Summary of The Design of Everyday Things
First Edition: 1987 more...
Copyright 1988, 2002 Donald A. Norman
Published by Basic Books, a subsidiary of Perseus Books, LLC
How to make products less confusing and more usable – it’s all in the design.
Dome-headed engineering professors call it “human factors engineering,” “interaction design” or “usability engineering,” but the purpose of this strangely-named discipline is far simpler than these appellations suggest: to make everyday items do what users expect them to do. Donald Norman has been thinking about usability issues longer than almost anyone and has insights commensurate with his experience. Norman knows how both people and machines work (he has degrees in psychology and engineering). More importantly, he knows how to bridge the gulf between the human mind and the devices the mind wants to use, from toasters to telephones to teapots. In this classic, he provides a few simple precepts and many wonderful examples showing how to design the most important component of any technology – the user’s experience. While some of Norman’s examples are a little long in the tooth (he discusses VCRs, not DVDs), getAbstract finds that the principles he describes in this friendly book are still sprightly almost 20 years after their initial publication.
In this summary, you will learn
- What “user-oriented” design is
- Why it matters
- How to design user-friendly products
About the Author
Donald A. Norman is co-founder of a consulting firm and professor of computer science at Northwestern University. He served as vice president of advanced technology for a major computer manufacturer.
Comment on this summary
By the same author
Donald A. Norman
Basic Books, 2005
Contained in Knowledge Pack:
Knowledge PackProduct DesignMaking coffee? Every detail of the mug, the bag holding the beans, the grinder and the percolator has been designed and engineered to be easy to use – and appealing to buy. Get the scoop on how that happened.
Customers who read this summary also read
F. A. Hayek
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Applewood Books, 1986