Has Don Norman ever designed anything?



I started doing some research on the origins of User Experience Design and User Centered design, and I basically found that Don Norman is the all-father of it all. He’s a great academic with great books and observations, but has he ever designed anything? Is the entire UX industry built on principles that the guy’s never “tested” just examined?


That’s a fenomenal question!!!


In my opinion, this is too much.

Norman is for sure one of the most known/important designers focused on UX topics, but I would not say that the entire UX industry is built according to his view. There are several names of designers popping up to my mind that have a heavyweight in the design environment.

Regarding your question, as far as I know, he designed stuff for Apple and HP. I don’t have any details about his production as a designer. I don’t think this is important to evaluate the importance of his activity in the design environment.

Keep us posted on your research, it sounds interesting!


Fair enough, and in retrospect it does sound a bit drastic.

I’m just surprised to see such a practical field as UX being driven partly by such a theoretical approach as his.


I feel you!
Very often I read books/articles or I attend conferences/workshops and I go home with a feeling of missing the connection with what I actually do.

At the same time, I’m not 100% sure that a designer with an outstanding portfolio is able to summarize all his work in a book or a talk.
I think that a lot is about the skills every designer has, some of us are more oriented in evangelizing and spreading out the theory and some of us are more focused on the execution of the theory.

What are your thoughts?


Well there’s the case when there are too many things to summarize. And there’s Don Norman who describes what kind of designer he is and I cannot for the life of me find a single thing he was involved in in particular.

Great guy nonetheless.


this is a fair point, it would be interesting to see how he put into practice what he’s saying/writing


Wasn’t he with Apple? Wouldn’t it follow that he designed stuff there? Even if he can’t take actual credit for whatever because it belongs to Apple?


Yup, and HP. He also spent many years designing healthcare systems.


For more info you can check his CV: http://www.jnd.org/docs/Don_Norman_Academic_Vita.pdf


Nice one. Couldn’t find his cv before. although I feel looking at it it just proves the point of hom being an academic first. most of his work are publication and advising companies. I was just hoping to see his touch on a product.