I’m currently in my fourth class that requires The Design of Everyday Things as a required book. (Don’t believe me? Human-Computer Interaction, UNO … Human Factors, UNO … Interface Design & Development, CMU … Methods: Deciding What to Design, CMU. Ha.) Don’t get me wrong, I like the book. When I was first feeling out the field of HCI, I was talking to this guy about my Psych / Computer Science double major, and he recommended this book, and it was a good fit for me.

The issue I have is whether or not this book is actually teaching what the professors want it to teach. In IID and Human Factors, the applicability was immediate since the topic of the courses was the usability / interaction style / etc. of tangible, everyday objects. My HCI course took those lessons and applied them to software, which is also very reasonable.

My concern lies in a Software Engineering class giving its students the Design of Everyday Things, making them do a homework assignment on it, and expecting them to understand (or at least appreciate) usability and everything that goes into evaluating it as a result. We are devoting one day to summative methods of usability in this class. One day. Will Norman’s book really be enough to give the students an appreciation of usability? Or is there a better book out there for this circumstance?

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  1. On October 25th, 2005 at 11:55 pm, Jenn said:

    I believe that no single book can give an absolute view on usability or replace the “doing” for that matter. It’s the experience of actually doing the HCI methods and lessons learned from them.

    Speaking of which, where did my Norman book go…

What do you think?