Emotional Design

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Front cover of Emotional Design, by Donald Norman

I started reading Donald Norman‘s Emotional Design today. I have not read anything from him since college, so I thought this 2004 publication might give me a good refresher.

Norman is well known from his book, The Design of Everyday Things. I remember being intrigued by his thoughts on why we love or hate the objects in our lives. But, as Norman points out in his forward, if you made him your only master you had “functional but ugly” objects. The good news is that most people do not seem to adopt the mindset of a single individual, but instead remix the work of many others with personal experiences to construct a set of truths all their own.

More good news is that Norman has gone ahead and integrated a critical component of how people understand the world – emotion. As a side note, this reminds me about a different book I keep seeing at the local Barnes and Noble, Beyond Reason: Using emotions as you negotiate. People have an emotional filter, but often fail to acknowledge its presence – rationalizing facts hopefully justifying feelings. It will be interesting to see if Norman’s recent work offers me more than the obvious.