Takeaways: HOW PEOPLE THINK

 

The brain has 23 billion neurons. That’s a lot of capacity for mental processing. So what’s going on in there?

Understanding how people think is crucial if you’re going to design for them. Just as there are visual illusions, there are also thinking illusions. This chapter describes some of the interesting things the brain does as it makes sense of the world.

 

PEOPLE PROCESS INFORMATION BETTER IN BITE-SIZED CHUNKS

  • Use progressive disclosure. Show people what they need when they need it. Build in links for them to get more information.
  • If you have to make a trade-off on clicks versus thinking, use more clicks and less thinking.
  • Before you use progressive disclosure, make sure you’ve done your research and know what most people want and when they want it.

SOME TYPES OF MENTAL PROCESSING ARE MORE CHALLENGING THAN OTHERS

  • Evaluate the loads of an existing product to see if you should reduce one or more of the loads to make it easier to use.
  • When you design a product, remember that making people think or remember (cognitive load) requires the most mental resources.
  • Look for trade-offs, for example, where you can reduce a cognitive load by increasing a visual or motor load.
  • Make sure your targets are large enough to be easily reached.

MINDS WANDER 30 PERCENT OF THE TIME

  • People will only focus on a task for a limited time. Assume that their minds are wandering often.
  • If possible, use hyperlinks to grab onto this idea of quickly switching from topic to topic.
  • People like Web surfing because it enables this type of wandering.
  • Make sure you build in feedback about where people are so that if they wander, it’s easier for them to get back to the original location or go to the next.

THE MORE UNCERTAIN PEOPLE ARE, THE MORE THEY DEFEND THEIR IDEAS

  • Don’t spend a lot of time trying to change someone’s ingrained beliefs.
  • The best way to change a belief is to get someone to commit to something very small.
  • Don’t just give people evidence that their belief is not logical, or tenable, or a good choice. This may backfire and make them dig in even harder.

PEOPLE CREATE MENTAL MODELS

  • People always have a mental model.
  • People get their mental models from past experience.
  • Not everyone has the same mental model.
  • An important reason for doing user or customer research is so you can understand the mental models of your target audience.

PEOPLE INTERACT WITH CONCEPTUAL MODELS

  • Design the conceptual model purposefully. Don’t let it “bubble up” from the technology.
  • The secret to designing an intuitive user experience is making sure that the conceptual model of your product matches, as much as possible, the mental models of your audience. If you get that right, you will have created a positive and useful experience.
  • If you have a brand new product that you know will not match anyone’s mental model, you’ll need to provide training to prepare people to create a new mental model.

PEOPLE PROCESS INFORMATION BEST IN STORY FORM

  • Stories are the natural way people process information.
  • Use a story if you want people to make a causal leap.
  • Stories aren’t just for fun. No matter how dry you think your information is, using stories will make it understandable, interesting, and memorable.

PEOPLE LEARN BEST FROM EXAMPLES

  • People learn best by example. Don’t just tell people what to do. Show them.
  • Use pictures and screen shots to show by example.
  • Better yet, use short videos as examples.

PEOPLE ARE DRIVEN TO CREATE CATEGORIES

  • People like to put things into categories.
  • If there is a lot of information and it is not in categories, people will feel overwhelmed and try to organize the information on their own.
  • It’s always a good idea to organize information for your audience as much as possible. Keep in mind the four-item rule from the “How People Remember” chapter.
  • It’s useful to get input from people on what organization schemes make the most sense to them, but the critical thing is that you organize the material. What you call things is often more important than how you have it organized.
  • If you’re designing sites for children under age seven, any organization into categories you are doing is probably more for the adults in that child’s world, not for the child.

TIME IS RELATIVE

  • Always provide progress indicators so people know how much time something is going to take.
  • If possible, make the amount of time it takes to do a task or bring up information consistent, so people can adjust their expectations accordingly.
  • To make a process seem shorter, break it up into steps and have people think less. It’s mental processing that makes something seem to take a long time.

