Books for software engineers and managers

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About  People

by Susan M. Weinschenk, Ph.D.

Product Manager,

How strongly do I recommend 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About  People?
5 / 10

Review of 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

This book has 100 chapters, each with one thing to know about designing for humans. Most of the ideas provide value beyond product design and understanding them will improve your presentation skills, people management, and employee retention.

If you’ve spent considerable time around design, you will have formed opinions about these topics already and this book won’t surprise you – but it will provide context and explanation for the opinions you’ve already arrived at.

Vision trumps all the senses with half our brain’s resources dedicated to vision and  interpretation

The section on vision is particularly useful for anyone evaluating designs. You will discover a bunch of little nuances to design that your designer is considering but you probably weren’t aware of.

Intrinsic rewards are more powerful than  extrinsic

Management teams often get this wrong, perhaps because the easiest lever they have to pull lies in extrinsic motivators.

But most people are driven more by intrinsic motivators than extrinsic, which highlights the importance of strong middle managers. Those middle managers hold the key to identifying each person’s motivations and aligning those motivations to the work and organizational success.

People request more information and choices than they can  process

Similar to the Paradox of Choice, people will ask for many options but actually feel quite overwhelmed when presented with abundance. Hence the popularity of Trader Joe’s.

Stories are far more persuasive than  data

One big mistake product designers, product managers, and engineers make is to assume that their users are rational actors. People managers often do the same.

In doing so, we fail to recognize how the human brain actual works and that humans are drawn more to storytelling than data.

From my perspective, storytelling is a skill and one you can improve at. A simple starting point is to practice developing stories that follow The Hero’s Journey framework.

Unpredictability and surprise keep people  engaged

How quickly do you open a text message after seeing or hearing the notification? Variable rewards, surprises, and unpredictability keep people seeking more.

People will naturally categorize  information

Humans are hard-wired to categorize information so as a product designer, you probably want to be proactive about offering up categorizations for the user to follow.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People