Don Norman: Designing For People

Nielsen Norman Group

Writing To Me

Guidelines For Writing To Me

I try to respond personally to all my mail, but this depends upon my workload, which varies between high and unreasonably high. I answer many correspondents each week, most frequently from students. I spend a lot of time at this. But please avoid asking me these things:

  1. Don't write asking me to solve your job problem or write your research paper. 
  2. If you have specific questions about jobs or schools, I will try to answer them, but I must have specific questions, not vague, general ones. Start by reading my essay "How to find a job or graduate school."
  3. Don't ask me about websites--that's for Jakob Nielsen.
  4. Do not send me a questionnaire: I will not answer them: they seldom get at the important issues so they waste everyone's time.
  5. Don't ask the obvious. To answer student questions, I often do simple web searches, entering a few terms into a search engine, then emailing back the result. When I do this, I try to explain what I have done so that the students learn how to do it themselves the next time. But when senior people ask me those same sort of questions, ones for which they could have answered by themselves with a little bit of work, I tend to get annoyed, cranky, and rather irritable. Please, don't make me be rude to you.
  6. Don't ask the impossible. I sometimes get questions that are unanswerable. They are not quite in the same league as questions about the meaning of life, or how to reach world peace, but at times they feel the same to me. My rule is simple, if the question can't be answered in a paragraph, please don't ask it. I already spend roughly 3 hours a day on email, every day of the year: weekends, holidays, .. every day. Please be considerate.
  7. Don't ask for free consulting. This is how I make my living, serving on boards to help companies with their product, marketing, and managerial strategies. If you would like to hire me, see contact information for consulting and other activities.
But please do write.

I enjoy the questions and examples. I learn a lot  from them, and I usually learn even more when I answer questions, so the time is worthwhile for all concerned. Just don't abuse the privilege. 

contact me at don at

Keynote Addresses and Schedule

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

Faculty Positions in Design at UC San Diego
The Design Lab at UC San Diego, in collaboration with multiple departments in the Jacobs School of Engineering, Social Sciences, and Health Sciences, seeks candidates for Assistant or early Associate Professor faculty positions.  Candidates must demonstrate excellent research credentials and will be expected to establish a vigorous program of high-quality design research. Note that two positions are available.

 Nine departments are interested, 5 from Engineering, 3 from Social Sciences, and 1 from Health Science. Candidates must indicate the department(s) for which they have the requisite experience and skills in addition to ...   More ... 

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


I am declining most travel requests not directly related to the establishment of the Design Lab at U.C. San Diego. Trips, where I have zero spare time, are not listed.
  • October 9. University of Florence: "Living with robots,"
  • October 11: University of Bologna Business school: "21st Century human-centered design: Design-Driven Transformation of Industry"
  • October 9-13. Tuscany and Emilia Romagna (a few talks here and there)
  • October 16. Universit√† Di Catania. "Useful and threatening aspects of artificial intelligence in everyday life"
  • October 17-18. Sicily.
  • October 26-27, 2017. Design Forward 2017 at San Diego Liberty Station
  • October 30 - November 3, 2017. International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR). University of Cincinnati, Ohio. (Opening keynoteGiving talks, attending, ...)
  • November 8-9: University of Kentucky (UK): Research project with UK, NCI, FCC, UCSD, Amgen; Healthcare in underserved areas of the country (Appalachia -- Eastern Kentucky).
  • November 13-17. Design groups at MIT and Harvard. (Cambridge, MA).
  • January 9-12, 2018. CES, Las Vegas.