The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

Posted by jack_miller | Published a year ago

With 921 ratings

By: Don Norman, Neil Hellegers, et al.

Purchased At: $18.99

The ultimate guide to human-centered design.

Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault, argues this ingenious - even liberating - audiobook, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. The problems range from ambiguous and hidden controls to arbitrary relationships between controls and functions, coupled with a lack of feedback or other assistance and unreasonable demands on memorization.

The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.

The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how - and why - some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

This book was assigned in a UX/UI college class, and I'm not done with it but I've read enough to know I hate it and honestly can't believe my school treats this book like it's the bible of design or something. I'm used to academic topis being studied with rigor, and this book is 95% one person sharing his opinion and experience (with a few mentions of studies) . In other words it's just anecdotal. And it reads like a crotchety old man who complains about everything. Like, he can find the problem with every design, but doesn't spend half as much time talking about good design.
To summarize, I find this book weak regarding the validity of it since it's just one person's opinion, it creates the experience of just listening to someone complains about everything, and doesn't leave me feeling like I'm learning any useful design skills.

- holly_sanders

The overview of design principles described in the first half of the book are interesting. I certainly became more aware of the kinds of poor design choices outlined and certainly learned a few things that will be helpful in my communications and systems development role at work.
The explanations of the psychology behind product interaction are, to me, poorly organized and explained. Further, if you've read any psychology or behavioral economics before, there's little to be learned here.
Finally, the writing itself is fairly poor. I read nonfiction almost exclusively, so I don't think it's the technical nature of the content; it's just not very engaging. The personal anecdotes, as other reviews have noted, often feel forced and a little self-congratulatory. A better editor would have helped, too. There were quite a few instances of small annoyances such as using "less" where "fewer" was needed, or an overabundance of "as a result" towards the end.

- clementine_baker

A pamphlet may be able to be reduced to a single-page flow chart. It's a Norman book in the same way a terrible door is a Norman door. That assumes its purpose is to inform the reader in a succinct manner, and not generate money for the author who mentions his other works many times throughout. It's exceptionally good at generating revenue; maybe I'm applying his solution to the wrong problem, the correct problem being 'I need money for a boat.'

- alayna_ramirez

So far, the content is informative and interesting. However, I would think a book about design would be well designed. The section headings on the left sided pages are so far to the right I have to crack the spine all the way open to read many of them. This is so annoying to me I don't know if I can finish reading it. The small, grainy graphics are also dismaying. It's difficult to have confidence in the author's expertise when so little thought is put into the presentation.

- kamryn_foster

A UX researcher's or designer's bible. If studying human factors engineering, human computer interaction, or any other related field; your professors, peers, and colleagues will reference this book and Don Norman. I keep this on my desk at work and continue to use it when explaining heuristics to clients, engineers or data scientists.

- sariyah_ortiz

Its a good book with great examples. It does shed some light on the troubles with design and shows problems from another perspective and it should be rightfully considered as one of the key books regarding design in general. However, It's quite shallow and the author doesn't go into much of a detail. Don't get me wrong, I am not a literary critic or anything but as a European, the style is not a strong suit. People, who are used to the American style of literature are going to be fine, but sometimes there is too much repetition of ideas and a bit deeper analysis of the problem would be beneficial. To sum up. The contribution of the author in the field of proper and functional design is huge and the terminology used is crucial for understanding the key principles of design is paramount. But I would go into a bit more detail.

- gary_torres

A lot of people voice their disappointment with this book, because they expect it to be an in-depth, authoritative guide written for professional designers, and it turns out to be something else. Let me tell you a little secret, design people: it's not "the design bible", it's not "the UX bible", it's not anything bible. It's more of a religious pamphlet aimed at laymen who don't normally think about design in their everyday work, to bring them the gospel of good design practices in an extremely condensed form.

Developers love this book, because it's good (duh!) and also because it comes with recommendations from several luminaries in the field, most notably Jeff Atwood, the co-founder of StackOverflow. I'm no exception. It helped shift my focus from making software that does its job well, to making software that helps its users do their jobs well. It explains in very simple terms why you should care about how users experience and interact with the things you make and how to start thinking about making their interactions more satisfying and rewarding. It also walks you through the typical interaction cycle, from the idea of action that user wants to perform, to the interpretation of feedback they receive; it is a tremendous help when you are trying to 'debug' the interactions and figure out the exact reason why users find your design distracting, irritating or counter-intuitive.

There are sections clarifying the terms you might have heard elsewhere but don't know exactly what they mean (A/B testing, root cause analysis, iterative vs. waterfall approach) or how they might help you improve your design. There is a particularly illuminating chapter explaining why fridge controls and stove controls (among many other things) come in so many different and incompatible designs, how companies are trying to solve this problem with standardization and why standards sometimes create more problems than they solve.

What else? It's also short, well-written and entertaining. The jokes are rare, poignant, and usually delivered with a deadpan snark. To give you an example,
"The typewriter was a radical innovation that had a dramatic impact upon office and home writing. It helped provide a role for women in offices as typists and secretaries, which led to the redefinition of the job of secretary to be a dead end rather than the first step toward an executive position".
Nice, huh?

To summarize: buy this book if you want to know more about design in general and/or become a better designer to complement your other skills. Don't buy this book if you expect a huge how-to manual or a cookbook aimed at experienced designers.

- layton_clark

*Please bear in mind I'm reading this book on my computer so it's displayed in double page format.* It's a good book so far but I'm SURPRISED that the top reviews don't include the fact that the right page often doesn't finish the last sentence of the left page. Sometimes the right page will start a sentence, and the left page will try to continue it but the top half of the words are cut off and sometimes, it often repeats the last paragraph of the left page.

All I'm saying is... maybe buy the paperback version instead.

