Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things Summary

The SQUEEZE: Have you ever wondered why Macintosh computer sales soared when the company introduced the colorful iMac? Have you ever considered why people believe that cheap wine has a better taste in a fancy wine glass? These are some of the questions that Donald A. Norman answers in Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things. In the book, Norman suggests that “emotional design” is a type of concept that offers insight about the influence of objects and how they evoke a certain feeling and contribute to a willingness in an individual to spend money on high-priced items. Norman believes that aesthetically pleasing objects appear more effective because of their sensual appeal. Norman suggests that the development of new designs should be based upon the ABC model of attitudes which references three levels: visceral, behavioral, and reflective. Norman’s Emotional Design is a must-read for both industrial designers and manufacturers.

Notable Endorsement: "Amazing.... Norman does a wonderful job making these ideas come alive." -- Daniel Bobrow, Research Fellow, Palo Alto Research Center

Common Q’s Answered by this Book:

  • What is the link between the visceral, behavioral, and reflective levels?
  • How does the appeal of objects influence the willingness to spend money?
  • What is the link between the sales of a product and its design?

About the Author: Donald A. Norman is a research professional in the fields of cognitive science and design and usability engineering. Norman is the co-founder and serves as a consultant to the Nielsen Norman Group. In much of his writing, Norman believes that the design research community hasn’t had much impact in terms of contributing to the innovation of new products. Norman believes that academics can offer their expertise towards the refining of existing products. Norman is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology where he also teaches. Norman holds the title of Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Science with the University of California, San Diego. Norman completed a bachelor’s degree from MIT; and a master’s degree and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Book Vitals:

Publisher: Basic Books (May 2005)

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