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100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 155 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 860-1401301257
ISBN-10: 0321767535
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Weinschenk has a Ph.D. in Psychology, and over 30 years of experience as a behavioral scientist, applying psychology to the design of communication and online interactions. She is a consultant to Fortune 1000 companies, start-ups, educational institutions, non-profits, and US government agencies. Susan is the founder of the Weinschenk Institute, LLC. She is a speaker and teacher, and has written several books, including How To Get People To Do Stuff, 100 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People, and Neuro Web Design: What makes them click? Susan writes two popular blogs: the Brain Wise blog at Psychology Today, and her own blog at her website: theteamw.com/blog.
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Product Details

  • Series: Voices That Matter
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (April 24, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321767535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321767530
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (155 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have been waiting for a book like this for so many years now. I think with every profession there are certain ideas that are taken for granted and, over the decades, become "fact" for practitioners. But just because research showed something 40 years ago doesn't mean that study was well done, or correct, in the first place. The strength of this book is that the author cites more recent research about principles you either thought you knew, and were wrong, or that you thought you knew, and are still right. I feel a certain sense of liberation reading a book like this, because if you cannot challenge your closely held beliefs, what kind of professional are you?

The structure is terrifically usable: one hundred "chapters" that are often only 1 or 2 pages long. In a book like this, the references are as valuable as the author's own writing. I can look up the sources and make up my own mind if I have any questions. But most of the time, I appreciate the author's explanations of the book's segments:
* How people see
* How people read
* How people remember
* How people think
* How people focus their attention
* What motivates people
* People are social animals
* How people feel
* People make mistakes
* How people decide.

Amidst all the success of the book is some occasional lack of proofreading on the editor's part. This is not the author's fault, but I do think the editor was not up to the task. But that does not inhibit the usefulness of the book. It is dense, yet concise. A really good reference to keep on the shelf at one's desk, no matter what research and design projects one works on.
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Format: Paperback
This appealing short book brings together little nuggets of psychology, which the author makes immediately relevant to design decisions.

It's simply and clearly written. You can choose whether to read it straight through, focus on just one of the 10 sections, or simply pick out a single item of the 100. Each one is:
- self-contained,
- described with an example,
- supported by appropriate research, and
- finishes with one or more 'Takeaways' that you can use immediately.
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Format: Paperback
The book, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk, is an interesting collection of facts and thoughts about how people perceive communications and the world around them. While applicable to graphic designers, much of the information in the book would be useful to anyone involved in communicating with people in any medium.

This book is easy to pick up and put down as each of the 100 things take up only two or three pages with easy to scan charts, illustrations and pull boxes.

Some of the facts are things many people already know, but some of them provide additional information to accompany common held rules. One example of this is thing number four which discusses how and why the brain recognizes faces. Using this information, graphic designers can make educated decisions on when and how to include human photography in design work in place of object or nature photography based on the reaction they hope to create.

User Interface designers should pay close attention to the following sections: How People See, How People Read and How People Focus Their Attention and How People Decide. The author looks at how people relate to information based on where it is placed on the page, the errors in relying on eye tracking studies, how font choices impact how people read, what draws people's attention, how long people really focus on different types of information, and what you can do to influence the decisions your viewers take.

Marketers of all types should pay close attention to things 33 and 34 which talk about how people process information when presented in a story format and how people learn from examples.
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Format: Paperback
Don't go into this book expecting pictures of design patters that work and how different designs work in each situation. That's NOT what this book is all about.

Instead what you'll find here is focused information on how our brains work and how we can take advantage of these inner workings as we design. This is an easy to read book, it's not full of science and jargon. I've enjoyed every piece of learning and can see how it applies in my work and also in other aspects of my life - writing, drawing and presenting.

I recommend this book to anyone who needs insight into creating better designs and presentations.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a beginning student this book might be fine, but for a professional, it's way too rudimentary. I am well read in design, sociology and behavioral psychology, and this book offered me absolutely nothing. More notably, the "insights" discussed are things most intelligent people know inherently, WITHOUT reading any behavioral psych books, which is why I think it's pretty useless.
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Format: Paperback
This book may cover a breadth of topics, but offers as little as two paragraphs in some. It's way to brief to get any real understanding, and its takeaways are often oversimplified and without justification.

Case in point: "People lie to differing degrees depending on the media"
It provides an important message, medium does matter when looking for honesty, however its six paragraphs are not convincing, and the "takeaways" ignore the complexities and context surrounding situations that reach the results, leading to poor application by the readers.
1. People lie most on the phone, and least when pen and paper.
2. People are more negative toward others via e-mail than with pen and paper.
5. Getting customer or audience feedback is most accurate when done in person, one-on-one.

All of these need context and are not universal truths.

The majority of the takeaways at the end of each section are obscure and provide no value to a designer. There are a few valuable nuggets, but some chapters are maddeningly useless.

There are very few real-life examples in the book about how principles are (mis)applied.

Junior designers would benefit from a book with more application. Experienced designers will likely gain nothing more than a few curious facts, and little practical benefit.
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