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Living with Complexity by Don Norman

Read the first chapter of Don's new book for free by grabbing it here:
Pre-order Living with Complexity on Amazon (available starting in October some time).
Product Description (from Amazon) If only today’s technology were simpler! It’s the universal lament, but it’s wrong. We don't want simplicity. Simple tools are not up to the task. The world is complex; our tools need to match that complexity. Simplicity turns out to be more complex than we thought. In this provocative and informative book, Don Norman writes that the complexity of our technology must mirror the complexity and richness of our lives. It’s not complexity that’s the problem, it’s bad design. Bad design complicates things unnecessarily and confuses us. Good design can tame complexity. Norman gives us a crash course in the virtues of complexity. But even such simple things as salt and pepper shakers, doors, and light switches become complicated when we have to deal with many of them, each somewhat different. Managing complexity, says Norman, is a partnership. Designers have to produce things that tame complexity. But we too have to do our part: we have to take the time to learn the structure and practice the skills. This is how we mastered reading and writing, driving a car, and playing sports, and this is how we can master our complex tools. Complexity is good. Simplicity is misleading. The good life is complex, rich, and rewarding—but only if it is understandable, sensible, and meaningful.
About the Author (from Amazon) Business Week has named Don Norman as one of the world's most influential designers. He has been both a professor and an executive: he was Vice President of Advanced Technology at Apple; his company, the Nielsen Norman Group, helps companies produce human-centered products and services; he has been on the faculty at Harvard, the University of California, San Diego, Northwestern University, and KAIST, in South Korea. He is the author of many books, including The Design of Everyday Things, The Invisible Computer (MIT Press, 1998), Emotional Design, and The Design of Future Things. I am super excited for this book. I hope you are too! See you in January. Thanks, Jason R.

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  • Jason R.

    Pretty good. Too many tangents and off-topic discussions though. Setting up some ground rules for next time to avoid letting the conversation veer too far off course.

    January 14, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thanks for having me, even though I'm not a UX guy (officially). I blogged the book from my perspective, if anyone cares:

    January 7, 2011

  • Mary S.

    This was a very interesting book and discussion.

    January 7, 2011

  • Brian K.

    It was great seeing everyone at the meetup. Its so nice to talk shop with other UX peeps. Im sorry I had to pop out early. See you at the next one! Lets connect on twitter too.

    January 7, 2011

  • A former member
    A former member

    Nearly finished the book. Great stuff!

    January 4, 2011

  • Jason R.

    Hey all, just confirming that this book and date is indeed good to go!

    At our last meeting I mentioned that the book itself hadn't been stocked at Amazon yet, but as I write this, it's in! I got mine a week or so ago, and it's really good!

    November 12, 2010

  • David R.

    I would definitely be interested in reading this book! Simplicity and complexity are critical concepts in design, which have lately been generating lots of opinions in the blogosphere. I think this would be a fantastic discussion.

    September 22, 2010

  • Dani N.

    No problem at all, Jason. Have you read "Content Strategy for the Web" by Kristen Halverson? It's pretty short, a quick read, and definitely a great fit for this group.

    September 19, 2010

  • Jason R.

    Ah, damnit—you're right Dani. Thanks for catching that...

    CORRECTION: The name of Don Norman's book is Living with Complexity.

    Hmmmm, I don't know if I can edit the title of this "idea" that's too bad.

    September 19, 2010

  • Dani N.

    I'm guessing that you mean Living with Complexity, because the other name isn't on that site. I'd be interested in reading it, but could also throw out a few others that I'm currently reading. As for timing, I think every two months is fine. One question I had was this: are the Meetups always at the NERD center? I'm wondering if that might contribute to lower turnouts; I know for myself, I tend to have problems getting over there (Green Line's inconvenient for me). Thoughts?

    September 19, 2010

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