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Thoughtless Acts?: Observations on Intuitive Design Hardcover – March 30, 2005


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Thoughtless Acts?: Observations on Intuitive Design + The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm + Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (March 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811847756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811847759
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #518,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jane Fulton Suri is the worldwide leader of human factors design and research for IDEO. She teaches regularly at Stanford University, UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, and the California College of the Arts. She lives in Berkeley.

IDEO is a global innovation and design consultancy headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and has designed some of the world's best known products, services, and spaces.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
For some people, this volume merely offers a collection of "humble images" accompanied by a relatively brief narrative which establishes a context or frame-of-reference within which to present the photos. For others such as I, this book achieves Suri's expressed objective which is indicated when she wonders how "designers might be influenced [by the images provided of] visual evidence of the realities of everyday behavior, of design in use. Might reference to such images help designers to be more sensitive to people's experience and needs?" Her hope is that those who see them "will take this same lens to the real world to enrich their own perceptions....The key is looking carefully at what people actually do in various situations and asking [themselves] various questions" to explain what they see. Suri explains that she and her associates at IDEO constantly observe common, everyday human experiences (i.e. "thoughtless acts") to stimulate, guide, and sustain "intuitive design."

Suri explains how this process highlights human needs and problems worth solving; frees designers from existing paradigms through a focus on action; reveals what is intuitive and thereby supports the design of appropriate "cues" (i.e. that which evoke recognition the purpose and accessibility of products, spaces, and services when designing them); tunes designers into relevant cultural patterns and meanings; uncovers significant, often overlooked emotional experiences; harnesses tacit knowledge which inform the design process; and inspires more flexible and enduring solutions to unmet needs.

Of special interest to me is that the photos in this volume capture moments which are comparable with those I experience in my own life.
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30 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Gevalia on December 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Yet another lousy book by IDEO. The whole book is nothing but photos. The title "Observations on Intuitive Design" implies to me that they are Jane Fultons observations. Sadly they are not. They are YOUR observations from looking at the pictures. And I paid for this. No written content (to speak of). I'll save you some money; take your camera into a supermarket, a compusa, and a walmart and snap away. Then go home and review them. Done and I saved you some cash. The arrogance of these guys. They slap their name (IDEO) on a collage and call it observations?
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jason K. M. Wong on August 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
At my initial experience of going through this book, I must say that it has too many pictures/photos which one cannot comprehend at first glance. Though they are obscure by nature, but in fact, there are some real meanings toward each situation. It requires some proper thought and understanding of "how" and "why" we go through certain 'thoughtless acts' in our daily lives, and that's exactly the case Jane Fulton Suri has presented in this book. The IDEO process through its power of observation helps to "peer" deeper in those 'un-thought off' understandings in the pictorial situations. However, in order to grasp the meaning behind those pictures/photos, we have to somehow breakdown the boundaries of thought, and unleash our imagination to the next level to comprehend its obscurity. To summaries it all, this book is basically to feed our creative-thinking (and definitely not rational-thinking) process so that we can experience and learn to make products/services better and more versatile.

However, I could have given this book a complete 5-star, with the exception of its price.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Prieto on May 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book ties human interactions beautifully with everyday pictures. It is not a book for a person who wants to read or get direct knowledge, rather it is a book for the observer, the person who learns from everyday newances.

It did change my perspective on Human Interactions with surrounding objects and environments. I do believe this book is meant to provoke and inspire towards observing more carefully.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Academic One on November 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Overall concept is interesting. What we observe, how we are conditioned, how we respond to our environment but quality of book could have been taking further. Instead of being paperback size, it could have been a larger coffee table book with higher quality photos to illustrate points. Rather than having to refer to back of book to understand why image was included, it should have been on the same page as the picture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kurpyy on November 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really neat book created by some IDEO designers. It's sort of like a mini coffee table book with postcard-sized pages and beautiful photos. I got it because it was recommended by my engineering design professor at Northwestern University. It's stimulating to page through as a product designer.

The book arrived quickly. Perfect condition. No complaints.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a good overview/introduction to leveraging observational research in design and innovation thinking, not an in-depth treatise on process nor a how-to instruction manual. Reading the negative reviews, I somewhat agree that there could be more "meat" in the book, or that the author could have positioned the insights/questions with the photos to create a more usable work. However, I realized that perhaps it was intentional that the observational photos were positioned without explanation in the first half of the book, with narrative in the back. That's how observations typically happen, relying on each one's personal reflection and evaluation first, unskewed by external opinion. I appreciated this book as an inspiration to tune into the obvious around us and by capturing the everyday, learn to gain insight into it's ability to shape the creation of future things. Good stuff.
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