First, businesses discovered quality as a key competitive edge; next came science. Now, Donald A. Norman, former Director of the Institute for Cognitive Science at the University of California, reveals how smart design is the new frontier. The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how - and why - some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.
©1988 Donald A. Norman (P)2011 Tantor
The original title for this book was "The Psychology of Everyday Things" and it has not been updated since 1988. It contains mostly pop psychology insights from the '80s rather than design ideas, so if you are looking for information on the actual design process you will be disappointed.
Many of the psychological insights have been refined and unpdated in the two decades since publication and what must have been insightful and modern at the time now seems obvious or too simplistic.
The performance is terrible. The narrator has a Shatner-esque delivery where he randomly speeds up and slows down his reading and then dramatically drops his volume at the end of sentances. I honestly thought there was a problem with my stereo before I figured out he was doing it on purpose.
The author mentions in his new preface that the ideas in the book are timeless and therefore he didn't think it needed updating. However, a significant amount of speculation is done by the author about what computers in the future will be capable of--all of which has already come to pass. There is simply no need for an entire chapter fantasizing about a future where you can have an electronic appointment book.
Apparently, the book is considered a classic in the design and engineering world, but until it is updated it only has value as a historic document.
I have two rules; avoid abridgements and watch out for older texts on contemporary topics. The Design of Everyday Things was produced several years ago and it shows. While it is just filled with worthy insight, much of the material is dated.
Narration is good and keeps your interest. The idea that we should blame bad design and not ourselves for mistake is stated repeatedly throughout the book. To my disappointment I found the examples to be dated. He discusses VCRs as if they were more commonly used than DVDs. At one point he said he envisioned a portable computer that could be taken anywhere plugged into a phone within 5 years. How long has the iPhone been out? It would have been nice if the book updated before making into an audiobook. Turns out that this audiobook was recently released (making it seem like it was a new book) but had been written several years ago.
Potentially. It would be a great reference book to remind myself of good design principles.
The history behind of the important design decisions that we use in our lives (e.g. keyboard), as well as the concepts that will continue to hold over time.
Solid, plain, clear.
Only relevant for certain people, but at the same time for those who understand these concepts already might not learn anything new.
A mind-opener to what goes into designing any man-made thing. I recommend this book to all designers and non-designers.
Despite having a nominal publishing date of 2002, the examples in the book were never updated from the late 1980's. This makes the book incredibly old fashioned and quaint to listen to. Although the ideas contained are timeless, the examples (such as PBX phones and floppy disks) are so out of date they obscure the arguments of the book.
The examples. They are out of date and truly irrelevant in this age.
strident, monotonous, and nasal
I would update the examples to ones that are relevant today. There are adults out there now who have never seen the kind of phone systems he describes, the typewriters, or the floppy disk. Every single example from this book is from the late 1980's, and was not updated during the 2002 publication. MAJOR editing mistake.
It's amazing how relevant the book still is, and more amazing is how many of his predictions about the computer industry were accurate
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