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Distinctive Design: A Practical Guide to a Useful, Beautiful Web by Alexander Dawson

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Chapter 5: Introducing Design Psychology

Understanding how design influences the human mind

Distinctive design is more than just an art; it’s a science that has gained widespread recognition, accounting for and acknowledging fields such as psychology, which influences every page and every user who takes advantage of our services. Users interact with your services. Sometimes, users behave irrationally and erratically when negotiating a site’s structure, and understanding how they think, react, and feel is as central to design as is the creation of content. Without knowing your users, you cannot hope to design for them.

In this chapter, I underline how behavior affects users’ perceptions of sites, examining how ethics come into play and how you can responsibly produce safe, objective, unbiased layouts that don’t inhibit users. You also read about aspects of psychology, such as the nature versus nurture debate, and the two conditioning models (classical and operant). Then you examine user emotions and expectations, the psychology of color and type, and information on empathy and empowerment. Finally, I round off the chapter by having you look at the Gestalt theory, perception theories, and how memory plays a central role in the ability to engage with a site’s core layout.

Of Ethics and Objectivity

Given the range of design theories and elements covered in earlier chapters, it’s important to note that a design exists far beyond the confines of what may be physically attached to a ...

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