Don Norman: Designing For People

Nielsen Norman Group

Interviews and videos

The UCSD Design Lab Philosophy on Health Care

27 December 2017

One summary of the UC San Diego Design Lab's philosophy on healthcare is "Don't Drop the Patient."What do we mean by "Dropping the patient"? The insight -- and the catchy phrase -- comes from Dr. Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, the physician who directs the Design Lab's Center for Health. Eli observed that many medical errors and difficulties in treatment result from lapses in the medical care: Basically, it means losing track of prior thoughts, analyses, and even testing results as the patient...

What Kind of a Designer Am I? (2 minute video)

27 December 2017

What kind of designer am I? After years of trying to explain what I do, I decided to name it: I'm a Cognitive Designer.Never heard of it? Of course not: I just made up that name.See this video for a two-minute explanationDonOn YouTube on the Nielsen Norman group website video....

Interview: Is Tesla Racing Recklessly Towards Driverless Cars?

23 April 2016

Chunka Mui wrote to say he was writing an article on autonomous cars and asked for my thoughts.  He published his article in Forbes , and before I knew it, I was suddenly front and center into the debate about Tesla and autonomy.Here is the article: here is my response to the (fortunately very few) complaints.  People really love their teslas and do not like any criticism.My reply is:Yes, I have experienced Tesla's autopilot (as well as the pre-release models from other OEMs)....

Design Doing (UX Podcast)

23 April 2016

A two part audio interview with Per Axbom and James Royal-Lawson of UX Podcast. Part 1 covers virtual and augmented reality, design thinking, radical innovations and "user experience."    (27 minutes)Part 2  talks about whether technology is making us dumber or smarter, living with complexity, as well as AI, agents and their role in the future of healthcare. I also ponder their "Heptascale challenge" questions.  (34 minutes)...

Vox Media on Norman Doors. 'Bad doors are everywhere'

27 February 2016

A video that is both instructional and fun. The article text concludes by saying "Don Norman's seminal book on design, The Design of Everyday Things, ... (p)ublished 25 years ago, it remains just as relevant today. Doors shouldn't need instructions. When most people complain about something, nothing happens. But Norman is not most people -- he's a psychologist and cognitive scientist. So his writing about his complaints is so incredibly thorough that he changed the way design works. And the "human-centered design" revolution he sparked changed not only how designers work, but also how people in fields like public health work to make the world a better place. This is why Melinda Gates believes human-centered design is one change that could save the world. To find out what all this has to do with crappy doors, watch the video."

Can HCD Help with Complex Sociotechnical Systems? (Video)

08 February 2016

My work today focuses upon design a complex sociotechnical systems, with an emphasis on healthcare. This hour video describes my thoughts as of 2015. My keynote address at the Relating Systems Thinking and Design conference in 2015 was on this topic. Here is the one-hour video.

Security and usablity go hand in hand

09 November 2015

Robert Lemos from TechBeacon has written an excellent article on the tradeoff between security and usability: Security and usability go hand in hand: 5 tips to get the development mix right. I'm obviously biased because he spent a lot of time discussing the issues with me (and used many of my comments in the article), but he also interviewed excellent developers who extended my comments and discussed the implementation issues in more detail.

Ready or not, the fully autonomous car is coming

18 October 2015

My Op-Ed piece for the San Diego Union-Tribune for September 26, 2015. ... Ready for cars with computers as driver? No? Good, because the computers aren't ready either. But have no doubt, they are coming. ... The tremendous saving of lives and injuries is strong support for the development of autonomous vehicles. However, the relentless automation of all that can be automated is not a good thing for society.

Apple's products are getting harder to use because they ignore principles of design.

10 August 2015

I was once proud to be at Apple, proud of Apple's reputation of advancing ease of use and understanding. Alas, these attributes are fast disappearing from their products in favor of pretty looks, or as designers call it "styling." A journalist has just reported my views. And Bruce Tognazzini and I are writing a detailed critique. This note gives highlights of the views and points to her interview with me..

