Donald Arthur Norman is a professor emeritus of cognitive science at University of California, San Diego and a Professor of Computer Science at Northwestern University, where he also co-directs the Segal Design Institute and the dual degree MBA + Engineering degree program between the Kellogg school and Northwestern Engineering. He is on numerous company advisory boards including the editorial board of Encyclopædia Britannica. He currently splits his time between consulting and his teaching and writing at Northwestern from his homes in Evanston, Illinois and Palo Alto, California.
Many of Norman's books deal mostly with usability or with cognitive psychology, but Things That Make Us Smart also makes a few remarks of critical nature regarding our society. In particular Norman dislikes the content-less nature of television and bad museum exhibits. Lately he has tended to focus on the positive. He loves products which are enjoyable to use, a feature which he attributes to putting together emotion and design, or heart and mind. He has explained this in detail in his book Emotional Design.
He is a promoter of the concept of information appliances, which he has covered in his book The Invisible Computer.
His newest book The Design of Future Things deals with the role of automation in the home and automobile.
He co-founded the Nielsen Norman Group, a consulting group on matters of usability which also includes Jakob Nielsen and Bruce "Tog" Tognazzini.