Don Norman is the Founding Director Emeritus of the Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego where he is also distinguished professor emeritus of both psychology and cognitive science and a member of the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is cofounder emeritus of the Nielsen Norman Group, an executive consulting firm that helps companies produce human-centered products and services. He is an honorary professor of Tongji University’s College of Design and Innovation (Shanghai). He has served as an advisor and board member of numerous companies and organizations.
Norman has been Vice President of Apple in charge of the Advanced Technology Group and an executive at both Hewlett Packard and UNext (a distance education company).
Business Week has listed him as one of the world’s 27 most influential designers. Dr. Norman brings a unique mix of the social sciences and engineering to bear on everyday products.
At the heart of Norman’s approach is human- and activity-centered design, combining knowledge of cognitive science, engineering, and business with design. In his consulting, he finds that he mostly advises about company strategy and organizational structure, for these are what determine the success of the company. Quite often he finds that the people in the company understand how to make better products, but organizational and strategic issues block progress.
Norman was one of the founders of the Cognitive Science Society and has been chair of the society and editor of its journal, Cognitive Science. He has been a faculty member at Harvard University. He is Prof. Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Breed Prof. of Design, Emeritus, at Northwestern University. At UC San Diego he was founding chair of the Department of Cognitive Science and one of the founding faculty and then chair of the Department of Psychology. At Northwestern, he was a founder and co-director of the Segal Design Institute and co-director of MMM, a joint MBA and Engineering program by Northwestern’s schools of Management and Engineering that emphasized design and operations. He has also been a Distinguished Visiting Professor at KAIST, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Design Research Society, Human Factors & Ergonomics Society, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Cognitive Science Society. He has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford).
Norman received a B.S. degree from MIT and an MS degree from the University of Pennsylvania, both in Electrical Engineering. His doctorate, from the University of Pennsylvania, is in Psychology. He has received honorary degrees from the Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), the University of Padua (Italy), and the University of San Marino (Republic of San Marino).
In 2021 he was awarded the Sir Misha Black Medal for distinguished service to design education. Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1821, London, UK. In 2020, he received the Design Guru Award from The Institute of Design, JK Lakshmipat University, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. In 2022 he received the Frontier Design Prize from the World Design Cities Conference and the Design Innovation Institute, Shanghai with guidance from the Shanghai Municipal government. Norman also received the Arnold Small President’s Distinguished Service Award by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). 2016. In 2006, Norman received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer & Cognitive Science from the Franklin Institute (Philadelphia). In 2005, he received the Franklin V. Taylor Award for outstanding contribution to the field of Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology from the American Psychological Association. In 2002, he received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from SIGCHI, the professional organization for Computer-Human Interaction and the “Mental Health Award” for contributions to business from Psychology Today.
Dr. Norman was the lead negotiator for Apple in the discussions between the computer and television industries in the development of an Advanced Digital TV system for the United States.
Dr. Norman has published extensively in journals and books, and is the author or co-author of eighteen books, with translations into twenty languages, including “The Design of Everyday Things,” and “Things That Make Us Smart.” Business Week called his book “The Invisible Computer” “the bible of ‘post PC’ thinking.” His book, “Emotional Design,” marks the transition from usability to aesthetics with an emphasis on well-rounded, cohesive products that look good, work well, and give pride to the owner. His book, “Living with Complexity,” argues that complexity is desirable: the role of the designer is to make complex things understandable. In 2013 he published an expanded and revised edition of Design of Everyday Things. The first edition lasted 25 years, which means that the revision should last until 2038. His book “Design for a Better World: Meaningful, Sustainable, Humanity Centered” will be published by MIT Press in March 2023. He lives in San Diego and can always be found at www.jnd.org .
Published with the permission of Donald A. Norman himself.