Books by Don Norman
Don Norman has a standalone category because his words are special. We’re talking about the man who pioneered what we know as UX. Don Norman is one of the best resources you will ever encounter. God-like status, yes 😏? His books will cause your perspective to shift for the better.
- The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition: I’m certain that you must have heard about the Design of Everyday Things. Someone out there must have recommended it to you. It’s a great book. You’ll learn so much about design and the importance of Research and psychology.
- Emotional Design: Emotion is the yucky, touchy subject we often try to avoid. Often, we tell ourselves that emotions are irrational, that exhibiting and using them to make decisions is nonsense. Sometimes, we even try to attribute emotions as the reason why a certain gender (*coughs* women) are irrational and not leadership-worthy 🙄🙄🙄. But emotions are genderless. Norman, in Emotional Design, argues that they motivate most decisions we make and affect how people adopt products and services.
- Living with complexity: There are articles, courses and materials that always advocate for simple solutions to complex problems. It’s great how we want to make things easy for people to use. Nevertheless, ease doesn’t always translate to simplicity. In this book, Don Norman argues that complication and simplicity are in the mind. Depending on the context, complexity should overrun simplicity.
- Just Enough Research | Erika Hall: Erika Hall’s Just Enough Research zeros in on the types of research, research methods and how to get stakeholder buy-in for design research. I totally recommend it.
- Hidden in plain sight | Jan Chipchase: User Research can capture behaviours and attitudes. Read Hidden in Plain Sight and you’ll journey on an ethnographic adventure; Jan Chipchase’s treat. You’ll also learn a bit about business, adoption, threshold maps — which I find very interesting — and how they relate to UX Research.
- Atomic Design | Brad Frost: This book is about UI and Design systems but I feel a lot can be borrowed from the Atomic Design principle. Besides, it’s a good way to understand how UI design works. The idea behind atomic design is to design UI components as parts of the whole. Systems thinking: that’s what makes it special. (In the future, I’m going to delve into service design and research-focused leadership. This book makes me think of service design) The chapters I recommend are:
- Chapter 1: Designing Systems
- Chapter 2: Atomic Design Methodology
- Chapter 4: The Atomic Workflow (Has some really cool tips on how to improve stakeholder buy-in)
- Interviewing users: How to uncover compelling insights | Steve Portigal: This is a great guide for conducting Interviews. Interviews are one of the most versatile methods you must get right! Steve Portigal explores the ins and outs of interviewing and how they can mingle with other methods.
- Don’t make me think | Steve Krug: All about usability. First off, I love how intuitive the book is especially how the footnotes come immediately after the citation. Steve Krug writes on Usability Testing for websites and mobile apps.
- Universal methods of Design: 100 ways to research complex problems… | Bella Martin & Bruce Hanington: Great reference material for all the UX Research methods in the wild, Universal Methods of Design will acquaint you with most UX Research methods and when to use them throughout the product development cycle.
Some thought-provoking papers I think you’ll benefit from.
- Changing Design Education for the 21st Century | Michael Meyers & Don Norman: Design education needs to change! Norman and Meyers recommend a curriculum for it.
- The Science of “Muddling Through” | Charles E. Lindblom: One principle of Human-Centred Design is using small incremental steps to solve complex problems. This paper teaches the art of muddling through.
- Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology | Virginia Braun & Victoria Clarke: Learn how to analyse qualitative data with the thematic analysis technique.