examine the hand tools used by gardeners, woodworkers, and machinists. These tools, developed over centuries of use, are carefully designed to feel good, to be balanced, to give precise feedback, and to perform well. Go to a good outfitter’s shop and look at a mountain climber’s tools or at the tents and backpacks used by serious hikers and campers. Or go to a professional chef’s supply house and examine what real chefs buy and use in their kitchens."
Norman, Don (2007-03-20). Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things (p. 82). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.
"Engineers and other logical people tend to dismiss the visceral
response as irrelevant. Engineers are proud of the inherent quality of their work and dismayed when inferior products sell better “just because they look better.” But all of us make these kinds of judgments, even those very logical engineers. That’s why they love some of their tools and dislike others. Visceral responses matter."
Here are my key takeaways:
- There are two types of design approaches: enhancing an existing product, or innovating a totally new product. Predicting the next "killer app" is impossible, so product innovation by doing traditional analysis simply doesn't work. Enhancing existing product works by carefully observing users behavior, and identifying pain points. Asking users about pain points is a common mistake.
- Classification into visceral, behavioral, and reflective aspects.
- Classification into designer, user, and system image models of a product.
- Properties of product trust: reliance, confidence, and integrity.
- Gamification, enticement, novelty, owner's status, special experience.
- Examples of good and bad products: door keys, batteries, juice squeezer, car dashboard, teapots, bottled water
The book provoked me to contemplate purchases I've made in the past, and what prompted them: "want" or "need". Did they survive the passage of time? Did they became reflective?
I'm deducting one star because the book could be organized a little bit better, and be more concise. Few concepts are repeated several times across the text almost verbatim. Especially discussion of visceral, behavioral, and reflective.
First few chapters were interesting talking about design and emotion and how we perceive things.
But then it got sort of prolonged and not so interesting....And the reviews also reflect this point.
Hence, I would not recommend this book. I suggest just googling Don Norman and reading his stuff there instead of this book.
The book starts well and comes straight to the point of Norman's main theory: design perception happens on a visceral, behavioural and a reflective level. He then continues with his explanation of what that means for design. This is all pretty good stuff, and although it's quite theoretical, it's easy to see that there is a lot of clever thinking involved. This theory is the reason why I gave the book 3 stars and not 2 - students of design should be acquainted with this theory, and I'm a strong believer in students hearing theories from the horse's mouth. However, I would then continue to recommend reading it until examples and predictions of the future start, and then simply put the book down and tell everybody you've read the whole thing. Nobody will challenge you on that.
Top international reviews
Norman presents three levels of processing of our brains- the visceral, the behavioral and the reflective and how they all are interconnected and involved in our decisions and choices and in the way we perceive the world. The first five chapters of the book are very enjoyable to read and know, not just for designers, but also for anyone who is interested in knowing the way they function in life. The sixth and seventh chapter are somewhat different and feel slightly disconnected from the overall context of the book - why we love or hate everyday things. These chapters discuss whether or not machines and robots should have emotions or not. It feels that way because probably we aren't used to imagining machines or robots that have emotions on an everyday basis. It still seems to far out in the future.
The research is fantastic, the writing and structuring of the book is brilliant. Though I wish there were more photographs of things mentioned in the book. It is one of those books which I would be re-reading again and again because it pulls my design-heart-strings.
[I ordered a paperback 2005 edition of this book by Basic Books, the printing and binding were good, the pages slightly yellowed, and the corners bent while shipping (I assume).]
His previous book was a stellar and probably its wave would have resulted him in writing this one.
I would prefer reading seductive interactive design chapter 2 rather this book and Isaac Asimov books to gather his thoughts on robots taking this world.