Found in 19 comments on Hacker News
athom · 2024-01-25 · Original thread

A Catalogue of Unfindable Objects, by Jacques Carelman

Perhaps best known for his Coffee Pot for Masochists, featured on the cover of Don Norman's book, The Design of Everyday Things

peterth3 · 2023-09-11 · Original thread
The Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman is a good place to start.

nrclark · 2023-05-13 · Original thread
Don Norman's "The Design Of Everyday Things" was very eye-opening for me. It introduced me to a lot of ideas about the human brain, and about how/why we make mistakes.

This will sound stupid, but that book was the first time I encountered the idea that a brain can just straight up miscalculate and make a mistake. No reason, no explanation. Just your thinking meat did the wrong thing.

Really great book. Very entertaining, and a pretty quick read. I'd recommend it to anybody.

surprisetalk · 2023-04-30 · Original thread
Good leaders thrive on charisma.

Good designers thrive on taste.

To develop taste, study the world. Become an explorer of elegance.

Build things. Watch people struggle with your designs. Listen to their feedback.


Sorry, enough poetry. Here are some links :)

• The Design of Everyday Things:

• Visual Display of Quantitative Information:

• 99% Invisible:

Leftium · 2021-08-18 · Original thread
Very good course (teaches UX from fundamentals):

Currently it costs $75, but Udemy often has coupons/promotions for up to 95% off (I registered for $15). This course is normally $5000+. It is very thorough and well-explained. Like 20+ hours of video lectures, slides and full transcripts. Also the instructor is very responsive and active in the course's private FB group.

This course is shorter and more focused on web UI (vs more general UX):

You can probably find resources for free, but then you might end up paying with your time. If you're really strapped for cash, I suggest borrowing books from the library: free and probably better than a lot of the low-cost/free resources online.

Don Norman's is one of the most respected UI/UX researchers. His book is used to teach UI at universities:

Don Norman also contributed to Apple's HIG, which is actually a very good free online resource:

There might also be some good open courseware like this:

kebman · 2020-10-03 · Original thread
I don't have a TV, only a few monitors (it's very liberating, actually). So instead I'll talk about my microwave. Yes, unironically! :D It has two dials. OMG how do I survive with only two dials? How do I program it? Well, the answer is, unsurprisingly, that I don't program it. Instead I crank it to watever wattage I need (usually the top one), and the time I think it'll take until the food I becomes hot. Aaaand that's it. No programming. No fiddling or mindlessly pushing buttons in the hopes of finding the right one. Only two dials. One for wattage (power output), and the other for time. I think it's really great. There's even some indicators on the Watt-dial for thawing and stuff like that, but I seldom need it, so I usually just keep it rested on 800W. It's the required wattage for most TV dinners anyway. And hot pockets. Don't forget hot pockets guys. How would I survive without...... If you didn't get it, this is actually a post about UIs, and how much I love the book The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman.[1]


dmix · 2019-10-20 · Original thread
Design has always been a balance of usability and the emotional connection we create through our products.

I find most designers go through two phases, starting out they are very free form and fancy-graphics-for-the-sake-of-graphics approach, mostly because they can, which is where all newbies start. Then they learn about usability/functional design after reading something like "Design of Everyday Things" [1] which does a great job of selling why the functional nature of the product matters first-and-foremost as much or more as the way it looks. This is the first step in being a good and useful designer.

But people don't realize that same author Don Norman released an equally important book called "Emotional Design" [2] which digs deeper into why something like an Apple product is not only easy-to-use but is designed in such that it melds into our life cleanly, it goes beyond just being a useful tool to where it becomes part of our identity and we treat it like a piece of art.

The mature designers learn that good design goes beyond merely simplifying a 5 click process down to 2 (for example), towards crafting something that creates an emotional connection with the people buying it. For example: sometimes adding an extra 3rd step which communicates information or eases anxiety in the user is more important than the lowest amount of clicks/time to action is completed.

