About Don Norman

I live several lives:

  • University Professor
  • Company advisor and board member;
  • Keynote speaker;
  • Author of books and columns.

I am Director of the newly established (2014) Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego. See http://designlab.ucsd.edu.  I'm also co-founder and principal (emeritus) of the Nielsen Norman group and an honorary Professor at Tongji University (Shanghai) in their College of Design and Innovation. And I serve on the boards and as advisor to companies and organizations.

My formal education is in Electrical Engineering and Psychology. I've served as a faculty member at Harvard, University of California, San Diego, Northwestern, and KAIST (South Korea). I've also worked in industry as a VP at Apple and an executive at HP and a startup). Today my emphasis is on helping technology companies structure their product lines and business. My major emphasis is design strategy: how designers and design thinking can help drive both incremental and radical innovation within the company.

I am co-founder and principal of the User Experience/Usability consulting firm, the Nielsen Norman group, which is the home for my consulting and keynote talks (I am now emeritus). I have been an IDEO fellow and  a member of the Board of Trustees of IIT's Institute of Design in Chicago (now emeritus at IIT). My latest books are "Living with Complexity" and "The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded": See https://jnd.org/tag/book/

I've retired four times: first from the University of California, San Diego (where I was founder and chair of the department of Cognitive Science); then from Northwestern University, where I was a professor of Computer Science and Design, co-directing the MMM dual degree program between the School of Engineering and the Kellogg School of Management, a program that gave students both an MBA and engineering degree, with the focus on design and operation; the third retirement was as a trustee of the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of technology (Chicago); and the fourth was as an active member of my company, the Nielsen Norman group (I have been given the title of "emeritus" at all four places.) And, as the opening sentence of this biography suggests, I'm back at UC San Diego, but I have given word that I am stepping down from the Directorship of the Design Lab at the end of the 2019-2020 Academic year, so starting July 1, 2020, I can concentrate upon my projects and writing:

  1. Changing Design Education.  See  
Meyer, M., & Norman, D. (2020, March). Changing design education for the 21st century. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation,  6,  13-39. doi:10.1016

And watch the movie: https://jnd.org/21st-centry-design-in-6-minutes/

2. Helping transform the San Diego-Tijuana region to become the World Design Capitol.

3. A new book? Design for Humanity?   Wait and see.

Biography

Academic Résumé (a PDF File)

Biographical sketches (a Microsoft Word file)

Contact Information, Consulting, and Talks

Go to: "Consulting and Talks".

Photographs

Photographs suitable for publication
Permission for use is hereby granted.

Family Websites

Mike Norman's Motorcycle blog: G-Force Engine development
Cyndi Norman Norwitz's Immune website

About Nielsen Norman Group

principals_big
A rather old photograph of Bruce (Tog), me, and Jakob, in that order.

Jakob Nielsen and I formed the Nielsen Norman group in 1998 to help companies create better products, services, and websites. Bruce Tognazzini (Tog) joined us a bit later: in the photo, the three of us are lined up in this order: Tognazzini, Norman, and Nielsen.

We are user advocates. We help companies move toward human-centered products and internet interaction, the better to play a major role in the new world of customer-centered goods and services.

Jakob works on websites and other internet products and applications. I am most interested in consumer products. Most of my consulting is at the executive level, for the biggest problem with the development of services and products has to do with company organization and culture. Invariably I start off assessing the technologies and end up recommending administrative and organizational change. My experience ranges from household goods to human error and safety -- I have worked on nuclear power plant control rooms, aviation, and hospital systems. I bring to bear considerable practical experience as a VP at Apple, and executive at HP, and experience at startups ranging from executive, to adviser, to board of directors. And to the experience a theoretical grounding in cognitive science, computer science, and design, as well as multiple years co-directing a dual-degree MBA program at Northwestern University (students got a Kellogg MBA plus an engineering degree: I was the director from the school of engineering, teaching design thinking to the MBAs).

The Nielsen Norman group shares a common goal: by focusing upon people, we create products and services that enhance customer satisfaction, that maintain relationships, and increase sales.

Success in human-centered design requires giving equal weight to user experience, marketing and technology: The result is increased customer satisfaction, coupled with lower costs and rapid time to market. The major barriers to success are not technological: they are social, political, and organizational.

What does jnd.org mean?

In the field of psychophysics, that branch of experimental psychology that studies sensation and perception, a jnd is the amount that something must be changed for the difference to be noticeable, defined to mean that the change is detectable half the time. My goal is to make a noticeable difference -- many jnds worth -- in human-centered technology.

I started my career as an experimental/mathematical psychologist in psychophysics, and my love of the exquisite sensitivity and dynamic range of hearing and seeing, as well as the power of human perception has stayed with me.

For the definition of jnd as used in psychophysics, see the Wikipedia definition.

About this site

Coded by Matthew Goddard (matt@matthewgoddard.net), who also maintains the site.

Reporting Problems With This Site:

Report problems to webmaster@jnd.org

Schedule

Updated March 16, 2020

I am declining travel requests not directly related to the University of California, San Diego Design Lab. (Not all trips are listed.)

All travel is  postponed indefinitely. I will be giving talks virtually.


May 18-21, 2020Healthcare Human Factors. Healthcare Human Factors.

Plenary Session:  "Help, now I'm the user! Human factors in healthcare. A conversation between Don Norman and Joe Cafazzo."   https://www.hcs2020.org/