Book review: The Design of Everyday Things

Originally published in hard cover as The Psychology of Everyday Things (same book except for the preface, introduction, and title) this book by Donald A. Norman has become something of a classic in the field of Human-computer Interaction, but I would encourage anyone to remotely interested in the world around them to spend some time reading it.

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Even two decades after its release the message contained within is even more important than ever. As the world around as gets ever more sophisticated and demanding of its hosts and users, the everyday interactions we deal with require even more thought to help us go about our tasks.

Dr Norman describes very well some of the tasks we do everyday and what process we go through in doing these tasks to help illustrate the problems facing the design of everything from taps, software, door knobs to car radios.

One of the points that I loved was it is most often the users of the object that blame themselves for not being able to use something well when more often than not its the object at fault. Time and time again Norman is able to link the brain and thinking and the device that we actually want to use.

Its an extremely accessible book, not just in its everyday subject matter but as you start to read it you notice and bring your own experiences in to his examples.

Enlightening and thoroughly recommended.

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