100 things you need to know about people

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I just had a chance to read this book from cover to cover and was amazed at the amount of detail there was in explaining how people see/understand things. The title “100 Things every designer needs to know about people” is pretty clear in explaining what the book is about. While the intention of the book is for “designers”, the content in the book itself can very much be applied to anyone who wants to communicate a message and not just how to design a website or develop a product. You can see why with chapter headings that focus on how people ‘read, remember, think, feel, and decide’, ‘ what motivates people’, or even ‘how people focus their attention’.

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The written word has been a staple in how we communicate, but then again sharing stories and getting a message across has not only been in written form but in visual and audio formats. And this comes across in the book who’s author, Susan M. Weinshcenk (aka The Brain Lady) has a PH.D in psychology and a 30-year career in applying psychology to the design of technology. The book looks at design (and communication for that matter) from a scientific, yet easy-to-understand, point of view to explain how our minds work and what ways it can be triggered to pay attention.

With lots of images, examples found online and in research papers, and summarized “Takeaways”, the book is very compelling in its message that your audience’s experience is profoundly impacted by what you know – or don’t know – about them. Here’s what is written on the back cover:

We design to elicit responses from people. We want them to buy something, read more, or take action of some kind. Designing without understanding what makes people act the way they do is like exploring a new city without a map: results will be haphazard, confusing, and inefficient. This book combines real science and research with practical examples to deliver a guide every designer needs. With it youll be able to design more intuitive and engaging work for print, websites, applications, and products that matches the way people think, work, and play.

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