Living with Complexity

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MIT Press, Oct 29, 2010 - Technology & Engineering - 308 pages
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Why we don't really want simplicity, and how we can learn to live with complexity.

If only today's technology were simpler! It's the universal lament, but it's wrong. 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. 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.


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User Review  - HGButchWalker - LibraryThing

Good discussion of the complexities of making things simpler. Certainly a good introduction for those who design in a world where experience is now king. Read full review

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in the library via pdf 7 day view


1 Living with Complexity
2 Simplicity Is in the Mind
3 How Simple Things Can Complicate Our Lives
4 Social Signifiers
5 Design in Support of People
6 Systems and Services
7 The Design of Waits
8 Managing Complexity
9 The Challenge

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About the author (2010)

Business Week has named Don Norman 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; and 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), Emotional Design, and The Design of Future Things.

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