Donald Norman — Everyday Things

I was especially young and impressionable when I discovered Don Norman‘s The Design of Everyday Things, but I still claim it’s required reading for anybody who’s read more than one post here at MaisonBisson. That’s self selection at work, but let me put it this way: unless you’re the only consumer of the things you create, then you need to read this. Now.

I feel foolish to have only recently discovered Norman’s website and essays. It’s there that I found he’s giving the commencement address today at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering Professional Masters Programs. He summarizes his prepared statement thusly:

If you work very hard, perhaps you too can get a silly hat like this (wearing my silly racoon-tail hat from the University of Padua). What is the moral? Take your work seriously, so someone might award you the hat (and the honorary degree that goes with it). But, as the hat illustrates, never take yourself seriously: strive to do things that matter, that make a difference, but have fun while doing so.

It’s cutesie, but I kinda like the message, and not just because today is also my birthday and I’m especially susceptible to schmaltz. Eh…