DESIGN OF EVERYDAY THINGS

This book is popular among the software developer crowd (the UX version of Lean Startup).

The premise of this book is that many things are designed poorly for the end-user.

This is an important conclusion. Why?

Many of things designed poorly for the end-user are also finely wrought, beautiful to behold, and fashionable. In other words, their good qualities mask their bad qualities re: the user.

The antidote: ‘human-centered design’ (exactly what it sounds like).

That important conclusion is, alas, where this book ends.

‘Design of Everyday Things’ is not well written. Norman goes about inventing unhelpful vocabulary:

“I call the signalling component of affordances signifiers” [13]

“I call the combined information available to us the system image” [31]

Norman does offer some rules of thumb for designers:

These rules, however, seem pretty well understood. Perhaps handy as a checklist vs. a 300-page book. The reading experience is similar to that of Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’; like a church liturgy, the listener will get fed up 1/4 of the way through but repeating this stuff (occassionally) is helpful.