Book Review: 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

After reading Susan Weinschenk’s 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People, I found it a great reference for solving design problems. Susan breaks the book out into 10 self-contained sections that discuss the psychology of how people see, read, remember, think, and feel.

Susan does a great job of keeping each topic very digestible, with simple language, while still going deeper with a more scientific approach to things.

This book promises to answer questions every designer has had over the course of his or her career. I know I’ve asked a few of these  questions myself:

  • What line length for text is the best?
  • Are some fonts better than others?
  • How can you predict the types of errors people will make?
  • What grabs and holds attention on a page or screen?

Each section is packed full of valuable information about how and why we humans think the way we do. One of my favorite sections was about how people see. A lot of the things in this section were basic reminders, like how red and blue colors are hard on the eyes when used together. Others were more in depth, like the various meanings of colors throughout different cultures, and how people see cues that tell them what to do with objects. The latter is especially important in user interface design, because if you want your user to click a button, it should look like a tactile button.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

For web and user interface designers, I would recommend the sections about how people see, read, focus their attention, and decide. The takeaways from these sections were especially helpful in designing interfaces.

Overall I found this book a staple during my work day, I often refer to it when trying to solve an issue when I have to ask “what would the user do?” I would recommend this book to all of my fellow designer friends or to friends who are just interested in learning about how people interact with things in general.

You can purchase Susan’s book online at Peachpit  in paperback and ebook format. Use our Peachpit User Group coupon code (UE-23AA-PEUF) to get 35% off your purchase.

June 2011 Events in Metro Detroit Area

Since I’m involved with many web, social media and usability groups in the area, I often get asked about upcoming events. I’ve made a habit of announcing events at our Refresh Detroit meetings. We don’t have a calendar in our area that tracks all events (yes, Nick I’m giving serious thought to creating one.

I created a list of June events that you may want to attend. It’s a mix of the areas I’m interested in and many of the events are free. If you know of an event you would like added, please contact me.

June 1, 2011
D-New Tech Meetup
Detroit, Michigan
Compuware
June 6, 2011
Mobile Monday Ann Arbor
App Promotion – Great, You Built It, Now What?
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor SPARK
June 7, 2011
Joomla! Detroit User Group
Detroit, Michigan
Quicken Loans
June 8, 2011
Social Media Club Detroit
Pleasant Ridge, Michigan
ePrize
June 10, 2011
Small Business Tools Summit 2011
Northville, Michigan
Hampton Inn
June 13, 2011
Mobile Monday Detroit
Android Software Development
Detroit, Michigan
Compuware
June 13, 2011
Ann Arbor Adobe User Group
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor SPARK
June 14, 2011
Michigan Usability Professionals’ Association
Pioneering the Agile UX Frontier
Ann Arbor, Michigan
ProQuest
June 16, 2011
Detroitnet.org
Happy Hour
Utica, Michigan
Red Ox Tavern
June 22, 2011
Michigan Flex User Group
Mobile Workflow with Adobe Evangelist Ryan Stewart
SRT Solutions
June 30, 2011
Social Media Day Detroit 2011
Detroit, Michigan
MotorCity Casino Hotel’s Sound Board

Deborah Edwards-Onoro is a group leader of Refresh Detroit. She owns Lireo Designs, a web development company, is an officer of the Michigan Usability Professionals’ Association and host of Plymouth Tweetea. You can find her tweeting about web design, user experience, accessibility and higher education @redcrew.

September Meeting: Putting the User First, Remotely

Join us for our next meeting where Mark Thompson-Kolar will discuss “Putting the user first, remotely” at Cengage Learning … and your company.

In today’s era of agile methods — when software is developed quickly in sprints and ease of use often is crucial for success in a fierce marketplace — companies of all sizes benefit from hearing users’ input early and often. Smaller-scale, remote user testing can give firms of any size the ability to efficiently and effectively gather vital user-experience information without spending a lot of money or time. Continue reading