Complessità vs confusione (Domus Academy Interview)

02 July 2015

I recently took part in the 10th Anniversary celebration of Maria Grazia Mattei's "Meet the Media Guru" program based in Milan, Italy (I was her guest in 2010).  As part of the celebration, I presented a talk in Milan and was interviewed by Stefania Garassini for an article in the magazine of the Domus Academy. (Milan's Domus Academy is one of the world's major design schools. The Domus Academy of San Diego is an offshoot of the one in Milan and my Design...

Fast Company article about the evils of email

20 June 2015

John Pavlus, a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics, interviewed me for an article he was writing for Fast Company. It is now published with the endearing title "How Email Became The Most Reviled Communication Experience Ever."

Design with humans in mind: Interview in APS Observer

01 June 2015

Mariko Hewer of the Association for Psychological Science interviewed me and wrote a nice discussion of the role that psychology should be playing in design. Too much of psychological research is abstract and over-specialized, that when it comes to answering what appear to be simple questions, the science does not provide answers. Do we need those abstractions? Yes, they are essential. Do we need fundamental research? Absolutely. But we also need studies of how to apply our findings in real, natural settings, outside of the laboratory, outside of artificial constraints. There are lots of interesting opportunities in the world of applications. Opportunities, jobs, and even research funding. I encourage psychologists to work with industry to help apply our knowledge. The world will be a better place as a result.

CNN video: Why emotion is an important part of design

19 May 2015

CNN filmed me talking about Emotional Design. Then they pieced together a 3 1/3 minute video of me wandering about, tugging at my beard, and uttering sound bites.

Inside My Design Mind (Autodesk interview)

08 April 2015

Heather Miller of AutoDesk interviewed me for AutoDesk's Line/Shape/Space magazine.She entitled the article "Inside My Design Mind: Don Norman, Human-Centered Design Leader," but I caution the reader that it got published on April 1, 2015, which is "April Fools' Day." Be wary of trusting anything published on April 1. ...

Turns Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles

14 December 2014

I am pleased to announce that Diversion Books has released my book of essays, Turn Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles, as an inexpensive eBook: US $4.99. Available in multiple formats, including Kindle, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google (MOBI and EPUB).

Things That Make Us Smart Available as eBook

14 December 2014

I am pleased to announce that Diversion Books has released Things That Make Us Smart as an inexpensive eBook: US $4.99. Available in multiple formats, including Kindle, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Google (MOBI and EPUB).

Palate Home Smart Grill

10 September 2014

I'm delighted to show a demo of our food start-up, Palate Home, to TechCrunch.

Verganti & Norman: Having a vision is not enough--it must be implemented

13 July 2014

Vision building is the most relevant and rare asset in our society. We do not live in a world where data and knowledge are missing. Indeed, it is just the opposite. The amount of information is overwhelming. What is rare is the capability to make sense of this enormous and complex picture, to go beyond the past and existing patterns and imagine what is not there. The new frontier is to explore the path to innovation by understanding the nature of vision building. For this purpose, we need new frameworks. We need to investigate the slippery intangible dimensions of thinking, the capability to unveil what is hidden into the mirror that reflects our role in the society.

CBC Radio Canada Spark Interview on Emotional Tech

07 June 2014

Innovations like facial recognition or biometric sensors promise a world of 'emotion-sensing tech' that knows how you feel. It can be used to respond to you more appropriately, but can it be used to improve your emotional intelligence? With interaction designer Jennifer Dunnam, user experience designer Don Norman, and human computer interaction expert Elizabeth Churchill.

The cult of the peacock (Brendan Vance)

18 January 2014

Brendan Vance, a game developer and blogger, has written a very nice critique of modern games that he calls "The cult of the peacock." But I do disagree with his complaint about the lack of manuals. Few people ever read manuals -- as is well illustrated in Vance's discussion about them. This is true whether it is a manual for an automobile, a new cooking device a TV set, a computer program or app, or a game. therefore, to me, the important point is to develop devices that are self-explaining, that do not require manuals. In the new edition of Design of Everyday Things I call this property "discoverable." I believe it is possible to design game controls and other features in ways that do not require manuals, especially for experienced game players. Attract screens (remember them?) can serve as tutorials without feeling like one. Similarly, there can be other features whose purpose is to demonstrate and teach but that are so cleverly done that they are not perceived as such.

