Professor Don Norman has dedicated his professional life to advocating the importance of placing humanity as the core value, not only in the education of designers but also in other disciplines, most notably psychology and cognitive science. His mantra ‘to design for the way people behave, not for how we would wish them to behave’ has been a constant inspiration to designers, young and old. He has constantly reminded his readers and students that ‘a brilliant solution to the wrong problem can be worse than no solution at all, and this is as valid to designers as it is to engineers, social scientists, and policy makers’.
Professor Norman’s many books, especially those on design and on psychology have influenced and educated generations of designers. These designers have gone on to transform how individuals experience ‘everyday things’. It is not an exaggeration to say that our world would look and feel very different without his contribution. These books include ‘The Design of Everyday Things’; ‘The Design of Future Things’; ‘Emotional Design’ and ‘Living with Complexity’.
He has held many academic posts and is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Sciences and Founding Director of the Design Lab at the University of California; has been conferred with Honorary Doctorates at the Universities of Padua, Delft and San Marino. He is one of the few designers elected to the U.S National Academy of Engineers and is the holder of the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Cognitive Computer Sciences. He has served on numerous Government and University Advisory Boards and worked with, amongst others, Apple Computer, originally as a Fellow, then as Vice President of the Advanced Technology Group. He initiated and is now co-Founder and co-Director of a large multi-year international initiative to propose new curricula for the education of designers, with a distinguished steering committee and over 700 volunteers from all over the world.