The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

I find the history of small things quite interesting. I love seeing how history is created not by seismic events but by small rather insignificant looking items.

I came across The Design of Everyday Things after reading the excellent works of Steven Johnson: How We Got to Now and Wonderland. I assumed Don Norman’s book would be the same vein. Unfortunately, it is not.

Do not misunderstand me, The Design of Everyday Things is a good book. Instead of examining specific items, Norman really discusses the overall design of things, focusing mostly the psychology and how humans interpret the world. This is a very interesting subject; a subject that I have read about extensively. However, this just was not the book I was looking for.

So, all in all, this was a consumer error, which is funny, because a major theme in the book is that user error is usually a design problem. Therefore, I would say that the title and cover art of this book misled me. The original title of this book was The Psychology of Everyday Things. I think the original title is more appropriate. With the current title, I assumed the author would spend more time scrutinizing the design of individual objects, their history, and progression. Maybe with a little more research, I would not have made this mistake.

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