Introduction to Design of Everyday Things

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Course Resources

Five Great Tips

Here are five things to know to help you get the most out of this class:

  1. Everything in this course is downloadable..
  2. You can speed up or slow down the play speed on YouTube - click on the "Settings" gear icon near the lower right corner of the video. You can also do this with the downloaded videos.
  3. You can activate captions in the YouTube player. Click on the "CC" (closed captions) icon. Note that you can also ADD: download subtitles.
  4. Definitely get your hands dirty with the projects - the more you experiment, the more you'll know.
  5. Don't miss out on the forum. Many lessons have forum posts associated with them, and it's easy to ask questions and help other students out.

Downloadable Materials

You can download Supplemental Materials, Lesson Videos and Transcripts from Downloadables (bottom right corner of the Classroom) or from the Dashboard (first option on the navigation bar on the left hand side).

Exercise Submission Problems and Solutions

There are a few common errors and known problems when submitting exercises:

  • Read the "Instructor Notes" in case there was an error in the video; the Discussion section is also worth looking at to see if others have had similar problems.

  • Still stuck? Help us help you by posting to the forum.

Supplementary Texts


Although the course is entirely self-contained it is based upon the 2013 edition of [Design of Everyday Things, Revised Edition][1], by Don Norman.  The book is not required for the course, but because it goes into more depth on the topics covered by the course, it is highly recommended. 

Norman, Don. [The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition.][2] 2013. (Available as paperback or eBook.)

The English language edition is published by Basic Books (New York).  In the UK, the book is published by MIT Press (London, UK). The book is relatively inexpensive and is – or soon will be – available in several languages, including Japanese, Italian, Korean, and Chinese (in both traditional and simplified characters).

Earlier Editions of Design of Everyday Things

There are several earlier editions of the book, including one with a different title (Psychology of Everyday Things). All these earlier books are identical, with the exception of different prefaces and the title change.)

The earlier editions of the book lack some new material. The examples are older, and less relevant. Even so, the older editions do cover most of the design principles used in this course. Older editions can be used for this course, but the examples are out of date and there is no discussion of signifiers or the role of emotion.

Note: In the Instructors’ Notes, the original book will be referred to as DOET1 and the revised book as DOET2.


The Instructors’ Notes provides specific book readings as material is introduced. Basically, though, simply read Chapters 1 and 2 of DOET and you will have covered everything (and a bit more, besides).

The book expands upon many of the concepts in more depth than the course, so those of you who want deeper knowledge should read the chapters.

DOET1: Pages 1 – 53. (The material on mapping is not in this course: It is in course 2: Advanced Topics.)

DOET2: Pages 1 – 73. (The material on mapping in Chapter 1 and emotion in Chapter 2 are not in this course: They are in Course 2: Advanced Topics.)

Course Syllabus

Lesson 1: Affordances and Signifiers (4 hours)

Lesson 2: Conceptual Models and the System Image (4 hours)

Lesson 3: Gulfs of Evaluation and Execution (1 hour)

Final Project: Design the User Interface (UI) for a Timebank (7 hours)

Follow this link to access the final project.

If you are enrolled in the Full Course Experience, follow this link for instructions on how to submit your project to us for evaluation.