Do you know a job hard to explain, hard to do and usually underestimate? Of course, I’m talking about the job of designer 😊
What do I know about it? Almost nothing, like anybody after reading a book. This book is the bible in this area: the design of everyday things, by Don Norman. Let me share with you a short feedback about it.
The design of everyday software?
As Scott said, like for any topic, “When you’re outside an area of expertise looking in, it can often seem monolithic and uniform, but when you’re an insider you quickly realize that there are many different subcommunities, each with different specialties and different approaches.”
I tend to oversimplify the job of designers, mainly because I lack knowledge about it. And this book helped me to understand something really important: building Software is Design, and we have tons of things to learn from their practices. And to be fair, people like Johan Martinsson and Alex Bolboaca have already talk and share a lot about this.
Basically, you can replace almost everywhere in the book “Designer” by “Developer,” and it still makes sense.
It resonates a lot with my daily work
This book is well written and a pleasure to read. It starts by talking about psychology, then about the fallacy of accusing the user before accusing the design. In other words, “Read The Fucking Manual” is not an acceptable answer, because who read the manual? People that are not able to use your product the first time, and still are forced to use it. When was the last time that you read the user manual from your phone or any online application, you’re using?
The assumption that a good design can remove the very risk of errors is absolutely powerful, both in design and software.
The end of the book talks about the (hard) collaboration with the marketing to build a product, and I’m sure it would remind you many anecdotes as well!
Go read it
This book is a reference in the design world but should be as much a reference in the software world. If you haven’t done it already, you can add it on your list of books to read!