Don Norman: Designing For People

Nielsen Norman Group
Design of Every day things (Revised) Complexity Future Things Emotional Design The invisible computer Things tha make us smart Turn Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles user centred system design Emotional Design Learning and memory Human Information Processing Memory and attention

The Design of Everyday Things, Revised and Expanded Edition

Norman, D. A. (2013). Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded. New York: Basic Books. London: MIT Press (UK edition)

What has changed from the earlier book? A lot. The preface explains why the book was revised and then, chapter by chapter, what has changed. Summary: The world has changed a lot in the 25 years since the book was written. I have learned a lot. So the science is unchanged (except for the addition of "signifiers," but the examples are completely new, as is the understanding of how these ideas get implemented. The last two chapters are completely new. For details read the preface. 

Chapters

      Preface (click to read)
  1. Psychopathology of Everyday Things
  2. The Psychology of Everyday Actions
  3. Knowledge in the Head and in the World
  4. Knowing What to Do: Constraints, Discoverability, and Feedback
  5. Human Error? No, Bad Design
  6. Design Thinking
  7. Design in the World of Business
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Expanded table of contents

Living with complexity

Published: May 2010

If only today's technology were simpler! It's the universal lament, but it's wrong. We don't want simplicity. Simple tools are not up to the task. The world is complex; our tools need to match that complexity. Simplicity turns out to be more complex than we thought. In this provocative and informative book, Don Norman writes that the complexity of our technology must mirror the complexity and richness of our lives. It's not complexity that's the problem, it's bad design. Bad design complicates things unnecessarily and confuses us. Good design can tame complexity.Norman gives us a crash course in the virtues of complexity. But even such simple things as salt and pepper shakers, doors, and light switches become complicated when we have to deal with many of them, each somewhat different. Managing complexity, says Norman, is a partnership. Designers have to produce things that tame complexity. But we too have to do our part: we have to take the time to learn the structure and practice the skills. This is how we mastered reading and writing, driving a car, and playing sports, and this is how we can master our complex tools. Complexity is good. Simplicity is misleading. The good life is complex, rich, and rewarding--but only if it is understandable, sensible, and meaningful.

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Reviews

"As the world grows beyond the understanding of any one Renaissance man or woman, Donald Norman's missive is well timed." - Core77.com

"Deep and enjoyably nail-hitting insights and recommendations fill his book. ... you will like Norman's calm voice, keen observations and sage counsel about what could be done. Read his book." - The Times Higher Education review

Sample chapters and miscellany

The Design of Future Things

Published: 2007

In The Design of Future Things, best-selling author Donald A. Norman presents a revealing examination of smart technology, from smooth-talking GPS units to cantankerous refrigerators. Exploring the links between design and human psychology, he offers a consumer-oriented theory of natural human-machine interaction that can be put into practice by the engineers and industrial designers of tomorrow's thinking machines. A fascinating look at the perils and promise of the intelligent objects of the future, The Design of Future Things is a must-read for anyone interested in the dawn of a new era in technology.

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Sample chapters and miscellany

Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things

Published: 2004

Did you ever wonder why cheap wine tastes better in fancy glasses? Why sales of Macintosh computers soared when Apple introduced the colorful iMac? New research on emotion and cognition has shown that attractive things really do work better, as Donald Norman amply demonstrates in this fascinating book, which has garnered acclaim everywhere from Scientific American to The New Yorker.Emotional Design articulates the profound influence of the feelings that objects evoke, from our willingness to spend thousands of dollars on Gucci bags and Rolex watches, to the impact of emotion on the everyday objects of tomorrow.Norman draws on a wealth of examples and the latest scientific insights to present a bold exploration of the objects in our everyday world. Emotional Design will appeal not only to designers and manufacturers but also to managers, psychologists, and general readers who love to think about their stuff.

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Reviews

The book pops with fresh paradigms, applying scientific rigor to our romance with the inanimate. You'll never see housewares the same way again. - Wired Magazine. (January, 2004)

The major challenge ... Norman explains in this well-illustrated survey of the emotional drivers in product design, is that customers' responses vary so greatly. Product designers need to tailor their work carefully in order to push the right buttons with the right consumers. - Harvard Business Review (February, 2004)


Sample chapters and miscellany

The invisible computer

Published 1998

Technologies have a life cycle, says Donald Norman, and companies and their products must change as they pass from youth to maturity. Alas, the computer industry thinks it is still in its rebellious teenage years, exulting in technical complexity. Customers want change. They are ready for products that offer convenience, ease of use, and pleasure. The technology should be invisible, hidden from sight.

