About Face 3

About Face

Also known as, “The Bible.” Just kidding, but seriously, this book covers everything, except religion; unless you’re a die-hard designer, then maybe this is your religion. End of book review (nailed it!)

“THE ESSENTIALS OF INTERACTION DESIGN” is the subtitle of this encyclopedic archival. More befitting “ENTIRETY” might be; the authors didn’t gloss over a thing here. As the third edition (2007) of a book initially published in 1995, it’s evolved with its time. However, with mobile experiencing tremendous growth since 2007, the book is beginning to feel antiquated in that regard. While the foundation of the design process outlayed in the first half of the book seems to have a timeless relevance, it’s the technical advice for controls, menus, toolbars, and other desktop interface designs that make the later half of the book already outdated. And understandably so, given the publishing date of 2007. Credence that even technological wizards like Cooper have mere mortal foresight for technological evolution.

I was particularly fond of the Design Values outlined in Chapter 8. Designers should design solutions that are:

  1. Ethical – considerate, helpful, do no harm, and improve human situations.
  2. Purposeful – help users achieve their goals and aspirations. Accomodate user contexts and capacities.
  3. Pragmatic – help commissioning organizations achieve their goals. Accomodate business and technical requirements.
  4. Elegant – Represent the simplest complete solution. Possess internal (self-revealing, understandable) coherence. Appropriately accommodate and stimulate cognition and emotion.

The Meaning of Colors Vary by Culture

This one seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget. I was reminded of it while reading “100 Things Every Designer Should Know About People” by Susan Weinschenk. She references this color wheel by David McCandless in her book.

1276_colours_in_cultureThat’s a lot of variation! More than I expected. There’s another great post, more detailed than I’ll get into one the Web Designer Depot

It’s Getting Hot in Here


Just heard this story from Tim Brown (CEO of IDEO) during a talk he gave at Michigan on Design Thinking.

In Japan, as the Kyoto-Protocol treaty was just being signed, they wanted to proactively lower their energy use. “What are some simple behavioral changes we can make to help lower our carbon footprint?” “How can we get ordinary citizens involved?”

The creative agency hired had identified the temperature of the air conditioning systems in office buildings as being set particularly low during the summer. The reason it was set so low is because Japanese business men insist on wearing formal suits and ties all year round.

The agency reasoned, “if we can convince business men to not wear ties, we’ll be able to reduce the air conditioning systems’ use of energy and therefore our carbon footprint.”

Going ahead, they convinced all the best known Japanese fashion designers to design summer casual clothing. Then, they got the CEOs of all the major corporations in Japan to model the clothes. Because “creating permission” is an important component of Japanese culture (key cultural insight!) they created “cool biz” badges that employees were allowed to wear that gave them permission to wear these new style of clothes.

That year, the campaign estimated a 460,000-ton reduction in CO2 emissions. The following year, 2006, an estimation 1.14 million-ton reduction in CO2 emissions were achieved.


Spoken word on the topic


I love how Professor Liedtka reframes business opportunities in this video. She emphasizes the long term payoff of being able to really understand the problem and people involved in the beginning, longer than we’re used to.

She is brilliant.


I’m currently reading Leah Buley’s book and had enjoyed seeing this video.