HN Academy

The best online courses of Hacker News.

Hacker News Comments on
Intro to the Design of Everyday Things

Udacity · 87 HN points · 7 HN comments

HN Academy has aggregated all Hacker News stories and comments that mention Udacity's "Intro to the Design of Everyday Things" .
Course Description

This course will provide you with the insight to start recognizing the role of design in today’s world, and to start making better design decisions in your own life.

HN Academy Rankings
  • Ranked #20 all time · view
Provider Info
This course is offered on the Udacity platform.
HN Academy may receive a referral commission when you make purchases on sites after clicking through links on this page. Most courses are available for free with the option to purchase a completion certificate.
See also: all Reddit discussions that mention this course at

Hacker News Stories and Comments

All the comments and stories posted to Hacker News that reference this url.
There is also a Udacity course by Don Norman around this book. I haven't taken it yet but it is on my list.

I've recently taken a Udacity course "Intro to the Design of Everyday Things"[0] and jotted down a preliminary summary[1].

Here are some of the tools they listed:

+ Hybrid paper/digital tools to animate paper pictures:



* Apple Keynote

* MS PowerPoint

* Google Presentation



+ HTML5 prototypes:




+ Misc:







Design of everyday object is really great and I cannot recommend it enough.

Udacity also has a mooc that follows the book and is taught by the author

About "The Design of Everyday Things", there is also a course on Udacity based on the book:
Jun 01, 2015 · melling on Taste for Makers (2002)
I wish I'd known 20 years ago how important design was going to be. Getting my 10,000 hours of design isn't going to be easy. I started this course a few days ago on Udacity:

And I'm using this subredit to learn how to draw:

And Don Norman has a new (and free!) MOOC on Udacity on that very same topic:

I have the same problem with UI. I am more of a technical person but would like to get better at design and layout. When I visit some of HN members' web sites I am always amazed at the way they look: clean and polished. I just wish I could do that kind of stuff! I will take the Udacity MOOC for a start. Thanks to other members for their suggestions on this thread.

UI is pretty technical design. If you want to learn more about the aspect of it, the best thing you can do is learn design basics, typography, for example would make a big impact on your design work.
Dec 18, 2013 · 1 points, 0 comments · submitted by olivercameron
Dec 18, 2013 · 82 points, 17 comments · submitted by dmazin
+1 for a short course. Much easier to fit in in a busy schedule.
And an at-your-own-pace course!

What's going on with the Udacity website? I've tried disabling all script blockers and it still isn't working, half the links do nothing. Even getting what looks like AngularJS code showing on the page. e.g. {{hovered}}


Seems it doesn't play well with DoNotTrackMe addon.

There is another one, more thorough, on coursera: , also based partly on Norman's book. Is anyone able to compare them?
I'm taking notes for this course, if anyone wants to read them:

I covered lesson 1 tonight.

Nice - thanks for sharing!
I've started reading the book. The self-promotion and anectotal evidence of bad design made it impossible for me to finish it. Nonetheless I'm looking forward to the course.
I read the book about fifteen years ago, during my Code Complete bibliography binge. I remember it every time I start the wrong burner on a stove.

After the Google-sponsored web game class, I'm a bit skeptical of Udacity's commercial tie-in classes. Loved the AI class that started it all, and really enjoyed Peter Norvig's Design of a Computer Program class, but the Google class? Not so much.

Not sure what to make of this class being only two weeks. I guess it's a relatively small investment, even if it ends up being an infomercial.

Seems like a really short course. Anyone know why?

(Their email says 8 hours; the website says 16)

Just saw Don Norman speak and he said most MOOC courses are way too long and lose most of their students. Seemed like a reasonable design critique.
I wonder about the design choice of commencing a week before Christmas.
Not a terrible choice. Most people are free from school and work around this time. With the course being short, it should be doable during the holiday break.
Mea culpa for the "ATM machine" error with "MOOC courses."
Don Norman looks impressively uncomfortable in his photo.
You are mistaken. His body language seems more like a guru/teacher appeal.
I'm sure you are right and I didn't mean any disrespect. Just a casual observation.
Check out this post for previous discussion and hype about the course
Aug 30, 2013 · reledi on Learning how to think
After taking an HCI course and reading The Design of Everyday Things, I also notice poorly designed things quite often.

BTW, there's a free course based off that book starting this fall:

This might not be the best place to mention this, but here goes anyway: I started reading The Design of Everyday Things, but I've been disappointed so far. To be fair, I'm only 50 pages in, but I haven't read anything mind blowing in any way yet. The book so far has been a compendium of author's anecdotes regarding poorly designed things/systems/manuals/etc. I certainly agree with what he says, absolutely. At the same time though, it doesn't keep my attention because it just seems like story after story, no logical foundation that he's building for creating a well-designed product.

Here's to hoping it gets better!

Have you gotten to affordances yet? I recall that being the major "foundational" takeaway for me (i.e., affordances, via their physical form, communicate to a user what actions can, cannot, must, or must not be taken).
That and the Mythical Man Month were duds for me. I never understood why they were so highly regarded amongst engineers.
I feel the same way about Code Complete. I tried to read it but just couldn't force myself to as much of it seemed obvious. Maybe back in the day it was as amazing as people say.
They aren't duds. The problem is that they are so influential that every newcomer already knows whats they say, just by virtue of learning their trade after the books were written.
TV Tropes (!) of all places has a great explanation, applied to comedy:
Remember this was written in the eighties, Norman's discourse on mental models was transformative not just within the field of IT, but the entire field of psychology. Before psychologists thought people used logic to make inferences about the world, but after Normans work it became apparent that people developed detailed mental models on how the world works.
Aug 01, 2013 · 4 points, 1 comments · submitted by herdrick
It's on Udacity, which means it's probably going to be very interactive.
HN Academy is an independent project and is not operated by Y Combinator, Coursera, edX, or any of the universities and other institutions providing courses.
~ yaj@
;laksdfhjdhksalkfj more things ~ Privacy Policy ~
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.