Donald Norman

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Donald Norman

Donald Arthur Norman (born December 25, 1935[1]) is a professor emeritus of cognitive science at University of California, San Diego and a Professor of Computer Science at Northwestern University, where he also co-directs the dual degree MBA + Engineering degree program between the Kellogg school and Northwestern Engineering. He is on numerous company advisory boards including the editorial board of Encyclopædia Britannica. He currently splits his time between consulting and his teaching and writing at Northwestern from his homes in Evanston, Illinois and Palo Alto, California.

Many of Norman's books deal mostly with usability or with cognitive psychology, but Things That Make Us Smart also makes a few remarks of critical nature regarding our society. In particular Norman dislikes the content-less nature of television and bad museum exhibits. Lately he has tended to focus on the positive. He loves products which are enjoyable to use, a feature which he attributes to putting together emotion and design, or heart and mind. He has explained this in detail in his book Emotional Design.

He is a promoter of the concept of information appliances, which he has covered in his book The Invisible Computer.

His newest book The Design of Future Things deals with the role of automation in the home and automobile.

He co-founded the Nielsen Norman Group, a consulting group on matters of usability which also includes Jakob Nielsen and Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini.


[edit] Career

Norman received an S.B. in EECS from MIT in 1957,[2] and a Doctor of Philosophy in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. After a few years at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard University, Norman came to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 1966, first as a professor in the psychology department. Although he started as an experimental and mathematical psychologist, Norman's focus shifted to cognitive science. At UCSD, Norman was a founder of the Institute for Cognitive Science and one of the organizers of the Cognitive Science Society (along with Roger Schank, Allan Collins, and others), which held its first meeting at the UCSD campus in 1979. Norman published several important books during his time at UCSD, one of which, "User Centered System Design," obliquely referred to the university in the initials of its title. In 1986, he became the founding chair of a new cognitive science department.

In 1995, Norman left UCSD to join Apple Computer, initially as an Apple Fellow, and then as the Vice President of the Advanced Technology Group. He later worked for Hewlett-Packard before joining with Jakob Nielsen to form the Nielsen Norman Group in 1998. He returned to academia as a professor of computer science at Northwestern University where he is co-Director of the Segal Design Institute.

Norman has received many awards for his work. He received an honorary degree from the University of Padua in Padua, Italy. In 2001 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, and in 2006 received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science.[3]

[edit] User centered design

In his book The Design of Everyday Things, originally called "The Psychology of Everyday Things," Norman describes the psychology behind what he deems 'good' and 'bad' design, through case studies, and proposes design principles. He exalts the importance of design in our everyday lives, and the consequences of errors caused by bad design.

In the book, Norman uses the term "user-centered design" to describe design based on the needs of the user, leaving aside what he deems secondary issues like aesthetics. User-centered design involves simplifying the structure of tasks, making things visible, getting the mapping right, exploiting the powers of constraint, designing for error, explaining affordances and seven stages of action.

Other topics of the book include:

  • The Psychology of Everyday Things
  • The Psychology of Everyday Actions
  • Knowledge in the Head and in the World
  • Knowing What to Do
  • To Err Is Human
  • The Design Challenge

[edit] Partial bibliography

[edit] Psychology

  • Human information processing: An introduction to psychology (1972) in collaboration with Peter H. Lindsay (first author)[4]
  • Memory and attention (1977)
  • Learning and memory (1982)

[edit] Usability

  • Direct manipulation interfaces (1985) in collaboration with E. L. Hutchins (first author) and J.D. Hollan
  • User Centered System Design: New Perspectives on Human-Computer Interaction (1986) (editor in collaboration with Stephen Draper)
  • The Design of Everyday Things (1988, originally under the title The Psychology of Everyday Things) (Newprint 2002)
  • Turn signals are the facial expressions of automobiles (1992)
  • Things That Make Us Smart (1993)
  • The Invisible Computer (1999)
  • Emotional Design (2004)
  • The Design of Future Things (2007)

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Time Almanac 2008
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Human Information Processing: An Introduction to Psychology by Peter H. Lindsay, Donald A. Norman Author(s) of Review: Gregg C. Oden, Lola L. Lopes The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 110, No. 4 (Winter, 1997), pp. 635-641 doi:10.2307/1423414 at JSTOR, an online journal archive made available to researchers through participating libraries and institutions. Subscription."

[edit] External links

Preceded by
Barbara Mirel
Succeeded by
Stephen Doheny-Farina
Preceded by
Aravind Joshi
Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science
Succeeded by
Stuart Card
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