UX Magazine Interview: Solving the Right Problem and Finding Your Own Solution

09 January 2014

An interview with Luke Swenson for UX Magazine. "One of the important skills a good designer brings to the table is figuring out what the real problem is. Most designers fall prey to this. The client says what they want, what they want to achieve, and then the designer comes up with a solution, but they never really ask whether or not that's the actual underlying problem. If you dig a little deeper for the fundamental problem, your research can lead to...

Interview: Understanding Good Product Design

09 November 2013

"In this interview, Don Norman explains the importance of designing for the right audience, the role of the generalist and the specialist. He also reveals what makes good product design and why you should ask the stupid questions." (Streaming audio or download.)

Streaming Audio Interview: Wearable tech (Australian

09 November 2013

An interview with Antony Funnell on Wearable Technology for ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corp.). Available as streaming audio or Download. (Includes interviews with: Sandy Pentland, Billie Whitehouse, me, Gesche Joost, and Ben Moir).

GigaOm Interview

26 September 2013

Rani Molla of Gigaom, the technology newsletter, recently interviewed me about the new edition of DOET, the MOOC I am doing for the book, the new food appliance startup (Palate Home), and other topics. She did a great job of finding photos -- I didn't provide them, gigaom got them.

Living with Complexity Selected for Georgia Tech Freshmen

12 July 2013

Georgia Tech's First-Year Reading Program selected Living with Complexity as the book that all incoming freshmen (about 2500), and many others, read and then discuss in various venues - see

Discussion with John Maeda of RISD: What Is Design

31 July 2012

John Maeda, now president of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) had a public, semi-moderated discussion with me at a PARC Forum. The video is now available. I wanted to talk about complex design: interaction design, design planning, etc. He wanted to talk about the beauty of fonts, of knives, and even of the office chair. I tried to say these were simple products that barely needed any understanding of human behavior and cognition -- I want to design the complex. He didn't understand my point. In fact, when I specifically asked him how to design a networking connection scheme that would work for everyday people his answer was a long ramble that never even started to address the issue. So we failed to connect. But many seemed to find the discussion of interest. Decide for yourself.

Book Review: Living with Complexity

01 July 2012

Gerd Waloszek of SAP User Experience has written a very nice, intelligent review of Living with Complexity. He neatly summarizes the major theme thusly: "Norman's book is entitled Living with Complexity for good reason: The author does not advocate substituting complexity with simplicity. (As we will see below, this would not also make sense to Norman, because he does regard simplicity and complexity as opposites of each other: The first is, according to him, a state of the mind, whereas the other is a state of the world.) Much like Shedroff, Norman points out that complexity is an essential ingredient of the world and, thus of our lives. Norman writes that technology reflects this complexity, which by itself is neither good nor bad: it is confusion that is bad: We will see order and reason in complexity (and in complex technology) when we understand the underlying principles. When complexity is random and arbitrary, we are confused and have reason to be annoyed." Read the full review. It is long and thoughtful.

The Future of Automobiles (An Interview)

16 May 2012

I was interviewed by Neil Briscoe for an article in Is the love affair about to end? "Are cars as we know them to become a thing of the past?" asks the article. Where is the room for "Driving passion"? The question, Briscoe points out, is whether we can continue to have single people driving around, each in a ton and a half of metal.

Video: Don Norman speaks out about engineering design education

22 April 2012

This is a short, 3 minute video, that captures the dilemma of modern education. Engineering education has become narrower and deeper. We teach and train specialties and specialists. Practical applications require tying together the knowledge of the many specialties. They require generalists, people who have broad, integrated understanding of the world. We need an educational system that rewards those who are broad and knowledgable as well as those who are deep and narrow, even if the broad knowledge comes at the expense of shallow depth. Being narrow is just as big a liability as being shallow. We need both kinds of people. Alas, the university hires, teaches, and trains only the deep and narrow.

