Don Norman

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Don Norman
Donald Norman at AWF05.jpg
Norman at the About, With and For conference in 2005
Born (1935-12-25) December 25, 1935 (age 78)
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Cognitive science
Usability engineering
Institutions Nielsen Norman Group
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Alma mater MIT
University of Pennsylvania
Thesis Sensory Thresholds And Response Biases In Detection Experiments, A Theoretical And Experimental Analysis (1962)
Doctoral advisor R. Duncan Luce
Known for The Design of Everyday Things
Cognitive ergonomics
User-centered design

Donald Arthur "Don" Norman (born December 25, 1935) is an academic in the field of cognitive science, design and usability engineering and a co-founder and consultant with the Nielsen Norman Group. He is the author of the book The Design of Everyday Things.

Much of Norman's work involves the advocacy of user-centered design.[1] His books all have the underlying purpose of furthering the field of design, from doors to computers. Norman has recently taken a controversial stance in saying that the design research community has had little impact in the innovation of products, and that whereas academics can help in refining existing products, it is technologists that accomplish the breakthroughs.[2]

Norman splits his time between co-directing the dual-degree MBA and Engineering program at Northwestern University and consulting with the Nielsen Norman Group. Norman announced that he would no longer teach full-time after the 2009-2010 academic year.[3]

Norman is an active Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology where he spends two months a year teaching. He also holds the title of Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego.[4]

He is on numerous educational, private, and public sector advisory boards including the editorial board of Encyclopædia Britannica.

Early academics[edit]

In 1957 Norman received an Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) from MIT. Norman continued through college until 1962, in the process earning M.S. in EECS and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.

After graduating, Norman took up a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard University and within a year became a Lecturer.

After four years with the Center, Norman took a position as an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Norman applied his training as an engineer and computer scientist, and as an experimental and mathematical psychologist, to the emerging discipline of cognitive science. Norman eventually became founding chair of the Department of Cognitive Science and chair of the Department of Psychology.

At UCSD, Norman was a founder of the Institute for Cognitive Science and one of the organizers of the Cognitive Science Society (along with Roger Schank, Allan Collins, and others), which held its first meeting at the UCSD campus in 1979.[4]

Together with psychologist Tim Shallice, Norman proposed a framework of attentional control of executive functioning. One of the components of the Norman-Shallice model is the supervisory attentional system.[5]

Cognitive engineering career[edit]

Norman made the transition from cognitive science to cognitive engineering by entering the field as a consultant and writer. The article "The Trouble with Unix" in Datamation (1981) catapulted him to a position of prominence in the computer world.[6] Soon after, his career took off outside of academia, although he still remained active at UCSD until 1993. Norman continued his work to further human centered design by serving on numerous University and Government advisory boards such as with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He currently serves on numerous committees and advisory boards like at Motorola, the Toyota Information Technology Center, TED Conference, Panasonic, Encyclopædia Britannica and many more.

Norman published several important books during his time at UCSD, one of which, User Centered System Design, obliquely referred to the university in the initials of its title.

In 1993, Norman left UCSD to join Apple Computer, initially as an Apple Fellow as a User Experience Architect (The first to use the phrase User Experience in a title), and then as the Vice President of the Advanced Technology Group. He later worked for Hewlett-Packard before joining with Jakob Nielsen to form the Nielsen Norman Group in 1998. He returned to academia as a professor of computer science at Northwestern University where he is co-Director of the Segal Design Institute.

Norman has received many awards for his work. He received an honorary degree from the University of Padua in Padua, Italy. In 2001 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, and in 2006 received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science.[7]

User-centered design[edit]

In his book The Design of Everyday Things, Norman uses the term "user-centered design" to describe design based on the needs of the user, leaving aside what he deems secondary issues like aesthetics. User-centered design involves simplifying the structure of tasks, making things visible, getting the mapping right, exploiting the powers of constraint, designing for error, explaining affordances and seven stages of action.

Quotes[edit]

  • "Academics get paid for being clever, not for being right."[8]
  • "When you get paid $100 an hour, people expect you to do real work. When you get paid $1000 an hour, people only expect you to have lunch with the CEO."

Partial bibliography[edit]

Psychology[edit]

  • Human information processing: An introduction to psychology (1972) in collaboration with Peter H. Lindsay (first author)[9]
  • Memory and attention (1977)
  • Learning and memory (1982)

Usability[edit]

  • Direct manipulation interfaces (1985) in collaboration with E. L. Hutchins (first author) and J.D. Hollan
  • User Centered System Design: New Perspectives on Human-Computer Interaction (1986) (editor in collaboration with Stephen Draper)
  • The Design of Everyday Things (1988, originally under the title The Psychology of Everyday Things) (Newprint 2002)
  • Turn signals are the facial expressions of automobiles (1992)
  • Things That Make Us Smart (1993)
  • The Invisible Computer (1998)
  • Emotional Design (2004)
  • The Design of Future Things (2007)
  • Living with Complexity, (2010)
  • Defending Human Attributes in the Age of the Machine CD-ROM by the Voyager Company combining Design of Every Day Things, Turn signals are the facial expressions of automobiles, Things That Make Us Smart, and various technical reports (1994)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zachry, Mark (October 2005). "An Interview with Donald Norman". Technical Communication Quarterly. 14(4): 469. 
  2. ^ Norman, Donald. "Technology First, Needs Last". Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ Norman, Donald. "My change of status". Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Norman, Donald. "Donald Norman Curriculum Vitae". Retrieved January 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ Friedenberg, Jay; Gordon Silverman (2010). Cognitive Science: An Introduction of the Study of Mind. United States of America: SAGE Publications. pp. 180–182. ISBN 978-1-4129-7761-6. 
  6. ^ Norman, Donald (1981). The trouble with UNIX: The user interface is horrid. Datamation, 27, No. 12, 139-150. 
  7. ^ "Donald A. Norman". Laureate Database. The Franklin Institute Awards. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  8. ^ Annual conference. Google Books. 2010-12-21. Retrieved 2011-06-24. 
  9. ^ "Human Information Processing: An Introduction to Psychology by Peter H. Lindsay, Donald A. Norman Author(s) of Review: Gregg C. Oden, Lola L. Lopes The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 110, No. 4 (Winter, 1997), pp. 635-641 doi:10.2307/1423414 at JSTOR, an online journal archive made available to researchers through participating libraries and institutions. Subscription."

External links[edit]

Awards
Preceded by
Barbara Mirel
ACM SIGDOC Rigo Award
2001
Succeeded by
Stephen Doheny-Farina
Preceded by
Aravind Joshi
Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science
2006
Succeeded by
Stuart Card