THERE ARE FOUR WAYS TO BE CREATIVE

  • There are different ways to be creative. If you’re designing an experience that is supposed to foster creativity, decide first which type of creativity you are talking about and design for that.
  • Deliberate and cognitive creativity requires a high degree of knowledge and lots of time. If you want people to show this type of creativity, you have to make sure you are providing enough prerequisite information. You need to give resources of where people can go to get the information they need to be creative. You also need to give them enough time to work on the problem.
  • Deliberate and emotional creativity requires quiet time. You can provide questions or things for people to ponder, but don’t expect that they will be able to come up with answers quickly and just by interacting with others at a Web site. For example, creating an online support site for people with a particular problem might ultimately result in deliberate and emotional creativity, but the person will probably have to go offline and
    have quiet time to have the insights. Suggest that they do that and then come back online to share their insights with others.
  • Spontaneous and cognitive creativity requires stopping work on the problem and getting away. If you are designing a Web application or site where you expect people to solve a problem with this kind of creativity, you will need to set up the problem in one stage and then have them come back a few days later with their solution.
  • Spontaneous and emotional creativity probably can’t be designed for.
  • Remember that your own creative process for design follows these same rules. Allow yourself time to work on a creative design solution, and when you are stuck, sleep on it.

PEOPLE CAN BE IN A FLOW STATE

If you’re trying to design for, or induce, a flow state (for example, you are a game designer):

  • Give people control over their actions during the activity.
  • Break up the difficulty into stages. People need to feel that the current goal is challenging, yet achievable.
  • Give constant feedback.
  • Minimize distractions.

CULTURE AFFECTS HOW PEOPLE THINK

  • People from different geographical regions and cultures respond differently to photos and Web site designs. In East Asia people notice and remember the background and context more than people in the West do.
  • If you are designing products for multiple cultures and geographical regions, then you had better conduct audience research in multiple locations.
  • When reading psychology research, you might want to avoid generalizing the results if you know that the study participants were all from one geographical region. Be careful of overgeneralizing.

 

Takeways from the book “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People” written by Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. I just logging the Takeways given at the end of all chapter of the book. These are not my writing. I am just posting them for me for future reference.

Takeaways: HOW PEOPLE REMEMBER

 

SHORT-TERM MEMORY IS LIMITED

  • Don’t ask people to remember information from one place to another, such as reading letters or numbers on one page and then entering them on another page; if you do, they’ll probably forget the information and get frustrated.
  • If you ask people to remember things in working memory, don’t ask them to do anything else until they’ve completed that task. Working memory is sensitive to interference—too much sensory input will prevent them from focusing attention.

PEOPLE REMEMBER ONLY FOUR ITEMS AT ONCE

  • If you could limit the information you give people to four items, that would actually be a great idea, but you don’t have to be that drastic. You can use more pieces of information as long as you group and chunk.
  • Include no more than four items in each chunk.
  • Be aware that people tend to use external aids (notes, lists, calendars, appointment books) so they don’t have to rely on memory.

PEOPLE HAVE TO USE INFORMATION TO MAKE IT STICK

  • If you want people to remember something, then you have to go over it again and again. Practice really does make perfect.
  • One of the major reasons to do user or customer research is so that you can identify and understand the schemata that your particular target audience has.
  • If people already have a schema that relates to information that you are providing, make sure you point out what that schema is. It will be easier for them to learn and remember the information if they can plug it into an existing schema.

IT’S EASIER TO RECOGNIZE INFORMATION THAN RECALL IT

  • Eliminate memory load whenever possible. Many user interface design guidelines and interface features have evolved over the years to mitigate issues with human memory.
  • Try not to require people to recall information. It’s much easier for them to recognize information than recall it from memory.

MEMORY TAKES A LOT OF MENTAL RESOURCES

  • Use concrete terms and icons. They will be easier to remember.
  • Let people rest (and even sleep) if you want them to remember information.
  • Try not to interrupt people if they are learning or encoding information.
  • Information in the middle of a presentation will be the least likely to be remembered.

PEOPLE RECONSTRUCT MEMORIES EACH TIME THEY REMEMBER THEM

  • If you’re testing or interviewing customers about a product, the words you use can affect greatly what people “remember.”
  • Don’t rely on self-reports of past behavior. People will not remember accurately what they or others did or said.
  • Take what people say after the fact—when they are remembering using your product, for instance, or remembering the experience of calling your customer service line—with a grain of salt.

