Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Review - The Design of EveryDay Things by Donald Norman

I recently finished reading this book. It is a worthwhile read. Although not all of the aspirations of the author are realistic(atleast for the area of software), its good to aspire for what is ideal.

After reading this book, one important thing is that you will start appreciating the beauty of design even in the simplest thing like a safety pin or needle. You will also realize that not all newer versions are improved designs since there are so many factors contributing in production of a new product, its not always true that the latest is the greatest.

One needs to go by the old thumb rule that you are best Judge when you have the knowledge, so get the knowledge and decide for yourself.

The beauty of the book is in the way author communicates his ideas with the simplest things around us and with the excellent examples like door bars, water faucets, motor panel design, the mapping of vertical movement with the circular steering wheel.

There is one part of the book, which talks about how digital clock is better than analog. Whoever invented the concept of having 2 needles for the clock and why it is hard to teach a child to read a clock. Interesting things which typically we would not notice or care to observe.

Assuming that the author wrote this book in early 90s, his expectation about computer design to evolve to solve the actual problem rather than becoming a part of the problem is to some extent true if you see in today's progressed computer world. But we are still long way from becoming as advanced and perfect as a motor industry and this will take its time. The ideal day would be when using a computer becomes like using electric current, to solve the problem - lighting the bulbs and lamps, cooling for refrigerator, heating for iron . But the computer world is a lot different from the other worlds so coming times will tell us how best they evolve into.

I like reads like this , since they enhance your view or improve your perspective about what is around you, they make you more cognizant human being ultimately.