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Book Review: Universal Principles of Design - Lidwell, Holden & Butler
By brian, Section News
Posted on Sat Apr 10th, 2004 at 13:33:36 GMT
This book contains an accessible summary of 100 universal design principles. Although mainly intended for graphic design, the fascinating feature of this book is that the principles can be applied to many areas including software -- both in User Interfaces and code itself.


Universal Principles of Design
W.Lidwell, K.Holden, J.Butler
ISBN 1-59253-007-9, 215 pages, RRP $40. Hardback. Published 2003, Rockport Publishers.

Each of these universal design principles is described in on a double-page spread, with one page of explanation and references to the scientific literature, and one page of real-world examples. The principles cover five topics:

  • How can I influence the way a design is perceived?
  • How can I help people learn from a design?
  • How can I enhance the usability of a design?
  • How can I increase the appeal of a design?
  • How can I make better design decisions?

A random sampling of topics in the "Usability" category of the book includes: The 80/20 Rule, Aesthetic-Usability Effect, Entry Point, Fitt's Law, Hick's Law, Layering, Progressive Disclosure, Recognition over Recall, and Wayfinding.

The "Design Decisions" category includes topics such as Convergence, Flexibility-Usability Tradeoff, Modularity, Redundancy, Scaling Fallacy, Structural Forms and Weakest Link.

These are just a sampling of the principles, there are many others. Probably about 30% of the topics are purely visual, such as "Fibonacci Sequence" and "Top down lighting bias" but most are applicable generally, and to software design in particular.

The references to the original scientific literature for each principle distinguish this book from others which simply put forward personal opinions as supposed facts.

Most free software could be improved by a simple application of the principles in this book. The 100 principles provide a useful checklist.

Overall, recommended for anyone writing software or designing user interfaces.

More information: Rockport Publishers.

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Book Review: Universal Principles of Design - Lidwell, Holden & Butler | 1 comments (1 topical, editorial) | Post A Comment
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by a member of the hurd (#-1) on Wed Dec 15th, 2004 at 10:12:40 GMT

鲜 /--*i googler"r- 鲜 /--*i /-绿A`d摆

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