The most recent book I’ve read was Donald A. Norman’s Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things. Norman provides “evidence that aesthetically pleasing objects enable you to work better”.
When designing products, utility, usability, function and form are important considerations. In addition, all products contain visceral, behavioral, and reflective design components. These influence the emotions we “feel” towards products — whether we end up “loving” or “hating” them.
Visceral design is the aesthetics or “how something looks”. Often this is what first attracts someone to a product. Reactions can range from “wow”, “cool”, “beautiful” or even a negative “ugly”.
On a recent trip to the library, I ran across Art Chantry Speaks, by Art Chantry. After almost putting the book back on the shelf, I decided to take it home and read it. I’m so glad… I really enjoyed this book.
I moved to Seattle in 1991 and by then Art Chantry was celebrated for his rock posters, rock magazines and album covers. While I didn’t personally know Art, I had heard him talk at the SPGA (Society of Graphic Designers) meetings and knew other designers who shared studio space with him. But I really didn’t connect with him as a person or as a designer.
In reading Art Chantry Speaks, I learned about his love of the history of Graphic Design — the one NOT taught to students in design school. Art traces back many graphic design trends, styles and influences back to the designers who really created them rather than the designers who took the credit. Art also looks back on how the graphic design business evolved from a profession populated by mostly self-taught sign painters to the current “art form” that it is considered today.
I first read Jesse James Garrett”s book several years ago when I went back to school to get my Web Design Certification at Seattle Central Community College. At the time, I found this book to be an excellent explanation of how to develop a better “user experience” for web site users.
The Elements of User Experience discusses the various strategies and requirements that should be considered when planning a site. James also introduces a conceptual framework made up of 5 planes — the surface plane, skeleton plane, structure plane, scope plane and the strategy plane for understanding how decisions should be made in designing a website’s user experience.
Currently, I’m working as part of a team to redesign an existing site. When the site was originally created a year and a half ago, our team took the time to clarify what we wanted the site to accomplish, who our audience was, etc. While we felt that we had accurately defined “What” our site needed to be at the time, the needs of our site have changed and it’s time to reconsider what kind of site AND user experience we want to create. This book has been a great book to reread!