IT’S A GOOD THING THAT PEOPLE FORGET

  • People are always going to forget.
  • What people forget is not a conscious decision.
  • Design with forgetting in mind. If some information is really important, don’t rely on people to remember it. Provide it for them in your design, or have a way for them to easily look it up.

THE MOST VIVID MEMORIES ARE WRONG

  • If you know that someone had a dramatic or traumatic experience, you need to understand two things: 1. They’ll be convinced that what they remember is true and 2. It isn’t exactly true!
  • Remembering traumatic or dramatic events in great detail is called “flashbulb memory.” Emotions are processed in the amygdala, which is very close to the hippocampus, which is involved in the long-term coding of information into memories.

 

Takeways from the book “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People” written by Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. I just logging the Takeways given at the end of all chapter of the book. These are not my writing. I am just posting them for me for future reference.

Daily Read

  • We’re designing for a browsers and operating systems that have a well-established visual language and pretty solid interaction design patterns. Also, the increasingly popular Flat Design aesthetic is making everything look the same.
  • You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when designing a door handle; two or three types of handles may be enough to cover all the possible use cases.
  • Apps are not necessarily your user’s final destination anymore; they’re just an engine that translates raw data into actionable information.
  • Some users might still occasionally open that beautifully-designed weather app to check the forecast, but the most useful thing the app can do is to send users a notification 15 minutes before it rains?—?reminding them to bring their umbrella as they leave. Yes, a notification.
  • New interactions don’t always require new screens
  • The interface of the future might not always be made of pixels.
  • just the right amount of information available at the exactly right time users need it
  • People want to do one thing at a time, and they want to be guided through the flow as opposed to being prompted with multiple decision points at every step.
  • People are getting used to the convenience and simplicity of linear experiences.
  • Sitemaps are becoming taller and narrower?—?and documentation is revolving around a user journey that goes way beyond just pixels and screens.
  • Our biggest challenge ahead is to make sure that everyone on the team, from product managers to customer support, understands their role in improving the user’s experience and how crucial that is for the business.
  • UX professionals need to step in and play a more central role in coordinating all the collective effort, while collaborating with their peers.
  • User experience is not a differentiator anymore; it’s a necessity.
  • We don’t need more things and objects to carry around. We need to make what we already use, smarter.
  • Rather than make our lives easier, smartwatches try to combine too many actions into too small a space?—?sacrificing usability for novelty.
  • How can me make objects more meaningful for people, focused on their real needs?
  • Before we start building a new consumer-facing internet of trinkets and tchotchkes, how about bringing the internet to the things people already care about?
  • The biggest challenge of designing successful digital products today relies on having a deep understanding of the user’s context, wants and needs.
  • Adding new features to a product is becoming increasingly easier from a technological perspective, but doing so without proper research could mean making false assumptions about what people really care about.
  • It’s useless to try to find the best design pattern for your product, if the feature you’re building does not solve a legitimate, research-proven user need.

Takeaways: HOW PEOPLE READ

With adult literacy rates now over 80 percent worldwide, reading is a primary form of communication for most people. But how do we read? And what should designers know about reading?

IT’S A MYTH THAT CAPITAL LETTERS ARE INHERENTLY HARD TO READ

  • People perceive all capitals as shouting, and they’re unused to reading them, so use all uppercase sparingly.
  • Save all capital letters for headlines, and when you need to get someone’s attention, for example, before deleting an important file.

READING AND COMPREHENDING ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS

  • People are active readers. What they understand and remember from what they read depends on their previous experience, their point of view while reading, and the instructions they are given beforehand.
  • Don’t assume that people will remember specific information in what they read.
  • Provide a meaningful title or headline. It’s one of the most important things you can do.
  • Tailor the reading level of your text to your audience. Use simple words and fewer syllables to make your material accessible to a wider audience.

PATTERN RECOGNITION HELPS PEOPLE IDENTIFY LETTERS IN DIFFERENT FONTS

  • Serif and sans serif fonts are equal in terms of readability.
  • Unusual or overly decorative fonts can interfere with pattern recognition and slow down reading.
  • If people have trouble reading the font, they will transfer that feeling of difficulty to the meaning of the text itself and decide that the subject of the text is hard to do or understand.

