#34: Don Norman


Don Norman is a cognitive scientist and designer. He is perhaps best known for his book The Design of Everyday Things. This was a landmark work which detailed the fundamentals of human-centered design. It is a conception of design not just based on how things looks, but how people think. And while this book has been most influential among designers and other practitioners, its origin is in Don's work as a cognitive scientist. Throughout his career he has found himself in many of the most exciting times and places in the field's history, including the Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard, led by George Miller and Jerome Bruner, and in the very first years of UC San Diego's department of cognitive science. In this episode we talk about Don's career, his process for finding and learning about big ideas, the difference between academics and practitioners, the cognitive science origins of Don's design work, how Don went about crafting his style of prose, and a host of other topics. It's a fun one.


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"The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."

-Bertrand Russell