Austin Computer Book Club

August ’20: The Design of Everyday Things

Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman

Our book for August, as selected by our voting members: Don Norman’s classic, The Design of Everyday Things (Revised and Expanded Edition).

Design doesn’t have to complicated, which is why this guide to human-centered design shows that usability is just as important as aesthetics.

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 is a powerful primer on how — and why — some products satisfy customers while others only frustrate them.

See more on the book’s page on Don Norman’s website,

Where to find a copy of this title:

The meetup will be on Tuesday, August 25 at 6:30PM, probably not at the offices of our sponsor, ActiveProspect (if stay-at-home advisories change, I’ll update that here and on this event’s Meetup page). Regardless of whether we’re able to meet in person, we will for sure be meeting via Zoom, at this link.

Be sure to RSVP on Meetup so we’ll know to expect you. See you then!

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