Don Norman: Designing For People

Nielsen Norman Group

About Don Norman

I live several lives: 

  • University Profesor
  • Company advisor and board member; 
  • Keynote speaker;
  • Author of books and columns. 
I am Director of the newly established (2014) Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego. See designlab.ucsd.edu.  I'm also co-founder of the Nielsen Norman group and an honorary Professor at Tongji University (Shanghai) in their College of Design and Innovation. And I serve on the boards and as advisor to companies and organizations.

My formal education is in Electrical Engineering and Psychology. I've served as a faculty member at Harvard, University of California, San Diego, Northwestern, and KAIST (South Korea). I've also worked in industry as a VP at Apple and an executive at HP and a startup). Today my emphasis is on helping technology companies structure their product lines and business. My major emphasis is design strategy: how designers and design thinking can help drive both incremental and radical innovation within the company. 

I've retired twice, once from the University of California, San Diego (where I was founder and chair of the department of Cognitive Science) and once from Northwestern University, where i was a professor of Computer Science and Design, co-directing the MMM dual degree program between the School of Engineering and the Kellogg School of Management, a program that gave students both an MBA and engineering degree, with the focus on design and operation. And, as the opening sentence of this biography suggests, I'm back at UC San Diego.

I am co-founder and principal of the User Experience/Usability consulting firm, the Nielsen Norman group, which is the home for my consulting and keynote talks. I'm an IDEO fellow and  a member of the Board of Trustees of IIT's Institute of Design in Chicago. My latest books are "Living with Complexity" and "The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded."

Biography
Biographical sketches  (a Microsoft Word file)
Academic Résumé  (a PDF file)

Contact Information
See the "Consulting and Talks" tab. 

Reporting Problems With This Site:
Report problems to webmaster@jnd.org

Photographs suitable for publication
Photographs suitable for publication. Permission for use is hereby granted.

Family Websites
Mike Norman's Motorcycle blog: G-Force Engine development
Cyndi Norman Norwitz's Immune website

About Nielsen Norman Group

Principals Big

Jakob Nielsen and I formed the Nielsen Norman group in 1998 to help companies create better products, services, and websites. Bruce Tognazzini (Tog) joined us a bit later: in the photo, the three of us are lined up in this order: Tognazzini, Norman, and Nielsen.

We are user advocates. We help companies move toward human-centered products and internet interaction, the better to play a major role in the new world of customer-centered goods and services.

Jakob works on websites and other internet products and applications. I am most interested in consumer products. Most of my consulting is at the executive level, for the biggest problem with the development of services and products has to do with company organization and culture. Invariably I start off assessing the technologies and end up recommending administrative and organizational change. My experience ranges from household goods to human error and safety -- I have worked on nuclear power plant control rooms, aviation, and hospital systems. I bring to bear considerable practical experience as a VP at Apple, and executive at HP, and experience at startups ranging from executive, to advisor, to board of directors. And to the experience a theoretical grounding in cognitive science, computer science, and design, as well as multiple years co-directing a dual-degree MBA program at Northwestern University (students got a Kellogg MBA plus an engineering degree: I was the director from the school of engineering, teaching design thinking to the MBAs).

The Nielsen Norman group shares a common goal: by focusing upon people, we create products and services that enhance customer satisfaction, that maintain relationships, and increase sales.

Success in human-centered design requires giving equal weight to user experience, marketing and technology: The result is increased customer satisfaction, coupled with lower costs and rapid time to market. The major barriers to success are not technological: they are social, political, and organizational.

About this site

Kara Pernice of the Nielsen Norman group assisted in the site design. Coded for Movable Type by Matthew Goddard (matt@matthewgoddard.net), who also maintains the site. He can be reached at webmaster@jnd.org.

If you encounter site difficulties, send email to webmaster@jnd.org.

What does jnd.org mean?

In the field of psychophysics, that branch of experimental psychology that studies sensation and perception, a jnd is the amount that something must be changed for the difference to be noticeable, defined to mean that the change is detectable half the time. My goal is to make a noticeable difference -- many jnds worth -- in human-centered technology.

I started my career as an experimental/mathematical psychologist in psychophysics, and my love of the exquisite sensitivity and dynamic range of hearing and seeing, as well as the power of human perception has stayed with me.

For the definition of jnd as used in psychophysics, see the Wikipedia definition.

Keynote Addresses and Schedule

Don Norman
Contact information, bios, press photos, ...

WHY DOES You Tube Restrict me from viewing my own Videos?

Speak of bad design. Half the videos i try to watch -- recommended to me by reliable sources (you know, Wired Magazine, Vox (a video of me!), can't be watched. "This video is restricted. Try signing in with Google App."  I am signed in with google app. I called the Google Help desk. "Gee, we don't know," they said helpfully.

Maybe this announcement will get read. Hey Larry! Hey Sergey!  Help me.

(Time to start my gallery of "Design Frustrations.")

Examples of talks
Design of Everyday Things, Revised and Expanded Edition (DOET2), paperback and eBook.

Fundamentals (Chapters 1 and 2)  -- now available
This course has design exercises by Kristian Simsarian, IDEO Fellow and head of interaction design at CCA. Reflective thinking exercises implemented by Chelsey Glasson

See these excerpts

Schedule

I am declining most travel requests not directly related to establishment of the Design Lab at U.C. San Diego. Trips where I have zero spare time are not listed.
  • Sep. 25-30, 2016 Southern Italy
  • Sep 30-Oct. 2, 2016 Florence, Italy
  • Oct. 3-5, 2016. University of the Republic of San Marino. (Talk on "The Future of Design"
  • Oct. 6-8. Florence and Villa La Quiete, Florence. (Talk on Cognitive Continuity of Healthcare)
  • Oct. 12-14. Nissan Research Center, Silicon Valley.
  • Oct. 19-22. Human-System Integration in Oncology. National Cancer Institute, Bethesda. (By invitation from NCI only).
  • Nov. 1. UC San Diego Extension, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (Design of Everyday Things)
  • April 11, 2017. Town & Gown talk. San Diego
  • April 12-14, 2017. European Academy of Design, Design for Next Conference. Rome. (On Scientific Advisory Committee)

Don Norman's publications and citation list

Google scholar's citation page for Norman

For books, see "Books" on this website.

For all publications, see Academic Résumé