2017-04-03

The Design of Everyday Things

When I worked at Microsoft, they gave anyone who wanted one copies of several books. One was The Design of Everyday Things (originally called The Psychology of Everyday Things), by Don Norman. The Design of Everyday Things is still one of my favorite books. It is not really about computer interfaces, but all the rules apply to computers. It covers things like: why is it that when you come to a door in a building you are always pushing when you should be pulling, pulling when you should be pushing, or pushing on the side where the hinge is? It's because the door design told you to do that (and don't you feel stupid when you do!). If designers were allowed to design emergency exits, lots of people would die in fires. We don't let designers create emergency exits. Think about that the next time you click on something that looks like a hyperlink and you don't go anywhere.

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