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The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman. It talks about good and bad design in everyday objects through lots of enlightening and amusing stories and examples (doors that look like you should push them but you actually have to pull, mixing boards with dozens of identical knobs, aircraft software that hides important state information, etc). It provides some interesting insights from cognitive science and psychology too. It definitely made me a lot more conscious of how I went about making things that people would use and how those things could effectively communicate through their design what should be done with them. This also had an impact into how I went about communicating in general.


Without a doubt. The big takeaway from the book is that when you encounter something that's hard to use, it's not your fault for not knowing how to use it. It's the thing's fault for being badly designed. Read this book.

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