Core77 book reviews

June 11, 2011 — Leave a comment
Robert Blinn wrote a review on Core77 on the latest book by Donald Norman: Living with Complexity.

“While his book doesn’t exactly provide hard and fast rules for taming complexity, it does a very good job of framing the problem. After all, when the aspects of a problem are laid out clearly, problems begin to appear progressively less complex. Along the way, as Norman explains the problem, his text is accompanied by the usual assortment of author photographs of awkward and difficult devices. Digressing from the paradoxical nature of choosing from two rolls of toilet paper in a public restaurant to the “desire lines” caused by human behavior (creases in books and dead spots in public meadows where people walk), Norman covers social signifiers. He addresses forcing functions, grouping and countless other design/behavior problems. Norman even devotes an entire chapter to the nature of waiting in line (nearly every hospital does it wrong, and our recent visit to the Apple store on Prince Street showed that even Apple had stopped listing the names and timing of those in the queue, much to this reviewer’s consternation).”

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Robert Blinn also reviewed Jon Kolko’s new book Exposing the Magic of Design (amazon) for Core77:

“Kolko’s book is subtitled “A Practitioner’s Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis,” and this reviewer joked that it sounded like an undergraduate film or semiotics course. Kolko himself states that “the ability to ‘be playful’ is critical to achieve deep and meaningful synthesis,” but the tenor of the tome is far from the giant grin the author wears while using carrots as a “phone” on the cover of his previous work. Exposing the Magic of Design is blunt, direct, serious and self-assured. At less than 200 pages and full of diagrams, processes and methods, Kolko certainly didn’t have time for any hand-holding. In this era of easy distraction, Exposing the Magic‘s interaction design requires complete attention. Perhaps that’s the way the author meant it.”

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