(Updated). Microsoft's Rebirth: Windows 8 on Phone, Tablet, & PC

01 March 2012

This essay shows the continuing saga of opinions about Microsoft's new 8 series: Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Windows 8 on tablet and desktop. Summary: At first I was enthusiastic. Now I have more nuanced opinions. This has several updates to an earlier interview with me about Microsoft's Windows 8 And Mobile 8. Dave Needles of TabTimes published an interview with me in February, 2012. Now, on March 23, 2012 he has released a second column based upon that interview. In this note I update my earlier release and give the relevant background information. The main message is still the same: Microsoft is back. Windows 8 for the phone is brilliant. But they tried to extend its principles to tablets, laptops, and desktop machines (and larger -- for example, Surface), whether operated by gesture, mouse and keyboard, or stylus. Bad idea. They have done a powerful rethinking of interaction in the age of gestures, touch screens, and Kinect. But they have completely failed in their application to the desktop.

My Dream: The Rise of the Small

29 February 2012

Steelcase celebrated its 100th anniversary by asking 100 people to write essays about their dreams for the next 100 years. It is an impressive list of people and i am honored to be one of them. My essay, my dream is "the rise of the small." Here is the start: I dream of the power of individuals, whether alone or in small groups, to unleash their creative spirits, their imagination, and their talents to develop a wide range of innovation.

Conversation: Jon Kolko & Don Norman mediated by Richard Anderson

17 December 2011

Out with the Old, In with the New: A Conversation with Don Norman & Jon Kolko, mediated by Richard Anderson. The item contains photos, a transcript, and an embedded video of the event. Topics addressed included the nature of and the difference between art and design, whether design should be taught in art schools (such as AAU), Abraham Maslow, usability, what design (or all) education should be like, the problem with "design thinking" courses, the destiny of printed magazines and printed books, aging and ageism, the relationship between HCI and interaction design, Arduino, simplicity, social media, Google, privacy, design research, the context in which design occurs, the Austin Center for Design, solving wicked problems, whether designers make good entrepreneurs, politics, Herb Simon & cybernetics, the strengths & weaknesses of interconnected systems, and how designers should position themselves.

Safety Design In -- An Interview

03 May 2011

Jeremy Anwyl,CEO of, called me up to ask if I would like to be interviewed while reviewing the new SYNC control system for Ford Motor Company. summary: The modern car is far too complex, thus creating potential dangerous conditions. Instead of concentrating on the road, the driver controls the entertainment and comfort system: lots of controls, lots of menus, and screens that have to be watched to ensure the right item is selected.

Videos from Design of Everyday Things

16 February 2011

My videos have been resurrected!  Let me explain.One upon a time, many years ago -- 1994 to be precise -- The Voyager Company produced a delightful CD-ROM that included copies of several of my books ("Design of Everyday Things," "Things that Make Us Smart," and "Turn Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles."   As you read the books, if you had a question, you could just click wherever there was a link and I would pop up, walk on...

Want Magazine Interview (with video)

31 May 2010

Want magazine inteviewed me in my Palo Alto, California home. The very nice interview that resulted was posted on May 14, 2010 at

Design Research Conference "Interview with Don Norman"

14 April 2010

I'm giving the opening keynote address at  IIT's Institute of Design's Design Research Conference (Chicago, May 2010). The conference organizers interviewed me, which gave me a good chance to state my views on a number of contemporary issues in the design community.  I cover numerous topics, but include the one that is most controversial and is the theme of my keynote: design research is great when it comes to improving existing product categories but essentially useless when it comes to...

World's Most Influential Designers

26 February 2010

Business Week has developed a list of what they call the World's  27 Most Influential Designers. I'm honored to be on the list, but I am also  skeptical. Among other things, I am a design thinker, not a designer. I study, analyze, teach, and preach good design. I have worked with some of the world's best designers (some of whom are on the Business Week list), and I have indeed worked on numerous products. But not as a designer.Still, as...

