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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great reference book for design and UX professionals
A UX colleague of mine initially recommended this book to me, and I started leafing through it. And when I looked up again, I had read half of the 125 snippets that make up this book...

This is the strength of this book - instead of taking one theory and squeezing 300 pages out of it (as so many other design and UX books do), it deliberately dedicates exactly 2...
Published on July 2, 2011 by Matthias Schreck

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Content and Disappointing Production
This book for the marked price really is a disappointment. Most of this information can be found in books you may have already purchased regarding usability, HCI, and design principles -- in fact, this book is basically just a summary for footnotes to other reading materials.The universal aspect is nice, essentially a gathering of ideas, philosophies and theories, but the...
Published 2 months ago by tcarrier


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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great reference book for design and UX professionals, July 2, 2011
This review is from: Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design (Paperback)
A UX colleague of mine initially recommended this book to me, and I started leafing through it. And when I looked up again, I had read half of the 125 snippets that make up this book...

This is the strength of this book - instead of taking one theory and squeezing 300 pages out of it (as so many other design and UX books do), it deliberately dedicates exactly 2 pages for each theory. The left side of this bigger-than-A4 book is dedicated towards theory, with very handy references of where one can find out more about the theory, while the right side has good visual examples of how this theory maps out in the real world.

For a seasoned professional, many of the theories will be well-known, but I was still surprised by the often clever cross-referencing to other pieces of research that made me think anew about the theory. Also, the authors made a fantastic effort in boiling down often very wordy theories into a few very concise paragraphs.

I also really liked the mix of theories: there is a lot of design, a lot of psychology, evolutionary biology, Gestalt and other research on perception, motivators, and many other things... this is a strength of this book because everybody who reads it will find something new from a related discipline, and the book makes it obvious why this is still relevant.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, also because it's easy to just pick it up, read a couple of theories and put it back down. I recommend it very much for people who always wondered what some of the names of the theories were that they were using on a daily basis, but also for students of design and UX who want to "cheat" and get really handy quick explanations of complicated subject matters without having to fight their way through the often tedious books of these areas.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Inspiration for Discussion, February 15, 2010
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This review is from: Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design (Paperback)
We used this as a group study book at work to help our software design skills. This book it packed with useful and interesting topics. The only difficulty for what we are using it for is we need to make the connection between the concepts and how it applies to software. This is a great mental exercise but does take significantly more brain power than if the application to software were laid out directly in the book. There is an immense amount of content in this book and I think we will be exploring many of the topics in more depth in future discussions.

On a non work side my wife wants to pick this up and read because of the interesting application it has to every day life and advertising. Overall a very interesting and insightful book.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have for Any Designer, November 2, 2011
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J. Taylor (Illinois, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design (Paperback)
I'm a college student majoring in interactive media and I bought this book for independent study. My degree courses often deal with specific aspects or applications of design, but I wanted to gain a better understanding of general design principles. I am happy to report that this book is rich with design information that can be utilized by all species of designers!

Each topic is given two pages - one page is more text-heavy and the other has visuals that demonstrate or exemplify the design principle at hand. Despite the seemingly brief dedication to each principle, the book is dense, efficient, and favors minimalism so although you may be able to scan over a principle in seconds, you need to take the time and study the information being presented in order to soak all of it in. Lidwell does a fantastic job at providing a survey of some of the most pertinent design principles. I foresee referencing this book throughout the rest of university studies and beyond.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good as a dictionary, not text book, January 17, 2011
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This review is from: Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design (Paperback)
Very readable, interesting, and well designed book. You'll find yourself flipping through the pages without stopping (just one more page!).

That said, I was a bit disappointed on two accounts.
One- The breadth of topics is great, but the book is a dictionary not a text-book. Each topic is covered in short from a very high theoretical level. Each topic gets two pages, a description page and an example page. Frequently there only few really substantial sentences for the description, and the examples can be a bit contrived. You turn the page wishing there was some more substance.

Second- The practical use of the book is limited. Since the book is trying to target ALL cross-disciplinary design it sometimes loses focus and relevance from any designer. A lot of interesting psychological principles are brought in the book which arguably have any relevance to design.

In short- interesting and well designed but leaves you wanting more.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic introduction, March 3, 2012
This review is from: Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design (Paperback)
As a developer, I often under appreciated design. This book is so broad, that it really forces you to accept that design IS everywhere. It also helps with the terminology used by designers and arms you with the names many design elements. It really makes you think of everything a little differently, such as the closure used in the Amazon logo.