FONT SIZE MATTERS

  • Choose a point size that is large enough for people of various ages to read comfortably.
  • Use a font with a large x-height for online viewing so that the type will appear to be larger.

READING A COMPUTER SCREEN IS HARDER THAN READING PAPER

  • Use a large point size for text that will be read on a computer screen. This will help to minimize eye strain.
  • Break text up into chunks. Use bullets, short paragraphs, and pictures.
  • Provide ample contrast between foreground and background. Black text on a white background is the most readable.
  • Make sure your content is worth reading. In the end, it all boils down to whether or not the text on the page is of interest to your audience.

PEOPLE READ FASTER WITH A LONGER LINE LENGTH, BUT THEY PREFER A SHORTER LINE LENGTH

  • Line length presents a quandary: Do you give people the short line length and multiple columns that they prefer, or go against their own preference and intuition, knowing that they will read faster if you use a longer line length and a single column?
  • Use a longer line length (100 characters per line) if reading speed is an issue.
  • Use a shorter line length (45 to 72 characters per line) if reading speed is less critical.
  • For a multipage article, consider using multiple columns and a short line length (45 characters per line).

 

Takeways from the book “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People” written by Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. I just logging the Takeways given at the end of all chapter of the book. These are not my writing. I am just posting them for me for future reference.

Takeaways: HOW PEOPLE SEE

Vision trumps all the senses. Half of the brain’s resources are dedicated to seeing and interpreting what we see. What our eyes physically perceive is only one part of the story. The images coming in to our brains are changed and interpreted. It’s really our brains that are “seeing.”

WHAT YOU SEE ISN’T WHAT YOUR BRAIN GETS

  • What you think people are going to see on your Web page may not be what they do see. It might depend on their background, knowledge, familiarity with what they are looking at, and expectations.
  • You might be able to persuade people to see things in a certain way, depending on how they are presented.

PERIPHERAL VISION IS USED MORE THAN CENTRAL VISION TO GET THE GIST OF WHAT YOU SEE

  • People use peripheral vision when they look at a computer screen, and usually decide what a page is about based on a quick glimpse of what is in their peripheral vision.
  • Although the middle of the screen is important for central vision, don’t ignore what is in the viewers’ peripheral vision. Make sure the information in the periphery communicates clearly the purpose of the page and the site.
  • If you want users to concentrate on a certain part of the screen, don’t put animation or blinking elements in their peripheral vision.

PEOPLE IDENTIFY OBJECTS BY RECOGNIZING PATTERNS

  • Use patterns as much as possible, since people will automatically be looking for them.
  • Use grouping and white space to create patterns.
  • If you want people to recognize an object (for example, an icon), use a simple geometric drawing of the object. This will make it easier to recognize the underlying geons, and thus make the object easier and faster to recognize.
  • Favor 2D elements over 3D ones. The eyes communicate what they see to the brain as a 2D object. 3D representations on the screen may actually slow down recognition and comprehension.

THERE’S A SPECIAL PART OF THE BRAIN JUST FOR RECOGNIZING FACES

  • People recognize and react to faces on Web pages faster than anything else on the page (at least by those who are not autistic).
  • Faces looking right at people will have the greatest emotional impact on a Web page, probably because the eyes are the most important part of the face.
  • If a face on a Web page looks at another spot or product on the page, people will also tend to look at that product. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they paid attention to it, just that they physically looked at it.

PEOPLE IMAGINE OBJECTS TILTED AND AT A SLIGHT ANGLE ABOVE

  • People recognize a drawing or object faster and remember it better if it’s shown in the canonical perspective.
  • If you have icons at your Web site or in your Web or software application, draw them from a canonical perspective.

PEOPLE SCAN SCREENS BASED ON PAST EXPERIENCE AND EXPECTATIONS

  • Put the most important information (or things you want people to focus on) in the top third of the screen or in the middle.
  • Avoid putting anything important at the edges, since people tend not to look there.
  • Design the screen or page so that people can move in their normal reading pattern.
  • Avoid a pattern where people have to bounce back and forth to many parts of the screen to accomplish a task.