Designing Waits That Work

29 July 2009

My MIT Sloan Management Review paper on waiting lines is finally out:Norman, D. A. (2009). Designing waits that work. MIT Sloan Management Review, 50(4), 23-28. The URL (above) only gives a short excerpt: you have to subscribe (or pay) to get the entire article. But if you write me, I'll send you a copy. Or you can simply look at the original version that spawned the paper: The Psychology of Waiting Lines. (The original is better in the amount of detail and...

Dwell Magazine has me judge bathroom faucets

15 April 2009

DWELL Magazine asked me to judge bathroom faucets. I got to read the literature on them and examine each one (and read the literature), but they were all on a table in front of me, but free standing -- neither mounted nor connected to anything.  So I had to pretend to use each one. Not the best way to judge faucets.  In addition, the faucet you might want to select depends heavily upon the context - the design genre of...

My TED talk

24 March 2009

TED is a fascinating conference. I've given two talks there over the years and serve on their advisory board. TED used to be a by-invitation conference only, but now it is open to anyone who can afford the rather outrageous registration fee.  Recently, TED has begun to make their talks available to anyone. I highly recommend exploring the site: there are some truly amazing, profound talks available: TED is at My talk from 2003 is on "Design and Emotion"  (based...

10 Great Tech Books (Design of Everyday Things)

20 August 2008

Steven Levy lists The Design of Everyday Things as one of the "10 Great Tech Books" in the IEEE Spectrum., July 2008. I get two titles in his short review: "Design Guru" and "world-class crank." Hmm, I'll chose the world-class title. The world has too many gurus, not enough cranks....

Innovation takes decades to be accepted

07 March 2008

Jane Black of the Washington Post did her homework well and wrote an engaging essay on new innovations in tableware. "A Knork in the road: On the cutting edge, new designs aim to change the way we eat, one bite at a time." Not only that, she let me have the last word.

Teaching Design to Business People

28 February 2008

Terry Winograd of Stanford's computer science department and wrote a very nice description of our new Design + Operations MMM program at the Kellogg School of Business and Northwestern Engineering. That article is available in Interactions, the magazine for Human Computer Interaction professionals. Jimmy Guterman, editorial director of O'Reilly's Radar group gave the article and our program a nice description and plug in his blog, with his item entitled Teaching design to businesspeople. Guterman concludes by saying this about our...

Spiegel online - Visionär Norman

28 February 2008

Viele Leute brauchen gar keinen Computer. An interview with Felix Knoke of Spiegel On-Line is now available (in German). Dateien-Wirrwarr, verwirrende Menüs, viel zu viele Fenster: Computer-Visionär Don Norman findet die Programme von heute unmenschlich und überkompliziert. Mit SPIEGEL ONLINE sprach er über die Zukunft des Computers - und dessen nahes Ende....

A deluge of interviews and recordings

17 February 2008

With each new book comes a deluge of interviews, articles, reviews, and recordings. The latest book, The Design of Future Things, is no exception. Here are the ones I enjoyed the most, from a New York Times article (accompanied by 2 NY Times blogs) to an audio interview with CORE77.

New York Times, November 11, 2007

18 November 2007

Machines have neither motives nor emotions ... Still, machines, appliances and even services have personality traits, if only because they were designed to be conscientious or not, friendly or curt, smooth or abrupt, condescending or understanding, recalcitrant or forgiving.

Time Magazine

18 November 2007

In the Thursday, November 8 2007 edition of Time Magazine, Barbara Kiviat writes: Life is supposed to get easier with new technology. Donald Norman wishes it were really so. Instead, he says, as devices evolve, people wind up befuddled and annoyed. The culprit: bad design, a longtime target of the Northwestern University professor.

World Usability Day (06) Interview

13 May 2007

Tal Shay interviewed me for World usability Day; The interview is available both as a transcript and as an audio podcast NOTE: Sadly the interview and transcript are no longer available....

The Secret of Apple Design

13 May 2007

Dan Turner has written a very informative article about Apple Computer's design process in Technology Review. He couldn’t get access to anyone now at Apple, so he interviewed a number of former Apple people. Yes, I'm in there as well. The article does an excellent job of showing that good process is useful, but a strong leader, with good taste , an excellent eye for detail, and the strength to lead a team to focused, cohesive design makes all the...

