Customer Review

19 August 2015
Author Norman popularized the term user-centered design and a proponent of design thinking. I believe these approaches to design make it seem like the product has been designed with you in mind. He uses short illustrative case studies to describe the psychology of good and bad design. The rich theory is brought alive through the examination of light switches, door knobs and other day-to-day items we have common and frequent interaction. Here are some bon mots from the book:

“Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating.”

“The design of everyday things is in great danger of becoming the design of superfluous, overloaded, unnecessary things.”

“Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.”

This is the most recent edition of a 25 year old book that remains relevant and entertaining. The 2013 edition has been updated (NEST is given its due) and includes two entirely new chapters. I like that Norman does not believe in human error as much as bad design (especially when I push on a door that should be pulled). All of this has been made more impressive given at time of this review the book is #1 in Industrial & Product Design, #1 in Retailing, and #4 in Applied Psychology.
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