Practical and useful Design every day.

Practical and useful Design for everyday life

In October 2018, the Karakter publishing house released the Polish-language version of Don Norman’s well-known and highly regarded book The Design of Everyday Things. The Polish version of the book, i.e The Design of Everyday Things published on the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of the first English-language original. This is a version of a book originally published in 1988, titled The Psychology of Everyday Things. Modernized by Norman himself, the 2013 version has been expanded with current examples, and the main, unchanging idea accompanying Norman is user-centered design human centered design (HCD). The book was hardly available on the Polish market. Due to the fact of great interest, the publishing house decided to print it again.

The father of design, or who?

Don Norman is an American researcher in the field of cognitive science and broadly defined design. Initially he was involved in computer science, and then in mathematical psychology. In his research he undertook cognitive psychology, later focusing on cognitive science in the field of design. Don Norman is the director of the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego. He is a co-owner of the consulting firm Nielsen Norman Group.

For whom the publication is addressed?

Everyday design is a kind of bible of design. The book will be useful for people professionally involved in design. The handbook contains issues devoted to the stages of design, i.e. the key questions facing designers. Norman leans into the errors that result from bad design. The idea that creation must be user-oriented, which involves taking into account people from different cultural backgrounds or adapting to disabilities. The publication touches upon such topics as the psychology of everyday activities, design in the business world, and eliminating errors that result from bad design.

Design requires knowing one’s audience, the solution is psychology, to which the author devotes considerable space in the book. It is the field of science that reveals how people think, remember and reproduce information, how they gather knowledge about the world around them and how they use it. Information about how much we can remember in our cache affects design – there’s a reason PINs, the code to unlock a smartphone, usually have 4 digits.

Form of the book

Undoubtedly, one should also look at the form. White, minimalistic binding with motifs of green and bright orange, which also appears in later parts of the book – Separates chapters and other elements that organize the content of the book: page numbers, chapters, ending with a ribbon that acts as a bookmark. The handbook consists of seven chapters, and each chapter contains between 6 and 13 subsections. Clear and lucid table of contents allows for selective reading, and the whole publication is probably not a book for two evenings, because of the vast amount of knowledge that can be drawn from it. Everyday Design is a great source of knowledge. The author describes the problem extensively, which he supports with an additional bibliography. Numerous anecdotes add color to the publication and undoubtedly give it a kind of lightness that makes it a book not only for designers, but for all of us.

Don Norman’s scientific writings are craftsmanship of a very high quality, but they do not lack accessible language, lightness and a sense of humor, if one can talk about it at all in the context of professional literature. When summarizing the new edition of the book, the author mentions that it is a book adapted to the 21st century, unlike the first publication. He points out that while he was only a researcher when he wrote the first edition, he is now also a consultant to design firms and provides services to giants such as HP and Apple, where he gained even more professional experience, which is reflected in the book. Undoubtedly Design for everyday life is a publication that explains the basic mechanisms of design and explains why we perceive something as convenient and useful. The book is available on the publisher’s website at promotional price 49,00 PLN.

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