TheDesignOfEverydayThings_BookCoverThere were few not so technical books that have made it to my technical reading list last year. One of those was a book called “The Design of Everyday Things”. It can probably be considered a classics for designers, it is also helpful for software developers who do some UI. But it doesn’t harm to read the book even if you have nothing to do with designing anything as it allows to understand how things are designed and why in many cases designer is there to blame and not you when something isn’t working as you were expecting.

For starters, have you even been in situation wondering how that damn thing is working? It could have been a microwave impossible to open or a complicated ticket machine in some country or software written by “lousy” software developers. Just look at the kettle on the book’s cover. Any ideas how to pour water with this kettle?

The book brings many show cases for good and bad design (somewhat dated, though). It explains what a good design means and what are constraints designers have to battle, like time, price and not the least look and feel.

Recently we found out that one of our old applications is not used by users because it is too complicated. At that same time, if used, it could save hours and hours of manual work. It is on our roadmap to rewrite this app, but at least I will have more gear in my tools belt.

I don’t think this is a required reading for software developers, but it definitely enriches your outlook. As a bonus you cal explain your co-workers why a tap in a kitchen is designed is a such and not a different way.

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