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.
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
8 months agoI am new to getabstract, and was interested to read a summary of a book I had already read. This summary is very well-written, highlighting important concepts, and even capturing the flavor of Don Norman's engaging writing style. But unfortunately, this is a summary of the 2002 edition of this book, which was written when user experience design was in its infancy, and has many examples of outdated technology. While this edition is still a valuable and important work, Norman released a revised and expanded edition in 2013, which is widely available, and is basically required reading today for anyone interested in UX/UI, product design or design thinking. Not only are technological examples updated, but he has rewritten the book with an eye on the future and refined many of his concepts with that in mind. Please consider adding the 2013 edition to your library at getabstract.
8 months agoThank you for advising us that a newer edition was published. Our Editorial team is working on an update. We will have the updated version online as soon as possible.
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