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, argues this ingenious-even liberating-book, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. The problems range from ambiguous and hidden controls to arbitrary relationships between controls and functions, coupled with a lack of feedback or other assistance and unreasonable demands on memorization.
The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.
The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how–and why–some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.
- The overview of design principles described in the first half of the book are interesting. I certainly became more aware of the kinds of poor design choices outlined and certainly learned a few things that will be helpful in my communications and systems development role at work.
The explanations of the psychology behind product interaction are, to me, poorly organized and explained. Further, if you’ve read any psychology or behavioral economics before, there’s little to be learned here.
Finally, the writing itself is fairly poor. I read nonfiction almost exclusively, so I don’t think it’s the technical nature of the content; it’s just not very engaging. The personal anecdotes, as other reviews have noted, often feel forced and a little self-congratulatory. A better editor would have helped, too. There were quite a few instances of small annoyances such as using “less” where “fewer” was needed, or an overabundance of “as a result” towards the end.
- This book was assigned in a UX/UI college class, and I’m not done with it but I’ve read enough to know I hate it and honestly can’t believe my school treats this book like it’s the bible of design or something. I’m used to academic topis being studied with rigor, and this book is 95% one person sharing his opinion and experience (with a few mentions of studies) . In other words it’s just anecdotal. And it reads like a crotchety old man who complains about everything. Like, he can find the problem with every design, but doesn’t spend half as much time talking about good design.
To summarize, I find this book weak regarding the validity of it since it’s just one person’s opinion, it creates the experience of just listening to someone complains about everything, and doesn’t leave me feeling like I’m learning any useful design skills.
- A UX researcher’s or designer’s bible. If studying human factors engineering, human computer interaction, or any other related field; your professors, peers, and colleagues will reference this book and Don Norman. I keep this on my desk at work and continue to use it when explaining heuristics to clients, engineers or data scientists.
- So far, the content is informative and interesting. However, I would think a book about design would be well designed. The section headings on the left sided pages are so far to the right I have to crack the spine all the way open to read many of them. This is so annoying to me I don’t know if I can finish reading it. The small, grainy graphics are also dismaying. It’s difficult to have confidence in the author’s expertise when so little thought is put into the presentation.
- A pamphlet may be able to be reduced to a single-page flow chart. It’s a Norman book in the same way a terrible door is a Norman door. That assumes its purpose is to inform the reader in a succinct manner, and not generate money for the author who mentions his other works many times throughout. It’s exceptionally good at generating revenue; maybe I’m applying his solution to the wrong problem, the correct problem being ‘I need money for a boat.’
- Its a good book with great examples. It does shed some light on the troubles with design and shows problems from another perspective and it should be rightfully considered as one of the key books regarding design in general. However, It’s quite shallow and the author doesn’t go into much of a detail. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a literary critic or anything but as a European, the style is not a strong suit. People, who are used to the American style of literature are going to be fine, but sometimes there is too much repetition of ideas and a bit deeper analysis of the problem would be beneficial. To sum up. The contribution of the author in the field of proper and functional design is huge and the terminology used is crucial for understanding the key principles of design is paramount. But I would go into a bit more detail.
- This book is more of an INTRO or PRE-101 to user/human-centered design. Norman is really good at introducing concepts and painting it with examples. I only wish that this book picked our brains more. There could have been many times he could have displayed the information in fun, amusing, and even trivial ways. It felt like he was giving us the cheat-sheet without doing what great teachers do: use creative means to present the information. This book is a primer, so if you are expecting some sick UX skill-based tips and tricks, you are out of luck. The text is foundational information that helps create a thought-leading designer. In a classroom setting, using this book would be fantastic. It lends some great inspirational food-for-thought for the aspiring designer. There are many broad concepts, each with endless possibilities for lesson plans and teaching material.
- I am currently an engineering student so perhaps I am biased, but I think this is an excellent book. I would argue that the thought processes involved are extensible beyond engineering or what most people consider to be design. I would recommend this book to anyone thinking of studying engineering, anyone involved in design processes in industry, and as a gift for your cousin who is always complaining about how poorly the things around him are designed.
P.S. If you enjoy this book, I would recommend a podcast called 99% Invisible that is produced by Roman Mars.
- With all of the hype I’ve seen around this book, I had hoped it would be good. I love the idea of explaining product design using psychology and people centered design, but this book was just too boring to read. Far too dry.