PEOPLE SEE CUES THAT TELL THEM WHAT TO DO WITH AN OBJECT

  • Think about affordance cues when you design. By giving people cues about what they can do with a particular object, you make it more likely that they will take that action.
  • Use shading to show when an object is chosen or active.
  • Avoid providing incorrect affordance cues.
  • Rethink hover cues if you’re designing for a device that uses touch rather than a pointing device.

PEOPLE CAN MISS CHANGES IN THEIR VISUAL FIELDS

  • Don’t assume that people will see something on a computer screen just because it’s there. This is especially true when you refresh a screen and make one change on it. Users may not even realize they are even looking at a different screen.
  • If you want to be sure that people notice a change in their visual fields, add additional visual cues (such as blinking) or auditory cues (such as a beep).
  • Be cautious about how you interpret eye-tracking data. Don’t ascribe too much importance to it or use it as the main basis for design decisions.

PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT THINGS THAT ARE CLOSE TOGETHER BELONG TOGETHER

  • If you want items (pictures, photos, headings, or text) to be seen as belonging together, then put them in close proximity.
  • Before you use lines or boxes to separate items or group them together, try experimenting with the amount of space between them first. Sometimes changing the spacing is sufficient, and you’ll be reducing the visual noise of the page.
  • Put more space between items that don’t go together and less space between items that do. This sounds like common sense, but many Web page layouts ignore this idea.

RED AND BLUE TOGETHER ARE HARD ON THE EYES

  • Avoid putting blue and red or green and red near each other on a page or screen.
  • Avoid blue or green text on a red background, and red or green text on a blue background.

NINE PERCENT OF MEN AND ONE-HALF PERCENT OF WOMEN ARE COLOR-BLIND

  • Check your images and Web sites with www.vischeck.com or colorfilter.wickline.org to see how they will look to someone who is color-blind.
  • If you use color to imply a certain meaning (for example, items in green need immediate attention), use a redundant coding scheme (items in green and with a box around them need immediate attention).
  • When designing color coding, consider colors that work for everyone, for example, varying shades of brown and yellow. Avoid red, green, and blue.

THE MEANINGS OF COLORS VARY BY CULTURE

  • Choose your colors carefully, taking into account the meaning that the colors may invoke.
  • Pick a few major cultures or countries that you will be reaching with your design and check them on the cultural color chart from InformationIsBeautiful.net to be sure you’re avoiding unintended color associations for that culture.

 

Takeways from the book “100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People” written by Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. I just logging the Takeways given at the end of all chapter of the book. These are not my writing. I am just posting them for me for future reference.

A Designer’s Research Manual: Succeed in Design by Knowing Your Clients and What They Really Need

by Jennifer Visocky O’Grady, Kenneth Visocky O’Grady

Doing research can make all the difference between a great design and a good design. Most experienced designers would quantify this “legwork” with the term research. By engaging in competitive intelligence, customer profiling, color and trend forecasting, etc., designers are able to bring something to the table that reflects a commercial value for the client beyond a well-crafted logo or brochure. Although scientific and analytical in nature, research is the basis of all good design work. This book provides a comprehensive manual for designers on what design research is, why it is necessary, how to do research, and how to apply it to design work. As designers embrace research methodologies, they share a common vernacular with their clients, and establish respect as idea people. In an increasingly crowded marketplace, embracing research practices will ensure a continued viable role for designers in business. No other books address this issue for student and professional graphic designers. Books on how to do research are usually aimed at writers, business marketers, and scientists. The ability to execute effective research methods is as important to a career in graphic design as the ability to build a grid or layout a page. Understanding the needs of the client and the client’s market are essential components of creating value.

Review from GoodReads

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

by John Medina

2251306

Jon Medina have great hand of writing, humor, eye to the very small things and the way knowledge work. He how about our most important parts of the body, brain. And he know how we think, what makes us click, why do we remember certain thing life long, our reactions to the wild word, our process of thinking. He can see things most of us ignore. He described in 12 principles how to survive in this complicated word.

This book is a must reed for the people who like to think, who running after knowledge and every green student of the living world. Read it, please.

