The Psychology of Everyday Things

The Psychology of Everyday ThingsHave you ever stood in front of a door, or a microwave, absolutely flummoxed, because the damned thing gave you no clue whatsoever how to open it If so even, I venture to think, if not , you will enjoy this book In clear, coruscating prose he exposes the miserable flaws in the design of everyday objects which conspire to make our lives less convenient, miserable, and sometimes dangerous.The book is not just an expos of the appalling laziness and hostility to consumers that is commonplace among designers not just in the software industry, which is a story unto itself see The Lunatics are Running the Asylum it is also a clarion call to action We need not live in a world where it appears that appliances conspire to make us feel like idiots And when they do when you can t figure out which button to push, or whether a door opens inward or outward remember that you are not the one at fault It is the lazy incompetent designer of the thing which is making you miserable who is deserving of scorn and ridicule Far too often, in a design world which favors form over function and usability, crimes against the user get rewarded with prizes and the acclaim of the design cognoscenti People who presumably never have to struggle with the consequences of their own reckless disregard for the usability of the objects they design This book is an outraged and eloquent call for change. Jeff Garzik gave me a copy of this back when he was building the Linux network stack in Home Park I d seen it praised by a few other people by that time as well via the GT newsgroups, most likely I was underwhelmed there were a few good case analyses the oven UI I recall being particularly effective , but very little usable, general principles came out of the read I went back in 2006, thinking I d perhaps missed something, but didn t find much then again, i m probably not the target audience this book seems to receive much play in computer science programs, but it s really much of an industrial design text its prevalence in CS programs evidences IMHO the sad state of HCI textbooks.I m still eagerly waiting for a single textbook which unifies theory and practice of effective, attractive UI design Instead, we seem to have the GUI metrics crowd, fetishists assuming the existence of some spiritus mundi, just waiting for the right Gaussian to be fitted thus giving rise to twin abominations, MacOSX and GNOME3 meanwhile the design crown speaks in riddles, playing a game where men throw ducks at baloons, and nothing is as it seemsbut this is why, I suppose, I only write backends and libraries. Anyone Who Designs Anything To Be Used By Humans From Physical Objects To Computer Programs To Conceptual Tools Must Read This Book, And It Is An Equally Tremendous Read For Anyone Who Has To Use Anything Created By Another Human It Could Forever Change How You Experience And Interact With Your Physical Surroundings, Open Your Eyes To The Perversity Of Bad Design And The Desirability Of Good Design, And Raise Your Expectations About How Things Should Be DesignedB W Photographs And Illustrations Throughout Too general to be valuable Too many sentences like this Each discipline has a different perspective of the relative importance of the many factors that make up a product. Whenever programmers ask other programmers for book suggestions, there s always some smartass that says something like The Art of War because of blah blah blah about corporate politics Hoo boy you re clever, you suggested a non programming book, way to not play by the rules You really march to the beat of your own drum there, slick.Similarly, I constantly see The Design of Everyday Things suggested in these kinds of conversations I think it s supposed to give engineers great insights into design and how humans interact with objects around them This is supposed to change our outlook for the software we build for people.Well, I don t think it did that at all Really, the only thing to take away in that regard is think about how people use your software In other words, I think a great many UX centered books are vastly superior in this regard.That s not to say this book is bad In fact, I imagine there are people reading my review right now thinking who gives a shit that this guy is a software engineer Indeed, this book is great Very enjoyable, and very informative It made me think about every day objects I ve never even given a second thought to There s an entire section on sink faucets that blew my mind But ultimately, the book is really about exactly what the title says it is, the design of everyday things and objects There s some hinting at a greater, broader meaning than this, but it never comes to much.Definitely a great read, worth it for sure, but don t buy into the everyone who makes software should read this book hype. Couldn t get in to it Maybe I ll try again at a different time On a side note, I found it odd that a book about user centered design had line broken right justified headings and baffling use of italics. This book is for knowledge than for enjoyment The writing is rather dry and textbook like with many abstract theoretical concepts and ideas I feel like taking a short course in design, which is still quite helpful Nevertheless, I was expecting of smart designs, fun and strange and inspiring stories, but Norman isn t there to entertain but to educate and so there are examples mostly to illustrate concepts and processes Naturally I was a bit disappointed, but still in general a book is a good read. The Design of Everyday Things DOET is the story of doors, faucets and keyboards it s the tale of rangetops and refrigerators Donald Norman beckons the reader to look at the common objects they deal with every day in new and methodical ways And he offers this central question what makes an object well designed as opposed to poorly designed But on the question of design DOET, itself an everyday object, rates poorly Norman s discussion of individual items proves inconsistent and rarely systematic sometimes he includes examples of both good and bad design such as when he analyzes doors , but oftentimes he only mentions the bad such as when he talks about office phone systems He rarely offers suggestions for superior designs and organizes everything by psychological concepts that often prove vague or arcane section headings include Memory is Knowledge in the Head and Using Sound for Visibility Even fundamentally, explanatory pictures rarely occupy the same page as the text that references them, forcing the reader to page back and forth That the typesetting for his book is so awkward feels especially glaring as that s the sort of basic design flaw DOET seeks to expose.To Norman s credit, he shows passion for the subject and writes engagingly when he isn t listing psychological