Book Review: The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman


Whenever someone asks me for a book on design, I always point them towards Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday things. I would say this is a must-read for anybody that creates things for other humans—whether you’re an architect, software engineer or entrepreneur.

I’m a product designer and think that his principles are spot on. Some things specifically to keep note of when reading:

  • Get the mappings right
  • Understand constraints
  • Consider errors when designing
  • If all else fails, standardize

I find Norman’s examples entertaining and well thought out. I don’t agree with his proposed redesign of light switches, but appreciate the thought behind it. However, many of the examples of bad design such as the Norman Door—doors that you don’t know if you should push or pull—should be familiar even if you haven’t considered it.

Anyways, if you’re looking to pick up a single book about design, let it be The Design of Everyday things