Design Heroes: Don Norman

Posted by:
Caroline Morley

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Have you ever tried to push a door that says PULL? Or vice versa? Known in the design community as Norman Doors, this is one common example of everyday bad design where the signifiers on the door, eg the handles and signs, do not effectively communicate how it should be operated.

Glass doors with handles on both sides.

© Ing Image

Even tech giant Apple, known for its sleek designs and great usability, is not immune to this as there were reportedly several injuries at their new building as employees walked into the glass walls.

But who is Norman? Don Norman is an American engineer known as a key voice in modern user-centred design.

His iconic book – The Design of Everyday Things – looks at how end users of a product take cues on how to use it and how their approach might be entirely different way to how the designers envisaged.

It was first published in 1988 (as The Psychology of Everyday Things) and has since become a title quoted by many designers as having a deep influence on their work philosophy and it is considered a must-read for anyone creating products for other people.

Here is a short interview with Norman as he introduces how his own frustrations as an American living in the UK inspired his work.

Here is a longer talk from Norman explaining how he has moved on from the purely functional to add emotion to design and use it make people happy.

If you are an RBI or RELX employee, the latest updated version of The Design of Everyday Things is available via the Percipio online training hub.

Go to Percipio
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Designers, General Inspiration, UI UX

One response to “Design Heroes: Don Norman”

  1. Damion Damion says:

    Great examples

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