vocabulary words And the subject of design is fascinating relevant to everyone, applicable to all areas of life and endlessly detailed And Norman routinely finds interesting digressions applying design principles to Legos or charting every plausible game of Tic Tac Toe.And I found myself agreeing with Norman s core philosophy He argues that function should supersede features and usability is important than aesthetics He also takes the stance that if you can t figure out a gadget, it probably isn t your fault and he goes into detail about how common this sort of confusion is Norman takes a decidedly pro humanity outlook in a book all about objects just one irony After all, DOET is a poorly designed study of design regarding a mundane subject that fascinates Edited 2 19 2019 For a book that a lot of people rave about as being a bible of usability , I have to say it was one of the worst written and designed books I have ever been unfortunate enough to read. This took me FOREVER to read but it isn t the book s fault It was me just picking it up at odd moments it giving me a lot to think about each time I don t design every day things, so had absolutely no need to read this book, but found it extremely interesting If you have any part in designing anything, you MUST read this book Norman points out the obvious things I took for granted made me think about them in an entirely new light He breaks down the simplest devices into their basic functions features, then rebuilds them in a way that is both obvious yet entirely new He then points out places where the design elements are good bad He gets into the basic aspects of design that I never thought about such as aligning the number of controls with the number of functions Best of all, he lays all of this out in an interesting manner with common examples as he delves deeper into the problems solutions.When you walk up to a door, how do you know how to deal with it I never thought about it, just used it Norman points out the clues I use, such as where the handles hinges are located, as well as the conventions, such as pushing to go out of a commercial door, that I just KNOW intuitively use But what happens when designers fiddle around to make look pretty Can anyone screw up something as mundane venerable as a door Unfortunately, yes indeedy He relates a funny story about getting stuck briefly in the foyer of a commercial building because of the modern design of the doors Hidden hinges, lots of glass, handles that stretched across the entire center of the door gave no clue as to which way they opened Couple that with one set of doors opening in the opposite direction from the others a simple task walking into a building without much thought actually while thinking of other things, like the upcoming meeting became an irritating puzzle Not a big deal Actually, it is.Norman pulls out some truly horrific numbers to make a great point on how important intuitive design is The average person has something like 30,000 different instruction sets to remember on a regular basis If each one of these took just a minute to remember, you d spend several months learning them, assuming a 40 hour week devoted to the task That we ve absorbed these instructions conventions over decades are facing an increasing number of them on a daily basis makes it particularly irritating when they get redesigned into a problem Note This book was published in the late 80 s While there are some desktop computing examples given, this book is pre Internet Think of how much additional information is required in the wake of that Think browsers, email, scams, viruses, While some of the examples are a bit dated, such as VCR s, they re not terrible The multifunctional switches, confusing menus, seemingly random options packed into those machines have carried over into their descendents in spades Other examples, such as phone systems stoves, are still so on target that it s absolutely infuriating OK, phone systems are complicated, extremely proprietary full of options than ever, but do they HAVE to be so hard to use I don t think so I know damn well that designers could do a much better job of laying out the controls for something as simple as a stove They ve had over a century it s still a complete PITA to figure out which knob operates which burner I can t walk up to any stove put my hand on the correct knob I have to read, sometimes even puzzle out symbols to figure out which is which Even on my own simple stove, which we ve had 5 years, I wind up reading to figure out the controls OK, Marg usually cooks, but that s just STUPID design one minor irritation in a world filled with them, but one that could so easily be rectified with just a bit of thought It s just infuriating While I was reading this book, a couple of examples of its relevance slapped me in the face Steve Jobs died Why was he so successful Many people say that he was an inventor WRONG He rarely came up with anything truly new His forte was in timing design Microsoft had a tablet for years before the iPad but their offering never made it Why Because the hardware couldn t support the overall expected functionality properly AND the user interface wasn t nearly as well designed as the iPad Microsoft tried too early, designed it poorly, FAILED themselves right out of the market took the ebook market by storm The Kindle wasn t the first ereader it isn t really all that great hardware wise, but it has a great interface that leverages a wonderful support system all good design It does one thing does it really well.Long review, but design is one of the most misunderstood important concepts of our lives I was completely shocked by my own ignorance about it I still don t claim to be any expert, but it sure made me see the world in a different way.Update 13May2019 Here s a new article by Norman I wrote the book on user friendly design What I see today horrifies me with a subtitle The world is designed against the elderly, writes Don Norman, 83 year old author of the industry bible Design of Everyday Things and a former Apple VP s a fact I m now in my 60s he s right We re a large segment of the population that isn t cool, but we have the money time Design for us

Donald Arthur Norman is a professor emeritus of cognitive science at the University of California, San Diego and a Professor of Computer Science at Northwestern University, where he also co directs the dual degree MBA Engineering degree program between the Kellogg school and Northwestern Engineering Norman is on numerous company advisory boards, including the editorial board of Encyclop dia Bri

[PDF / Epub] ⚣ The Psychology of Everyday Things ✈ Donald A. Norman –
  • Paperback
  • 240 pages
  • The Psychology of Everyday Things
  • Donald A. Norman
  • English
  • 11 August 2017
  • 9780465067107

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