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The Design of Everyday Things

by Donald A. Norman

Design of Everyday ThingsAnyone who has ever burnt themselves in a hotel shower should be relieved to learn that it is not your fault – it’s poor design. This book changed the way we look at everyday things – we now look more critically at how a product is designed. As a result, we have gained enormous respect for things that work well and are also aesthetically pleasing. And, if something doesn’t work, we enjoy thinking of ways to improve it. Norman advocates a user-centered approach to design which ensures that the user of a device or system always knows what is happening and what is to be done. His examples illustrate design principles such as providing a clear conceptual model, making things visible, utilizing natural mapping, providing feedback, using constraints, taking common errors into account, and standardizing when all else fails. The only drawback in reading this classic is that the product examples are no longer up-to-date. That said, it is interesting to see how far we’ve come since the book was first published in 1988.

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