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Designing With the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Rules

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,358 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Early user interface (UI) practitioners were trained in cognitive psychology, from which UI design rules were based. But as the field evolves, designers enter the field from many disciplines. Practitioners today have enough experience in UI design that they have been exposed to design rules, but it is essential that they understand the psychology behind the rules in order ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published June 9th 2010 by Morgan Kaufmann Publishers (first published April 14th 2010)
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Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: web-design
I originally began reading “Designing with the Mind in Mind” with hope that it would be an exhaustive list of best practices to guide the design of user interfaces according to scientific evidence. After the first couple chapters, it became clear that the author was going to focus on specific psychological research that had the most impact on UI design, instead of laying out how to use those ideas to accomplish specific tasks while designing user interfaces. At the end of each chapter, the ...more
Nikos Karagiannakis
Before designing a UI, you have to read this book.
Read this book even if you are not trying to design a UI.
In any case, read this book.

I hope I didn't sound very pushy.

Read the book.
Kresimir Mudrovcic
Very good book, definitely exceeded my expectations. Lot of practical examples of UI design with usability and human perception in focus. I like the fact that it offered quite a lot of background from psychology with lot of references to Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" and how known research on human brain can be applied in UI design.
Book is easy to read and digest and I suggest to read it in color format (not like me on Kindle) due to many sample images. :-)
Arnold Petersen
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Despite all the good reviews I didn't have high expectations about the quality of the content but boy oh boy, I was wrong and literally surprised by the precise focus on managing user cognitive behaviour and how UX/UI to accommodate for such techniques. Above all, Jeff backs up all his theories with valid research findings and to make it more practical, he brings real life examples to make a solid case. Unbelievable book
Nov 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Designing with the Mind in Mind is a useful summary of current research on human psychology and neurology and it's implication for design.

It is useful as a summary, and lives up to it's subtext "a simple guide" but as a compendium it falls short. It turns out that understanding u

First as the subtext states the book is more or less a survey of the most up to date research that relate to current user experience guidelines. This takes you through a journey vision, vision and it's impact on reading,
Mirka Danylenko
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Highly, highly recommended for all of those who see themselves UI development field. We often tend to overestimate our users in their ability to understand principles, language etc. that seem obvious to us. This book helps to better understand how human (user's) mind operates and thus to develop better and more responsive software.
Дмитро Булах
This 'simple guide' seems to be based on the thorough examination of the recent findings in psychology and cognitive sciences but implications for design are poorly linked to those ideas. Each chapter falls into two parts where the first is quite an interesting review of modern ideas and theories but the second is mostly 'rule of thumb' common sense design principles and rules.
Dan Drake
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book; it connects cognitive science and psychology with desThinking, Fast and Slowign and user experience. It reminds me of 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People. Now I'd like to read something a bit more...operational, so to speak. I love learning about the neurological details, but as a software developer, I'd also like to know what I can do when making a UI to do a good job of designing with the mind in mind...

One realization I had while reading this:
Douglas Summers-Stay
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this because I'm considering teaching a class where this is one of the textbooks. This book was intriguing because while the first half of each chapter talks about various optical illusions, attention and memory mechanisms, and peculiarities of how the human visual system works (which I was already familiar with), the second half applies it to web design principles, explaining how better web design is better because it takes these principles into account. Everything from placement on the ...more
Jennifer Gottschalk
Designing with the Mind in Mind’ is aimed at designers and developers. It discusses how humans perceive the world around them with a strong focus on how human vision and memory works. The underlying idea is that if designers understand some psychology (and can see how user perception and memory affect user choices), they will be able to make wise design decisions.

The book provides several lists of Design Guidelines and links their similarities to the fact that all are based on human psychology.
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After more than 20 years in UX design, I read this and found myself wanting to stand up and shout, "Amen!" several times per chapter. Every designer and software-design-adjacent person should read this and skip forward through having to learn so many of these topics the hard way.

This was extremely helpful because the author provides not just a set of design guidelines, but also the why behind how we should design things.
Yates Buckley
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: technical
While the book is a bit dated it still provides a quick accessinle overview of many of the key Interaction Design problems. A good way to make sure a UX or UI designer is at least aware of known issues from the early days of software design into websites.