How To Talk To People

21 March 2007

Ambidextrous magazine, Stanford University's Journal of Design, has printed an excerpt from the last chapter of my not-yet published book, The Design of Future Things: How to talk to people. Nice of them. The full chapter is Afterward: The Machine's Point of View, available here as a PDF. (The excerpt is part of an ancient manuscript I uncovered, written some time in the 21st century, trying to teach machines patience in their interactions with people). Let me also recommend their...

Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University

21 March 2007

I'm pleased to announce the formation of the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern, where my co-director, Ed Colgate and I hope to create a new set of studies of engineering design: products, processes, and services. We have exciting plans for bringing together the resources of the Chicago area in design: architecture, products, graphics, education, and museums. We have two new graduate degree programs: one in Engineering Design and Innovation and the other, a joint MBA/Engineering degree, leading to an MBA...

Tango-A Web application with no back button

07 February 2007

Normally I don't comment upon on link to blogs that talk about me or my work, but this one was too much fun to ignore. One of my Nielsen Norman group clients is H& R Block. I recently helped them develop a new form of interaction for their income tax software, one that was so different than their standard approach that they decided to bring it out as its own separate brand: Tango. The Vice president who initiated the project...

Me, as Uber Geek, on 60 Minutes News Show

02 February 2007

Yet another title to add to my collection. I appeared on the American news show 60 Minutes where I was called the uber geek. Is that above or below a guru? An expert? An opinionated person?

Podcast on Emotional Design (with Lunar Design)

12 September 2006

A two-part podcast of my discussions with John Edson, President of Lunar Design, recorded at their Palo Alto, California design office. NOTE: Sadly a link the podcast with John Edson is no longer avaliable....

Microsoft Wants PC Package To Appeal to the Eye

12 September 2006

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...

Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science

10 June 2006

I am honored to be the 2006 recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science. Among the activities at the ceremonial week was a seminar and a very nice video that summarized my approach to design. These are now available on the Franklin Institute website. This note provides the URLs.

Smart Design - National Public Radio Interview

30 April 2006

While I was in Philadelphia, I appeared on Marty Moss-Coane's National Public Radio interview show, Radio Times. We had a delightful one-hour broadcast, starting off with watches and ending up, well, all over. Moss-Coane does her homework, so she asked intelligent, probing questions. we both had a lot of fun. The interview is available for streaming, for downloading, and also as a podcast (in mp3 format). From the WHYY website: Smart Design: Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 10:35:48 AM The art...

Industrial Design: Claims & Substance

24 December 2005

Bruce Nussbaum, of Business Week finally discovered my essay "Industrial Design: Claims without Substance,"  and discussed it in his blog on, charmingly entitled "Don Norman is my hero." I had complained that Industrial Designers, clever folks that they are, often designed wonderful things, but then they made completely unsubstantiated claims about them. I took Bruce to task, for he has been the major champion design at Business Week, and it is he who is responsible for the annual IDSA/Business Week awards for design,...

Digital Living Room

05 December 2005

December 5, 2005. Digital Living Room Summit, San Mateo, California. I'm was on the panel moderated by David Pogue of the New York Times, called “Plug and Pray,” about “the inability of different devices to connect shared content and often, simply work.” Within two hours, the first stories had hit the air. Amazing what the modern, fully wired, journalist can do. Red Herring said: “At one point, Mr. Norman, a skeptic who couldn’t name one recent product that he thought was...

Why are tech gizmos so hard to figure out?

02 November 2005

In the November 1, 2005 issue of USA Today, Ed Baig has a nice story on the confusion and difficulty of using so many of our technological devices. When he interviewed me for the story, I told him that this difficulty has been around for a long time. The earliest documented period of confusion is for the plow. By the year 1532, the plow had so many adjustable parts that learning to use it was very difficult. And the manual...

