Suggested Reading: The Design Of Everyday Things

Donald A. Norman — The Design Of Everyday Things — Basic Books, 2002, 257 pp. ISBN 0-465-06710-7

(buy at

(buy at

In the same lineage than Machine Beauty, this books explores the fundamental rules of good design. Built around the following seven precepts, Norman lays out the problems (and solutions) to good design:

  • Use both knowledge in the world and knowledge in the head
  • Simplify the structure of tasks
  • Make things visible: offer feedbacks for actions
  • Get the mappings right
  • Exploit the contraints, both natural and artificial
  • Design for error
  • When all else fail, standardize

The book is filled with examples of each principle. Fully annotated and with numerous references, this book (although a bit aged) will serve as a good introduction to the subject, especially for people interested in the design of user interfaces (while, however, the books is not very concerned about computers as the original edition was written in the late 80s).

To read with Machine Beauty, User Interface Design for Programmers, and The Inmates are Running the Asylum.

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