Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design

 


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Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated is a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary encyclopedia covering 125 laws, guidelines, human biases, and general considerations important to successful design. Richly illustrated and easy to navigate, it pairs clear explanations of every design concept with visual examples of the ideas applied in practice. From the 80/20 Rule to the Weakest Link, every major design concept is defined and illustrated.

Whether a marketing campaign or a museum exhibit, a video game or a complex control system, the design we see is the culmination of many concepts and practices brought together from a variety of disciplines. Because no one can be an expert on everything, designers have always had to scramble to find the information and know-how required to make a design work—until now.

Just a few of the principles that will broaden your design knowledge, promote brainstorming, and help you check the quality of your work:

  • Baby-Face Bias
  • Expectation Effect
  • Golden Ration
  • Ockham's Razor
  • Proximity
  • Scaling Fallacy

The book is organized alphabetically so that principles can be easily and quickly referenced by name. For those interested in addressing a specific problem of design, the principles havealso been indexed by questions commonly confronting designers (How can I help people learn from my design? How can I enhance the usability of a design? How can I make better design decisions? …).

Each principle is presented in a two-page format. The left-hand page contains a succinct definition, a full description of the principle, examples of its use, and guidelines for use. Side notes appear to the right of the text, and provide elaborations and references. The right-hand page contains visual examples and related graphics to support a deeper understanding of the principle.

This landmark reference is the standard for designers, engineers, architects, and students who seek to broaden and improve their design expertise.


From the Publisher

Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated:

26 Anthropomorphic Form

A tendency to find forms that appear humanoid or exhibit human-like characteristics appealing. The Method Dish Soap bottle designed by Karim Rashid put the Method brand on the map. Though not free of functional deficiencies (e.g., leaking valve), its abstract anthropomorphic form gave it a sculptural, affective quality not previously found in soap bottles. Contrast it with its disappointing replacement.

62 Contour Bias

A tendency to favor objects with contours over objects with sharp angles or points. From top left to bottom right, the Alessi il Conico, 9093, 9091, and Mami kettles arranged from most angular to most contoured. At the extremes of this continuum, the il Conico will be most effective at grabbing attention, and the Mami will be most liked generally. The 9093 and 9091 incorporate both angular and contoured features, balancing attention-getting with likeability. Historically, the il Conico and 9093 are Alessi’s best-selling kettles.

120 Hick’s Law

The time it takes to make a decision increases as the number of alternatives increases. The Hick’s Law equation is RT = a + b log2 (n), where RT = response time, a = the total time that is not involved with decision making, b = an empirically derived constant based on the cognitive processing time for each option (in this case 0.155 seconds for humans), n= number of equally probable alternatives. For example, assume it takes 2 seconds to detect an alarm and understand it’s meaning. Further, assume that pressing one of five buttons will solve the problem caused by the alarm. The time to respond would be RT = (2 sec) + (0.155 sec)(log2 (5)) = 2.36 sec.

168 Not Invented Here

A bias against ideas and innovations that originate elsewhere. In 1982, the Sinclair ZX81 was licensed to Timex for resale in the United States as the Timex Sinclair 1000. The computers were identical except for the name on the case and minor motherboard differences. Sales were strong. With subsequent models, however, NIH syndrome inclined Timex to introduce more and more changes. Eventually, the product divergence created issues of software compatibility — costs went up, sales went down. Timex dropped out of the computer market in 1984.