 

Goodreads

User Interface Design Principles

 

Clarity is job #1

  • Clarity is the first and most important job of any interface.
  • Clarity inspires confidence and leads to further use. One hundred clear screens is preferable to a single cluttered one.

 

Interfaces exist to enable interaction

  • Interfaces exist to enable interaction between humans and our world.
  • The best interfaces can inspire, evoke, mystify, and intensify our relationship with the world.

 

Conserve attention at all costs

  • Don’t litter the side of your applications with destructible material…remember why the screen exists in the first place.
  • Honor attention and not only will your readers be happier, your results will be better.

 

Keep users in control

  • Humans are most comfortable when they feel in control of themselves and their environment.
  • Keep users in control by regularly surfacing system status, by describing causation (if you do this that will happen) and by giving insight into what to expect at every turn.

 

Direct manipulation is best

  • The best interface is none at all, when we are able to directly manipulate the physical objects in our world.
  • Strive for that original goal of direct manipulation…design an interface with as little a footprint as possible, recognizing as much as possible natural human gestures.

 

One primary action per screen

  • Every screen we design should support a single action of real value to the person using it. This makes it easier to learn, easier to use, and easier to add to or build on when necessary.

 

Keep secondary actions secondary

  • Screens with a single primary action can have multiple secondary actions but they need to be kept secondary!
  • Keep secondary actions secondary by making them lighter weight visually or shown after the primary action has been achieved.

 

Provide a natural next step

  • Very few interactions are meant to be the last, so thoughtfully design a next step for each interaction a person has with your interface.
  • Just as we like in human conversation, provide an opening for further interaction.

 

Appearance follows behavior

  • Humans are most comfortable with things that behave the way we expect.
  • Designed elements should look like how they behave.
  • Someone should be able to predict how an interface element will behave merely by looking at it.
  • If it looks like a button it should act like a button.

 

Consistency matters

  • Elements that behave the same should look the same.

 

Strong visual hierarchies work best

  • A strong visual hierarchy is achieved when there is a clear viewing order to the visual elements on a screen.
  • Most people don’t notice visual hierarchy but it is one of the easiest ways to strengthen (or weaken) a design.

 

Smart organization reduces cognitive load

  • John Maeda says in his book Simplicity, smart organization of screen elements can make the many appear as the few.
  • Group together like elements, show natural relationships by placement and orientation.
  • Don’t force the user to figure things out…show them by designing those relationships into your screens.

 

Highlight, don’t determine, with color

  • Color should not determine much in an interface. It can help, be used for highlighting, be used to guide attention, but should not be the only differentiators of things.
  • It can help, be used for highlighting, be used to guide attention, but should not be the only differentiator of things.

 

Progressive disclosure

  • Show only what is necessary on each screen.
  • Avoid the tendency to over-explain or show everything all at once.
  • When possible, defer decisions to subsequent screens by progressively disclosing information as necessary.

 

Help people inline

  • In ideal interfaces, help is not necessary because the interface is learnable and usable.
  • The step below this, reality, is one in which help is inline and contextual, available only when and where it is needed, hidden from view at all other times.

 

A crucial moment: the zero state

  • The first time experience with an interface is crucial, yet often overlooked by designers.
  • …it should provide direction and guidance for getting up to speed.
  • Much of the friction of interaction is in that initial context…once people understand the rules they have a much higher likelihood of success.

 

Great design is invisible

  • A curious property of great design is that it usually goes unnoticed by the people who use it.
  • If the design is successful the user can focus on their own goals and not the interface…when they complete their goal they are satisfied and do not need to reflect on the situation.
  • Great designers are content with a well-used design…and know that happy users are often silent.

 

Build on other design disciplines

  • Visual and graphic design, typography, copywriting, information architecture and visualization…all of these disciplines are part of interface design.
  • Do not get into turf wars or look down on other disciplines: grab from them the aspects that help you do your work and push on.

 

Interfaces exist to be used

  • As in most design disciplines, interface design is successful when people are using what you’ve designed.
  • Interface design can be as much about creating an environment for use as it is creating an artifact worth using.
  • It is not enough for an interface to satisfy the ego of its designer: it must be used!

 

I’ve grabbed these facts from this great article.

Principles of User Interface Design

UI/UX Related Pages

My Read

 

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