HFES Student Calendar Now Available for 2006

22 October 2005

The Student Chapter of HFES (Human Factors & Ergonomics Society) from the University of Central Florida are trying to raise money, so they have created a calendar for 2006 (I'm September). In their words: "This year our student chapter wanted to do something that would test our creativity, help us learn more about some of the major players in human factors, and allow us to do a fundraiser to provide the means for a student research award. What did we...

When Norman Meets Chinese

22 October 2005

An interview with Christina Li, Founder and Editor in Chief of the Chinese wesbite group uiGarden ("Weaving usability and cultures"). English version Chinese version... Interview (in Chinese)

10 September 2005

An interview with me is now available to my Chinese readers on Sina web. Alas, I can't tell you any more about it than that as it is in Chinese. The main page is, where I am in company with my friends David Kelley of IDEO and Patrick Whitney of Chicago's Institute of Design. The article about me is at

Beeps and other annoying sounds

06 August 2005

Don Fernandez of the San Diego Union wrote an entertaining — but very true — article about all those annoying beeps and blips our electronic equipment continually deliver to us. Annoying and confusing. Wayne Freedman of ABC Television, Channel 7, in San Francisco, did a lovely TV show on the topic of beeps, where I traced the origin to the whistling teapot, and showed how the mindless proliferation of devices that beep (stoves, timers, refrigerators, clocks, remote controls, ...) was...

The Twenty Most Important Tools

06 August 2005 is writing a 20-day series of articles on "the 20 tools which have had the biggest impact on human civilization." They asked me to be on their advisory board. "Writing," I proclaimed. "The invention of writing is probably the most important tool for human advancement, making it possible for each new generation to build upon the work of the previous, to transmit knowledge from person to person, across cultures and time." "Sorry," came back the response. "We decided early...

Emotional Design and Landscapes

06 August 2005

I am continualy amazed at the wide variety of places my work gets applied to. Here is a fascinating example from landscape design, taken from the "Daily on-line California," the on-line newspaper for the University of California, Berkeley. "Campus landscaping may be a major factor in a university's appeal, and UC Berkeley is one of the most landscape-conscious campuses in the country, according to Philip Waite, assistant professor of horticulture and landscape architecture at Washington State University ... According to...

De normen van Norman (MacFreak interview, in Dutch)

28 April 2005

Karina Meerman, one of the editors of the new Dutch magazine MacFreak interviewed me about my philosophy of design and my take on the "new" Apple Computer. Here is a pdf file of the interview....

Design and Emotion

28 January 2005

An interview with Javier Cañada and Marco van Hout for the Dutch magazine Product. The magazine is in Dutch, but the interview, Q & A with Don Norman, is in English....

eLearning Predictions: Learning Tutors

10 January 2005

You might enjoy reading the these predictions about the future of electronic learning: in the ACM Magazine, eLearn. After this was published, I received email from a reader who stated that my prediction had already come true. He explained how he used his PDA to learn Chinese, with a phrase book, audio flash cards, and "a Read-Write chinese character tutorial that includes animated characters, stroke order practice, and multiple testing modes to test all aspects of developing chinese character knowledge,...

I am NOT employed by Microsoft

24 October 2004

It's nice to be quoted, but not when the quote is out of context, or when I am described inaccurately. has posted an opinion piece about Apple, in which I am quoted accurately, but out of context. Worse, I am described as "an employee of rival Microsoft." Not at all: I am an employee/owner of the Nielsen Norman group (NN/g) and a (half-time) Professor at Northwestern University. I have lots of clients at NN/g. One of them is indeed...

"Turn Signals" Rediscovered: The Personal Teddy

17 October 2004

Years ago, I wrote a book of essays entitled "Turn Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles." Didn't sell well, so now it is out of print. But, hey, some people remembered it: "In 1992, the usability guru Don Norman wrote that every child should receive a personal teddy that would store all the experiences people ever had." said the Sydney Morning Herald. (You can find "The Teddy" -- and other chapters from the book in the books section of...

Mental models

23 September 2004

Avi Parush of Carelton University's (Canada) Human Oriented Technology Lab interviewed me about mental models. NOTE: Sadly the interview with Avi Parush is no longer available....

