Book Review: The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things book cover
The Design of Everyday Things
Donald Norman
1990
★★★★☆

An ex­cel­lent book on de­sign. Nor­man in­tro­duces con­cepts such as af­for­dances, map­pings, and con­straints, and then gives prac­ti­cal ex­am­ples with ob­jects such as doors, tele­phones, and light switches. An ex­am­ple of his ob­ser­va­tions:

Peo­ple al­ways as­sign a cause to an ef­fect. Make the cause ob­vi­ous, or your user will cre­ate an in­cor­rect men­tal model.

And one of my fa­vorite quotes:

Each tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance that pro­vides a men­tal aid also brings along crit­ics who de­cry the loss of the hu­man skill that has been made less valu­able. Fine, I say: if the skill is eas­ily au­to­mated, it was­n’t es­sen­tial.

Rec­om­mended for any­one who does any sort of de­sign, in­clud­ing com­puter or web de­sign.

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