There needs to be much more work in addition to address new areas such as VR and AR or physically interfaces to electronics and audio based controllers, still I am happy I read this book.
Christian Jensen
Not an easy read, but definitely worth the effort for any designer wanting to dig a little deeper into the WHY of UI design rules and guidelines. I'll have to revisit my many, many notes to fully understand some of this stuff, but it's super interesting.

Plus, each chapter is summed up with some actionable takeaways, making the book a lot more comprehensible and useful in my opinion.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: course-books
I suppose I would've enjoyed this book if it wasn't a course book for school. However, it was a course book for school and I did not enjoy the reading experience in the slightest. Therefore I will give it one star. Sue me!
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book on human behaviour and how to design accordingly. Borrowed from library but might purchase in the future for reference. Yes, examples might be dated, but us human beings take much longer than technology to change, so most of the behaviours it describes are still valid.
Emanuel Serbanoiu
I really enjoyed this book. Well written, full of knowledge and must-read for every designer. I loved that it wasn't long, no rambling and had examples that one can apply in his/her work.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as dense as I'd like
Oct 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-star-ratings, adult
A really great introduction to how cognitive psychology relates to designing user interfaces.
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
HCI101. Very good practical examples related to User Interface design problems.
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good points but many of the examples are dated.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The explanations to many design ideas you may already know.
Graham Herrli
This book explains how cognitive psychology principles form a foundation for many principles of interface design.

The book's quality varies greatly from chapter to chapter. Many of the chapters just provide common examples which I've come across several times already while other chapters have some interesting facts I hadn't encountered before. I'm not sure whether this is a result of the book actually containing only a few chapters with interesting information or just a reflection of it being an
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Learn a lot about how people recognize the interface,the interaction.
Karen Mardahl
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book to read for my next UX Book Club in June.

I consider this a must-have reference book now. This book explains the why of design best-practices. I don't believe anyone has done that before. Johnson examines the psychology of people as the basis for designing as we do.

Now that I have read it, I can dive into it and use it to support arguments for this and that decision.

The headings were quite descriptive throughout the book. However, I missed a certain consistency in the layout. There were
Elizabeth Traver
Dec 27, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh. Read 25% and had to put it down. There are some basic useful tips such as font, size, color, and spacing however the examples given are weak and often not supporting the case being made, for example, the writer often asks the reader to look at an image and makes a claim such that -the letter H could be an A in some contexts- however at first and second glance I in know way thought such a thing. This type of example is littered throughout the book with random claims that don't support his ...more
May 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Designing with the Mind in Mind is exactly what it says it is - a simple guide to understanding user interface design rules. This book was 1 of 2 books used as textbooks for a user interface design class I'm taking. It was very easy to read, engaging, interesting and informative. Concepts were clearly & effectively illustrated. This book is not a "how-to", rather it gives design principles that should be considered when designing user interfaces, as well as some explanation of why they ...more
Todd Webb
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this book, Jeff Johnson provides a very approachable overview of the human cognitive and perceptual psychology underpinning modern system design rules. Many software developers and designers are aware of the principles or rules of design from authors like Norman (1983), Shneiderman and Plaisant (2009), Nielsen and Molich (1990), Stone et. al. (2005), and Johnson (2007). But they may not be aware of the psychology that drives those rules. Johnson describes contemporary knowledge about how ...more
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: textbook
I read this book for a Human and Computer Interaction class. I found it very informative and an interesting read. The last 2 chapters were a bit boring for my tastes but still the concepts were very interesting. I gained knowledge not only about how users will see and use a system but how I see and use systems.

The only thing I would recommend is making the book a bit more readable. I had to sort out information into note sheets to understand it better and readers who don't just like to "read"
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extremely interesting book about the psych involved with designing user interfaces, software, websites, etc.
Very helpful and also names other good sources of info.
Not as "textbooky" as I thought it would be (in a good way). A very informational and yet entertaining read.
This book is another "must read" for anyone facing design decisions. It touches on the aspects of user interfaces that programmers or corporate execs might ignore because they assume they understand. This isn't as heavy on the
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is basically a summary of all the different user "limitations" (or as Johnson explains, many of them are really features from our past that have only very recently started to constrain us) a designer must wrest with to make user interfaces feel useful and responsive. Subjects covered include things like vision, color perception and short-term/long-term memory.

Explanations are clear and free from fluff. Moreover, the book is short (<200 pages) yet filled with examples of successes and
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