Emotional about design

10 September 2004

Article from The Guardian (UK): "Former Apple fellow and design guru Don Norman has been influential on and offline. He tells Jack Schofield why products should now start making us smile. ..." Note: Sadly, this interview with Jack Schofield is no longer available on the Guardian website - 3/6/2014...


10 September 2004

Psychology Today Magazine. " 'An uncooperative PC violates our expectations,' says psychologist and computer scientist Donald Norman, author of Emotional Design....

TechTV's "Screensaver"

10 September 2004

(March 30, 2004): My 9 minutes of fame. Alas, TechTV is out of business, so my 9 minutes didn't last 9 months. But I did preserve the video as a low-quality, but large (3.5MBytes) file. Media Player video of my defence of putting emotions into machines (machine emotions, I hasten to add, not human ones). Plus miscellaneous asides that neither the interviewer nor I could resist. (Video is pointed to in box on lower right of page labelled "Video Highlight."...

Wired Magazine review of "Emotional Design"

10 September 2004

(January, 2004). "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...

Harvard Business Review on "Emotional Design."

10 September 2004

(February, 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...

Don Norman on PowerPoint Usability

10 September 2004

(January 2004) Interview with Cliff Atkinson. If you've been keeping up with PowerPoint criticism in the news lately, you'll be interested to hear what usability expert Don Norman says in his provocative interview. Don's comments broaden the public debate about PowerPoint by introducing the more relevant issues of cross-media design and audience usability. (April 2005: see my essay "In Defense of PowerPoint," in the "Essays" section of this website.)...

Chicago SunTimes

10 September 2004

(January 5, 2004.) "Emotions run high for 'Knute Rockne of tech' " "He's a coach showing us new ways of playing the game. And Norman is changing the world of product design right here in Chicago without fanfare or celebrity." (Not the way I would have put it, but that's what the story says.)...

Scientific American article.

10 September 2004

(January, 2004) Describes my work and "Emotional Design. The emphasis is skewed toward the last two chapters -- emotion in machines, and hence, the article is entitled "Why machines should fear.". NOTE: Sadly a subscription is required to read old articles on the Scientific America website....

Emotion and Learning

10 September 2004

Article on the role of emotion in learning (the article is really about distance or electronic learning). In the ACM's eLearn journal....

Italy: Voglio un computer da amare

10 September 2004

Interview published 24 Oct. 2003 in L'Espresso (in Italian) with Arianna Dagnino, discussing my talk at the Institute for Interactive design, Ivrea and the (fascinating) research being done there. But while you are at it, you might enjoy browsing the Interactive design Institute's website. NOTE: Sadly, the files and website linked to in this article no longer seem to be avaliable....

New York Times article on the complexity of everyday life -- we have become full-time maintenance people.

10 September 2004

Katie Hafner decries the rise of everyday complexity in her New York Times article "There are times when I feel that I've worked the whole day and done no work," Dr. Norman said. "All I have done is maintained or fixed my computer equipment." Her article requires registration, and after a while, a fee. She interviewed me while I was writing the initial draft of my essay on the topic: The Complexity of Everyday Life...

New Scientist

10 September 2004

interview "Designed for Life."...

Interview in "The Feature"

10 September 2004

Ergonomics: A "cantankerous visionary" strives to put consumers first in a wireless world. May 24 2002. (The URL gets you to the home page: find the search box and search for "norman.")...

A robot revolution is coming your way

10 September 2004

By Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, 2 Feb 2002 I'm an advisor to Evolution Robotics. (Be sure to watch the video on the USA Today site)...

Everyday Design

10 September 2004

On NPR's Science Friday with Ira Flatow, 1 Feb 2002 Debate on Design with Michael Graves and Henry Petroski on the NPR Radio Show, "Science Friday" Link to streaming RealAudio...

The Art of Design

10 September 2004

On PBS's Tech Nation with Dr. Moira Gunn, 10 July 2001 I spar with Jakob Nielsen on PBS's "Tech Nation." Link to streaming RealAudio...


Keynote Addresses and Schedule

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

Examples of talks (Videos)
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 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.