On the other hand, it is rather light on detail and application... I over came this by taking notes and forcing my self to think about "how could this principle be applied to web design" I was always successful at finding at least one way. Which in it's self is a design principle "Depth of processing," helps you remember things better.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A top pick for any architecture or design library, March 18, 2010
This review is from: Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design (Paperback)
Universal Principles of Design packs in over a hundred ways to influence perception, enhance usability, and increase appeal through better design choices, and is a top pick for any architecture or design library. Chapters review the basics of design then show how basics may be expanded into advanced concepts, offering a wealth of visual examples from all disciplines from graphic design to architecture and user-interface design. Highly recommended!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A go-to bookshelf item for clearing the mind, June 3, 2012
This review is from: Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design (Paperback)
It's easy for design to get overwhelming- or maybe that's just me, but, in any event, this book is a fantastic resource to page through when you have what I think of as the opposite of designer's block. With so many innovations in programming, UX, design and information architecture coming out all of the time it's easy to lose a sense of how to make things just "feel right." This book is a great way to get back to the basics of semiotics and rediscover what intuitive, and usable really mean.

I agree that alphabetical may not be the best way to organize this kind of information-- if that's a deal-breaker for you check out 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter); but, given the illustrations and the physical structure of the book it's easy enough to breeze through and find those things you didn't even realize you were looking for. This makes a great short-hand companion to many of the principles described more extensively in The Design of Everyday Things, and, in my opinion, could even be a great coffee-table read...
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent for products, advertising/graphics, interaction, February 23, 2010
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This review is from: Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design (Paperback)
Lovely idea and format. I would imagine that this book is an valuable supplemental reading/reference for students as well as professional product/graphic designers. The references to seminal works that defined each principle were an excellent addition to the book.

The description indicated that this was a cross-disciplinary text so I was somewhat disappointed that I found that few principles that applied specifically to the environmental design disciplines and even fewer examples that clarified how universal principles might be used in environmental design -- for example modularity was defined solely in terms of modular electronics when it is widely used in furnishings, interiors and buildings. However, one could quibble about the inclusion/exclusion of each principle and example and perhaps the range of scale is too great to include environments in a robust way.

The title is a bit confusing "universal design" is a term that is used by environmental designers to indicate an approach towards inclusion of the widest segment of the population in design solutions (including disabled people, etc). Interdisciplinary design principles may have been a more clear description of the authors intent.

Overall a valuable book -- I would certainly recommend to industrial/product design students and other related disciplines
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good for a broad overview of current theories, April 27, 2011
This review is from: Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design (Paperback)
This is a really interesting and informative book. I keep it close and look into it often. In some respects, it reinforces what we already know. For example, the authors define "error" as "an action or omission of action yielding an unintended result." They then make an argument for usability, because although "Many accidents are caused by human error . . ." the underlying cause is a result of design flaws. while I agree with this, it seems to be disconnected from the overall topic of "errors." In contrast, on some pages, their information is interesting and useful. In "Expectation Effect," they explain how to use design and/or persuasion in conjunction with expectation. Something I had not considered, and expect to use in the future.

Each topic follows alphabetically, and in most cases, each topic is a two-page spread.

Content is highly accessible, and backed up by suggested readings.

This is not a "how to" book. It is a book you might browse through over time. Maybe it rests beside your favorite chair, and you thumb through it as you relax. I think it is important, however. I think that if someone internalizes the many ideas the authors present, he or she will be greatly enhanced as a designer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward primer, May 28, 2011
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This review is from: Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design (Paperback)
A real gem. This book has a very useful structure, almost like an encyclopedia - it takes you to major principles of design in few words per principle, explains them, gives examples, and cites some basic references. I think almost anyone will find something they did not know in there, or something that did at least make them think. This is not a textbook, nor a true professional encyclopedia, but a high level exposition of stuff that works. For what it's worth it obviously takes cues from Christopher Alexander's "A pattern language", by the goal and by the way it is organized. It is less coherent within the realm of design than "A pattern language" is within the realm of architecture - it does not completely form a body of ideas consistent within themselves. But this is simply because the principles covered are of various types and apply across disciplines (say, psychological, physical, etc...). I saw this book in a coffee shop (of all places) and had to buy one for myself almost right away.
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