The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

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In this entertaining and insightful analysis, cognitive scientist Don Norman hails excellence of design as the most important key to regaining the competitive edge in influencing consumer behavior.
Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we fail to figure out which light switch or oven burner to turn on, or whether to push, pull, or slide a door. The fault, argues this ingenious-even liberating-book, lies not in ourselves, but in product design that ignores the needs of users and the principles of cognitive psychology. The problems range from ambiguous and hidden controls to arbitrary relationships between controls and functions, coupled with a lack of feedback or other assistance and unreasonable demands on memorization.
The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.

The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful primer on how-and why-some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.
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About the author

Don Norman is a co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, and holds graduate degrees in both engineering and psychology. His many books include Emotional Design, The Design of Future Things, and Living with Complexity. He lives in Silicon Valley, California.
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Additional Information

Basic Books
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Published on
Nov 5, 2013
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Business & Economics / Industries / Retailing
Design / Product
Psychology / Applied Psychology
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Finally, we are learning that simplicity equals sanity. We're rebelling against technology that's too complicated, DVD players with too many menus, and software accompanied by 75-megabyte "read me" manuals. The iPod's clean gadgetry has made simplicity hip. But sometimes we find ourselves caught up in the simplicity paradox: we want something that's simple and easy to use, but also does all the complex things we might ever want it to do. In The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda offers ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design -- guidelines for needing less and actually getting more.

Maeda -- a professor in MIT's Media Lab and a world-renowned graphic designer -- explores the question of how we can redefine the notion of "improved" so that it doesn't always mean something more, something added on.

Maeda's first law of simplicity is "Reduce." It's not necessarily beneficial to add technology features just because we can. And the features that we do have must be organized (Law 2) in a sensible hierarchy so users aren't distracted by features and functions they don't need. But simplicity is not less just for the sake of less. Skip ahead to Law 9: "Failure: Accept the fact that some things can never be made simple." Maeda's concise guide to simplicity in the digital age shows us how this idea can be a cornerstone of organizations and their products -- how it can drive both business and technology. We can learn to simplify without sacrificing comfort and meaning, and we can achieve the balance described in Law 10. This law, which Maeda calls "The One," tells us: "Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful."

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