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am 9. Mai 2000
Let me start by acknowledging that the book is not perfect. The end notes are annoying and Norman can have a tendancy to ramble and I guess that not everyone would find that charming. However, I assert that the strengths of the book more than make up for its weaknesses-- it is an important book, and one that anyone engaged in designing things for other people should read.
The central point is simple-- the needs of the user are different from the needs of the designer. The designer might want everyone's actions with his system to be precise, the user might need to have a "good enough" range of precision approximation. The designer wants to make the knobs the same so they look good together, the user wants to be able to tell quickly which knob applies to which function. It's a basic concept that can't (particularly on the Internet today) be repeated often enough.
Norman looks at the kinds of errors people make in usage and discusses how designers can plan to prevent these kind of errors. He discusses some of the basic things that users find valuable and walks the reader through some classic (and often funny, because so recognizable) design errors.
The writing is clean and (with the exception of the aforementioned rambling) very clear. Norman's voice is full of humor and a real passion for the subject, and that voice is conveyed very well by the book.
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am 13. Juni 1999
This is actually a really bizarre book, in that it is as much an autobiography of Dr Norman's experiences in his own home as it is about design. Dr Norman is like the Charlotte Bronte of engineering -- although appaerently trapped in his own little world, he manages to discover universal truths that are relevant way beyond it.
Don't be confused: this is a rather tiresome book to read, as Dr Norman evaluates the design and usability of taps, light-switches, telephones and door handles (lots of door handles), but in a cosmic sense, worthwhile.
In short: I am glad to have read it, even though the reading was pretty dull.
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am 14. März 2000
A number of reviewers have made points about the end notes. I corresponded with Professor Norman on this subject. He informed me that more people comment on the usability (or lack thereof) of the endnotes than of any other aspect of the book. Having said that, don't let this design error interfere with the great content.
This book is not for people with strong backgrounds in usability and design. It is an excellent introduction and overview. Prof. Norman makes many great points which were new to me because I hadn't studied these concepts before. If you design anything and you haven't studied usability, get this book.
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am 16. Juni 2000
I had to read this book for a course. However once I started it, I wanted to read it. All those oddball things like pushing the wrong side of doors, not knowing whether to push or pull, that we all do and blame ourselves, are not our fault. Something in the design led to our incorrect behavior. This is a fundamental concept of Human Factors and Don Norman captured it perfectly. A must read for Human Factors engineers and an interesting read for the rest of the world. I'm buying more of his books.
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am 17. Mai 2000
The Design of Everyday Things is a great book for designers, information architects, programmers and technical architects (and that's just in my field!). The author uses real life examples to illustrate design flaws and examples of good design. Our info arch team read this in preparation for doing site layouts and designs, and they recommended it to me - and I highly recommend it to anyone needing an overview of what makes good things work.
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am 17. Juli 2009
Easy to read and full of to-the-point examples. Consider as an essential manual for design.
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am 27. April 2000
Have you ever been taking a shower in a hotel room, having no clue how to adjust the water temperature? Are your refrigerator cooling 24 hours/day because you never figured out the panels of buttons? Donald A. Norman takes a look at all those frustrating user experiences in a very funny and insightful manner, but instead of just pointing out all the stupidities, he also uses his knowledge of human psychology to explain exactly why so many user interfaces are so troublesome. This book is not about software design, but is nevertheless extremely useful for anybody involved in the development of software since Mr. Norman focusses his attention on topics which are fundamental for any kind of user interface (wheter in the form of door handles or advanced airplane controlling software applications). The design of the book itself is fairly boring with dull black and white photographs, simple line drawings and a general bad layout. In spite of this being a book on design, it is however not that important, since Mr. Norman delivers his message in a very elegant and witty manner. Therefore this book get 5 stars of 5 possible.
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am 26. November 2012
This book is a breath of fresh air in a world surrounded by poorly designed objects. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone involved in the design process, or in the use of designed objects (hint: this book is useful for anyone).
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am 17. Mai 1996
As a computer software engineer, I have found two books that should be required reading for all developers. One is The Mythical Man-Month, Fred Brooks' classic study on project management. The other is this work by Donald Norman, the father of user-centered design. Through a series of simple yet powerful examples, Norman examines why some products are a pleasure to use while others lead to frustration and anxiety. The book uses objects as simple as refrigerators and faucets to explain how conceptual models, feedback, and physical and cultural constraints come together to produce a product design that is intuitive and comfortable to use. A subject that in less capable hands could be dry and academic instead comes alive under Norman's vivid style and entertaining anecdotes. This is a brilliant work, an absolutely essential reference, and a book that I find myself reading again and again
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am 14. Dezember 1999
In general, computer software is abominably designed. But I find most books on user interface design frustrating: they assume that if the designer just follows certain specific rules, the product will automatically be "user-friendly." It doesn't work that way, folks: even if your menus are short and your use of color is discreet, the product may still be utterly unusable.
Norman puts the focus right where it belongs: on the USER. What is this person trying to do with the product? What is his/her level of knowledge? How can the design of the product facilitate what the user wants to do, instead of getting in the way? This is a philosophy of design, rather than a set of rules. But the software designer (or any designer) who absorbs this philosophy will turn out far better products than someone who merely buys a book of rules and follows them blindly.
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