Yet most usability-obsessed designs would dismiss this as unnecessary distraction when the immediate 'conversion' should be 100% the goal, instead of realizing the wider emotional experience that exists in these same processes. It's easy to get someone to click a red button over a black one for psychological reasons, but it takes good design to have it naturally flow as part of the goal in the users mind at the time, which helps create a solid long-term connection with the customer.

The type of relationship where people recommend your product to others, not just solving their problem quickly and forgetting it.

This is the more abstract and intuitive part of design that reaches beyond what the more scientific approach to usability and functional design can achieve by itself. That's were things like aesthetics, colour, copywriting, and the whole experience buying the product and interacting with the company comes in. The stuff that seems like excess in a totally functional perspective. This is what turns a product from merely more useful than the rest of the market into something that is coveted and sought-out by customers when they see the brand name or designer behind it. It's the attention to the details and experience of the humans using your product, not just robots greased to the credit card page the quickest.

Most software/hardware sucks at even getting the functional parts down, which is why it gets hyped up and valued so much - which is fine, that's where the lowest hanging fruit will remain. But that doesn't mean it stops there.



atombender · 2019-06-27 · Original thread
Indeed, and I don't like that "design" is thrown around as a synonym for aesthetics.

For a good book about what design is: The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman [1].


myguysi · 2019-05-07 · Original thread
UX is a huge field with a lot of entry points so it’s difficult so suggest a single resource to start with.

However I’d suggest that coming from an engineering background, you might find joy in learning about user testing first as that’s usually a big eye-opener that helps you understand why the field of UX design is important.

A classic book to start with is “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug[0], which covers usability testing and even how to conduct a session yourself.

Then there’s “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman[1], whom many consider the ‘father’ of the modern field of UX. That one can be a bit dense though.

If you want to think like a designer, then learning about Design Thinking[2] is a good place to start.

Hope that helps!




machtesh · 2018-11-29 · Original thread
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

skittleson · 2018-02-11 · Original thread
Working Effectively with legacy code ( and The Design of Everyday Things ( )

Both have a huge impact on how I work with code and design them. Trying to explain these concepts are hard without context. Sometimes i just copy/paste the sections i think they could benefit from.

ankyth27 · 2018-02-08 · Original thread
Here are some: 1) Don't make me think twice: 2) 100 things every designer must know: 3) Design of everyday things:

While UI/UX is more of a field where you get better by practice and observation, yet these books can surely help you build a solid foundation.

taeric · 2017-09-15 · Original thread
This seems to be blurring a use of "design". Not all design is chrome on top of things. Some literally leads to better use. Some design is required for safe use.

I think it is oversold, but the book "Design of Everyday Things"[1] goes over this for many common items. There is a long section on doors with many interesting points to consider.


onli · 2017-08-22 · Original thread
If you like that article, you might also like Donald Normans The Design of Everyday Things, It has a lot more examples for these kind of bad designs, and it also explains why these designs are bad and what makes a good design. I can't recommend it enough, everyone that ever might design a product or a GUI should have read it.
ErikAugust · 2016-01-13 · Original thread
Don Norman would claim it is the designer who is at fault:

Interesting discussion in itself.

nathan-muir · 2015-07-02 · Original thread
The Design of everyday things [1] (Found on Coding Horror's recommended reading [2]) was crucial in understanding how people intuitively interact with the world around them - including your web application - based on the visual cue's you provide.

While this article provides some metaphorical fish - I found the Design of everyday things helps you become a fisherman.

EDIT: Swapped the order of references.



dmix · 2014-11-18 · Original thread
Right, many software devs have read The Design of Everyday Things [0] and understand the value of usability. But they didn't read Don Norman's follow up book Emotional Design [1] which explains that usability is only 50% of the answer - emotion is the other 50%. And emotion often means pretty, or at the minimum a positive UX.



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