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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From the Publisher
Universal Methods of Design:
11 Case Studies
The case study is a research strategy involving in-depth investigation of single events or instances in context, using multiple sources of research evidence.
42 Fly-on-the-Wall observation
Fly-on-the-wall observation allows the researcher to unobtrusively gather information by looking and listening without direct participation or interference with the people or behaviors being observed.
54 The Love Letter & the Breakup Letter
A personal letter written to a product often reveals profound insights about what people value and expect from the objects in their everyday lives.
Questionnaires are survey instruments designed for collecting self-report information from people about their characteristics, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, behaviors, or attitudes, typically in written form.
About the Author
Bruce Hanington is a professor and head of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to this, he was director of graduate studies, and program chair of industrial design. Bruce 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. In addition to working with industry partners through collaborative projects and executive education, his work has been published in Design Issues, The Design Journal, and Interactions, with chapters in Affective Sciences in Human Factors and Human-Computer Interaction and The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Design.
Bella Martin is a Lead User Experience Researcher in Atlanta, Georgia. After contributing to award-winning design projects for Microsoft Research, the U.S. Postal Service, GlaxoSmithKline, and Allstate Financial, she now invests much of her time working with organizations who are new to the methods of user-centered research, but eager to give their users a voice in the design process. Bella holds a Master of Design from Carnegie Mellon University, where she first began her ongoing work in visualizing user-centered research methods.
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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.
I purchased this book because before I had got Universal Principles of Design that I wholeheartedly recommend as an essential reading. If you are new to methods of design then Universal Methods of Design could be quite useful.
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.
Top international reviews
Purtroppo la scelta tipografica è infelice ed è difficoltoso da leggere per via del font leggero, chiaro e piccolo — quasi un controsenso su un libro di progettazione.
Stessa critica per le illustrazioni degli esempi, spesso illeggibili.
Esperaba más detalle en la descripción de los métodos a un grado tal, que explicara cada método o herramienta para poderla aplicar. Este no es el caso. Por otro lado, al menos en la versión digital, la nitidez de las figuras no es suficiente para leer textos pequeños.