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Visual Thinking

Book Description

Visual Thinking brings the science of perception to the art of design. Designers increasingly need to present information in ways that aid their audience’s thinking process. Fortunately, results from the relatively new science of human visual perception provide valuable guidance.

In this book, Colin Ware takes what we now know about perception, cognition, and attention and transforms it into concrete advice that designers can directly apply. He demonstrates how designs can be considered as tools for cognition – extensions of the viewer’s brain in much the same way that a hammer is an extension of the user’s hand. The book includes hundreds of examples, many in the form of integrated text and full-color diagrams.

Experienced professional designers and students alike will learn how to maximize the power of the information tools they design for the people who use them.

  • Presents visual thinking as a complex process that can be supported in every stage using specific design techniques
  • Provides practical, task-oriented information for designers and software developers charged with design responsibilities
  • Includes hundreds of examples, many in the form of integrated text and full-color diagrams
  • Steeped in the principles of “active vision,” which views graphic designs as cognitive tools

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Preface
  6. Chapter 1. Visual Queries
    1. The Apparatus and Process of Seeing
    2. The Act of Perception
    3. Bottom-Up
    4. Top-Down
    5. Implications for Design
    6. Nested Loops
    7. Distributed Cognition
    8. Conclusion
  7. Chapter 2. What We Can Easily See
    1. The Machinery of Low-Level Feature Analysis
    2. What Stands Out = What We Can Bias For
    3. Visual Search Strategies and Skills
    4. Using Multiscale Structure to Design for Search
    5. Conclusion
  8. Chapter 3. Structuring Two-Dimensional Space
    1. 2.5D Space
    2. The Pattern-Processing Machinery
    3. The Binding Problem: Features to Contours
    4. The Generalized Contour
    5. Texture Regions
    6. Interference and Selective Tuning
    7. Patterns, Channels, and Attention
    8. Intermediate Patterns
    9. Pattern Learning
    10. Visual Pattern Queries and the Apprehendable Chunk
    11. Spatial Layout
    12. Pattern for Design
    13. Examples of Pattern Queries With Common Graphical Artifacts
    14. Semantic Pattern Mappings
  9. Chapter 4. Color
    1. The Color-Processing Machinery
    2. Opponent Process Theory
    3. Channel Properties
    4. Principles for Design
    5. Color-Coding Information
    6. Emphasis and Highlighting
    7. Color Sequences
    8. Color On Shaded Surfaces
    9. Semantics of Color
    10. Conclusion
  10. Chapter 5. Getting the Information: Visual Space and Time
    1. Depth Perception and Cue Theory
    2. 2.5D Design
    3. Affordances
    4. The Where Pathway
    5. Artificial Interactive Spaces
    6. Space Traversal and Cognitive Costs
    7. Conclusion
  11. Chapter 6. Visual Objects, Words, and Meaning
    1. The Inferotemporal Cortex and the What Channel
    2. Generalized Views From Patterns
    3. Structured Objects
    4. Gist and Scene Perception
    5. Visual and Verbal Working Memory
    6. Thinking in Action: Receiving a Cup of Coffee
    7. Elaborations and Implications for Design
    8. Novelty
    9. Images As Symbols
    10. Meaning and Emotion
    11. Imagery and Desire
    12. Conclusion
  12. Chapter 7. Visual and Verbal Narrative
    1. Visual Thinking Versus Language-Based Thinking
    2. Comparing and Contrasting the Verbal and Written Modes
    3. Linking Words and Images Through Diexis
    4. Powerpoint Presentations and Pointing
    5. Mirror Neurons: Copycat Cells
    6. Visual Narrative: Capturing the Cognitive Thread
    7. Cartoons and Narrative Diagrams
    8. Conclusion
  13. Chapter 8. Creative Meta-Seeing
    1. Mental Imagery
    2. The Magic of the Scribble
    3. Diagrams Are Ideas Made Concrete
    4. Requirements and Early Design
    5. The Creative Design Loop
    6. Conclusion
  14. Chapter 9. The Dance of Meaning
    1. Review
    2. Implications
    3. Design to Support Pattern Finding
    4. Optimizing the Cognitive Process
    5. Learning and the Economics of Cognition
    6. Attention and the Cognitive Thread
    7. What’s Next?
  15. Index