In this book, Norman shows why the computer is so difficult to use and why this complexity is fundamental to its nature. The only answer, says Norman, is to start over again, to develop information appliances that fit people's needs and lives. To do this companies must change the way they develop products. They need to start with an understanding of people: user needs first, technology last--the opposite of how things are done now. Companies need a human-centered development process, even if it means reorganizing the entire company. This book shows how.

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Reviews

"Don Norman's dramatic transformation from design critic to digital designer has made his observations in The Invisible Computer even more insightful and inciteful." -Michael Schrage, Research Associate, MIT Media Lab, and author of Getting Real

Sample chapters and miscellany

Things That Make us Smart: Defending Human Attributes in the Age of the Machine

Published 1994

In Things That Make Us Smart, Donald A. Norman explores the complex interaction between human thought and the technology it creates, arguing for the development of machines that fit our minds, rather than minds that must conform to the machine. Humans have always worked with objects to extend our cognitive powers, from counting on our fingers to designing massive supercomputers. But advanced technology does more than merely assist with thought and memorythe machines we create begin to shape how we think and, at times, even what we value. Norman, in exploring this complex relationship between humans and machines, gives us the first steps towards demanding a person-centered redesign of the machines that surround our lives.

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Sample chapters and miscellany

Turn Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles

Published 1992

From water faucets and airplane cockpits to the concept of "real time" and the future of memory, this wide-ranging tour through technology provides a new understanding of how the gadgets that surround us affect our lives. Donald Norman explores the plight of humans living in a world ruled by a technology that seems to exist for its own sake, oblivious to the needs of the people who create it. "Turn Signals "is an intelligent, whimsical, curmudgeonly look at our love/hate relationship with machines, as well as a persuasive call for the humanization of modern design.

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Sample chapters and miscellany

The Design of Everyday Things

Published 1986 (re-issued 2002). 2013 revised edition.

The Design of Everyday Things (DOET) was first published in 1988. The book is about how people interact with technology. The principles of interaction are mostly unchanged -- they still apply today.  But the technology is very different. Time to revise. Hence DOET2.

I did a thorough revision. I updated all the examples, provided new photographs and drawings, and did a better job of explaining many of the concepts. In 25 years I have learned a lot, as has the field of design. I incorporate the principles of emotional design into DOET2. The last two chapters are new, explaining the problems of design in the practical world of business, competition, and the need for the company to be profitable. The design team has multiple constraints and challenges, a major one being what I call "Norman's law." The day the product team is established, it is behind schedule and over its budget.

The revised and expanded paperback will be available November 5.

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Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault lies in product design that ignore the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. A bestseller in the United States, this bible on the cognitive aspects of design contains examples of both good and bad design and simple rules that designers can use to improve the usability of objects as diverse as cars, computers, doors, and telephones.

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Sample chapters and miscellany

User Centered System Design: New Perspectives on Human-computer Interaction

Published 1986

This comprehensive volume is the product of an intensive collaborative effort among researchers across the United States, Europe and Japan. The result -- a change in the way we think of humans and computers.

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Review

... a significant milestone in the maturation of the field ... [it] represents a plateau from which we can view the extraordinary distances we have traveled in the past few years and from which we can begin to map our progress for the future.--SIGCHI Bulletin

Learning and Memory

Published 1982

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Translations available

  • Japanese
  • Spanish
  • Russian
  • Chinese

Perspectives on Cognitive Science

Published 1981

Published jointly by Ablex and Erlbaum. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Translations

  • Japanese

Explorations in Cognition

Published 1975

San Francisco: Freeman Norman, D. A., Rumelhart, D. E., & the LNR Research Group

Translations

  • Japanese

Human Information Processing

Published 1972 (Republished1977)

New York: Academic Press P. H. Lindsay & D. A. Norman

Translations available (1972 edition)

  • Russian
  • Spanish

Translations available (1977 edition)

  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Polish
  • Spanish
  • Chinese

Models of Human Memory

Published 1970

New York: Academic Press. Don Norman, editor

Memory and attention: An Introduction to Human Information Processing

Published 1969 (Repubished 1976)

New York: Wiley

Translations (1969 edition)

  • Danish
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish

Translations available (1976 edition)

  • Italian
  • Japanese

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