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Hardcover | $57.00 Short | £39.95 | ISBN: 9780262140652 | 320 pp. | 6 x 9 in | September 1998
Paperback | $29.00 Short | £19.95 | ISBN: 9780262640411 | 320 pp. | 6 x 9 in | August 1999

The Invisible Computer

Why Good Products Can Fail, the Personal Computer Is So Complex, and Information Appliances Are the Solution


Technologies have a life cycle, says Donald Norman, and companies and their products must change as they pass from youth to maturity. Alas, the computer industry thinks it is still in its rebellious teenage years, exulting in technical complexity. Customers want change. They are ready for products that offer convenience, ease of use, and pleasure. The technology should be invisible, hidden from sight.

In this book, Norman shows why the computer is so difficult to use and why this complexity is fundamental to its nature. The only answer, says Norman, is to start over again, to develop information appliances that fit people's needs and lives. To do this companies must change the way they develop products. They need to start with an understanding of people: user needs first, technology last—the opposite of how things are done now.

About the Author

Business Week has named Don Norman as one of the world’s most influential designers. He has been both a professor and an executive: he was Vice President of Advanced Technology at Apple; his company, the Nielsen Norman Group, helps companies produce human-centered products and services; he has been on the faculty at Harvard, the University of California, San Diego, Northwestern University, and KAIST, in South Korea. He is the author of many books, including The Design of Everyday Things, The Invisible Computer (MIT Press, 1998), Emotional Design, and The Design of Future Things.


“Don Norman has established himself as high technology's leading thinker on user interfaces and on why PCs are too complex.”—Wall Street Journal
“...the bible of 'post-PC' thinking.”—Business Week


“Don Norman's dramatic transformation from design critic to digital designer has made his observations in The Invisible Computer even more insightful and inciteful.”
Michael Schrage, Research Associate, MIT Media Lab, and authorof Getting Real