The Design of Everyday Things

This is one of those books that has been on my “recommended design-related reading” list for ages. It is extremely relevant to designers of any field, game designers included, mainly in the realm of the importance of usability. Aspiring game designers, read this book!

It’s pretty interesting to read now through the lens of the future (the original was written in 1988) and seeing how the author’s predictions about the future have come true. Basically he longed for the iPhone. Thinking about electronics now compared to those of the late 80s, I wonder how many designers “grew up” on this book and came into design with usability as a priority.

Anyway, much of it was reiterating what I had learned about playtesting through other means, while providing a more systematic framework for thinking about usable design. Every time I use a public restroom now I consider whether the automatic faucets have been “playtested,” and I feel like I appreciate a well designed object much more when I run into one. I also finally learned what those weird little gates are in stairwells that lead to the basement level.