- samuel_lee

Get the MIT press version if you intend to keep the book. I have the kindle version and its much better (on an iPad). The paper and book quality is abysmal.

The book is very well known and you can search for the author's videos to give you an overview of what this book is about. Makes you think and definitely a good starting point if you want to learn more about design

- mauricio_reyes

naturally, after reading just one book, you won't become an expert. But if you are looking for a great introduction and overview of the field, this is a phantastic start. It definitely gave me a lot of food for thought on how to apply the ideas to my own field of expertise!

- dominic_kelly

Good read so far! The illustrations are a bit small on the kindle version but overall the content is enjoyable, useful and easy to read.

- angelique_ross


- izaiah_diaz

A must-read for anyone interested in design

- noelle_wright

Strong start, descends into droning and self gratification by the mid-way point.

- isaac_allen

This book is essential to any sort of designers. It does state some obvious things that usually people take for granted when going through the design process of things.

Even if you aren't a designer though, is still a great book!

- mason_miller

An awesome book that changes the way you think about design. This isn't a technical book in the sense of teaching you how to design any specific product. It however does teach you how to approach design from a client perspective. A must read for anybody who is passionate about providing solutions to their clients ( irrespective of the product).

- emilio_stewart

Makes time pass by!

- abril_patel

Endlich ein Buch, das mir Bestätigung gibt! Ob es Türen sind, die man falsch bedient, Öfen, Kugelschreiber, Smartphones oder Flugzeuge: Eigentlich lässt sich immer ein Problem auch beim Design finden und nicht nur bei dem Menschen, der Probleme hat. Norman hatte schon vor 25 Jahren genug Erfahrung, um ein erfolgreiches Buch zu schreiben, und jetzt hat er sie wohl erst recht. Hin und wieder erwähnt er, wie er für BMW und Apple gearbeitet hat und wie erfolgreich er war, was zu Beginn etwas prahlerisch wirkt, später aber verstehen lässt dass dieser Mann wirklich weiß, wovon er schreibt.
Dabei erklärt Don Norman nicht nur, wie Dinge grundsätzlich gestaltet werden sollten, sondern auch, wie wir Menschen Dinge wahrnehmen, wie wir uns an Dinge erinnern, wie wir Fehler machen und wie wir daraus lernen. Dazu gibt er uns einige Methoden und Schlüsselbegriffe an die Hand, die fundamental wichtig sind. So sollte man unterscheiden zwischen den Dingen, die wir natürlicherweise mit einem Gegenstand tun können und Dingen, an denen wir sehen können, was wir tatsächlich mit einem Gegenstand machen sollen.
Immer wieder gibt er dabei Beispiele aus der Weltgeschichte zu teils tragischen Unglücken oder lustigen Erlebnissen. So mussten sich zum Beispiel erst viele Menschen vor Panik selbst die Fluchtwege versperren, bevor ein Gesetz erlassen wurde, nach dem Türen in öffentlichen Gebäuden grundsätzlich in Richtung der Fluchtwege geöffnet werden müssen.
In den letzten Kapiteln reflektiert Norman die Wichtigkeit von gutem Design allerdings noch einmal und gibt zu verstehen, warum gutes Design nicht immer umgesetzt werden kann, auch wenn man es sich vorstellen kann. Beispielsweise spielen schließlich Geld und Zeit auch immer eine Rolle.

Eigentlich wollte ich das Buch erst kaufen, wenn ich schon studiere, aber selbst wenn ich nicht studieren sollte, war es das auf jeden Fall wert. Ich denke, selbst für Menschen, die beruflich gar nichts mit Design zu tun haben, ist das Buch interessant.
Für diejenigen, die lieber Videos schauen, gibt es einige auf Youtube unter folgendem Link: [...] oder wenn ihr nach "The Design of Everyday Things" sucht.

- viviana_hernandez

Comencé a leer el libro desde una perspectiva de "diseño", por curiosidad ya que soy desarrollador de software, pero el contenido de la psicología y la manera de cómo interactuamos con nuestro ambiente consciente o inconscientemente, me ha dado ideas de como integrar estos principios al desarrollo de software, ya que ultimadamente estoy desarrollando "productos" / "herramientas" para el uso de personas.

- eric_nelson

This is not a book, it’s a heart warmer. Whether you’re a startup founder, product designer, product manager, or just interested in how fellow humans interact with products and the physical world around them, you absolutely must read this book. No chance of regret.

- santino_jimenez

Ich hab mir dieses Buch gekauft, weil ich in das Thema UX Design einsteigen wollte. Auch wenn der Buchtitel etwas anderes verspricht, so finden sich hier viele nützliche Informationen, die sich leicht auf die Digitalen Medien übertragen lassen. Denn gutes Design hat stets ein Ziel: Produkte so angenehm und selbstverständlich wie möglich zu machen. Wie das funktioniert, zeigt der Autor anhand von Gegenständen wie sie uns im Alltag begegnen. So brauchen Türen klare Erkennungszeichen (signifier) wie einen Türknauf, damit der Nutzer weiß, an welcher Stelle er die Tür öffnen kann. Oder Elektroherde zwei Dimensionen (mapping), eine für die Kochplatte und eine für die Regler, so dass der Nutzer nicht lange überlegen muss, welcher Regler die jeweilige Kochplatte steuert. Klingt zunächst trivial, ist aber ungeheuer erkenntnisreich. Das Buch strotzt nur so vor Beispielen und psychologischen Fakten. Vor allem Industriedesigner, Interaction- und UX-Designer dürften von diesem Buch besonders profitieren. Aber auch Architekten und Handwerker (z.B. Schreiner) können für ihre Arbeit viel daraus mitnehmen.

- milana_alvarez

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