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Universal Methods of Design: 100 Ways to Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, and Design Effective Solutions Hardcover – February 1, 2012
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About the Author
Bruce Hanington is an associate professor, director of graduate studies, and former program chair of industrial design in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has dedicated his teaching and research to methods and practices for human centered design, with an emphasis on design ethnography, participatory design, and the meaning of form in context. He has consulted on design projects with GE Appliance and Johnson and Johnson, and his work has been published in Design Issues, The Design Journal, and Interactions, with chapters in Designing Inclusive Futures and Design and Emotion: The Experience of Everyday Things.Bella Martin is a design practitioner and independent consultant in Atlanta, Georgia, where she brings her expertise for design research methods to companies who are new to user-centered design but eager to give their users a voice in the design process. She holds a Master of Design in Communication Planning and Information Design from Carnegie Mellon University, where she first began her ongoing work in visualizing user-centered research methods.Bella Martin is a design practitioner and independent consultant in Atlanta, Georgia, where she brings her expertise for design research methods to companies who are new to user-centered design but eager to give their users a voice in the design process. She holds a Master of Design in Communication Planning and Information Design from Carnegie Mellon University, where she first began her ongoing work in visualizing user-centered research methods.
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Top Customer Reviews
I thought of saying that this book is to user-centered designers what Strunk's Elements of Style is to writers, but the analogy isn't quite right. Writers generally know the best practices for semicolon usage and unordered list formatting. In contrast, most people that claim the title "user experience designer" still spend the majority of their time wireframing or designing in Photoshop. It's really not your fault, it is ours; the UX community has done very little to help educate entering UX professionals, so you have likely never been exposed to most of the methods detailed in this text. You don't know how powerful a simple technique like Affinity Mapping can be, or how the investment in LEGO's Serious Play products can yield a hundred-fold return, or how an absurd hour spent writing love letters and hate letters to yourself can significantly improve a product. But for the aspiring UX designer, this book is an essential introduction to the methods used in professional experience design projects.
For those of us that have experience with these design methods: we all have dealt with those challenging projects, difficult stakeholders, or unique product requirements that seem to exhaust our standard design toolbox. Those situations where our usual methods for scoping, defining, researching, modeling, prototyping, producing, and testing seem inadequate. In these situations, there is no better reference than what Hanington and Martin have put together in this book. Buy it, and if you are underwhelmed then I'll buy you a drink and let you hassle me about it when I see you at the next conference.
My main complaint is that the writing style is (in my view) obscure. For example, "Prototyping in general is the tangible representation of artifacts at various levels of resolution, for development and testing of ideas within the design teams and with clients and users. However, whereas many prototypes only demand passive viewing for concept communication and review, experience prototyping fosters active participation to encounter a live experience with products, systems, services, or spaces."
Writing a technical book like this is a lot of work and I don't mean to take a cheap shot. It's just that the book would benefit greatly from some aggressive editing. The topic and ideas presented are interesting, just not very accessible.
Methods are listed in alphabetic order. Each is given a two page treatment; one page of text and another of figures and diagram. URLs, standard reference sources are conveniently listed on the same page, and not in an index at the back of the text. The treatment of these diverse methods in identical format makes a cross comparison of methods simple and fast. Further, an indication is given (an index of 1 through 5) of whether the method is useful at the early or the late phases of the research process so that methods can be compared within phase-catagories.
The format and page layout in the hard-copy version are such that moving between methods, and cross comparing methods will be easier in the paper format than in the electronic. At the bargain price of 24 USD this is both an affordable and very complete aid to current best practices in design survey methodology.
In the book you will find design research methods that could be exploratory, secondary, generative or evaluative. I think is a good synthesis especially if you want to learn how to do the design work that in a lot of books is just ethereal. But if you really want to implement a specific method perhaps you will need another source for deeper understanding. In most of the methods you will find the sources for more information, and sometimes the seminal publication of the method. It also presents suggestions of complementary methods inside the book in a "see also" line.
I liked the format of the book because is easy to read and to use as a guide: it has just two pages per method, one small description and an example. The book helped me a lot gaining a big picture of design methods. A must have for someone who wants to get deeper in the design research.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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