Don Norman: Designing For People

Nielsen Norman Group

Microsoft Wants PC Package To Appeal to the Eye

Quotations from Ben Romano's article in the Seattle Times (Sep. 11, 2006) on computer hardware design.

Apple Computer has shown that if you control the software and you control the hardware, you can make the two fit harmoniously into a beautiful, elegant package," said Don Norman, a former Apple executive who now consults with Microsoft and wrote the 2004 book "Emotional Design: Why We Love (or hate) Everyday Things."

Design expert Norman considers the sleek, modern approach PC makers have taken to be wrong-headed. Even Apple's products and new flat-screen televisions miss the point.

"It's magnificent. It's beautiful. It belongs in a museum. And that's just the problem," Norman said.

"If I put it in my house, it clashes. It stands out. It doesn't fit."

Norman thinks computers have transitioned from "high technology" to essential components of everyday life. "And therefore they should be furniture," he said.

"When the computer is in the study or in the office, nobody really cared," said Norman. "When it's in the living room or family room, it really matters."

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