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Visual Usability

Book Description

Imagine how much easier creating web and mobile applications would be if you had a practical and concise, hands-on guide to visual design. Visual Usability gets into the nitty-gritty of applying visual design principles to complex application design.

You’ll learn how to avoid common mistakes, make informed decisions about application design, and elevate the ordinary. We’ll review three key principles that affect application design – consistency, hierarchy, and personality – and illustrate how to apply tools like typography, color, and layout to digital application design. Whether you’re a UI professional looking to fine-tune your skills, a developer who cares about making applications beautiful and usable, or someone entirely new to the design arena, Visual Usability is your one-stop, practical guide to visual design.



  • Discover the principles and rules that underlie successful application design
  • Learn how to develop a rationale to support design strategy and move teams forward
  • Master the visual design toolkit to increase user-friendliness and make complicated processes feel straightforward for your product

Table of Contents

  1. Cover image
  2. Title page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Copyright
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. About the Authors
  7. Introduction
    1. The challenge
    2. Approach and organization
    3. Embodying form and function
  8. Part I: The Meta-Principles
    1. Chapter 1. Consistency
      1. What do we mean by consistency?
      2. What role does consistency play in application design?
      3. What if you can’t be consistent?
      4. A brief aside about accessibility
      5. Avoid common mistakes
      6. Make informed decisions
      7. Elevate the ordinary
    2. Chapter 2. Hierarchy
      1. What do we mean by hierarchy?
      2. Characteristics of hierarchy
      3. Interplay of characteristics
      4. Defining a hierarchy
      5. Avoid common mistakes
      6. Make informed decisions
      7. Elevate the ordinary
    3. Chapter 3. Personality
      1. Elements of interface personality
      2. Establishing criteria for personality
      3. Exploring a personality’s possibilities
      4. Avoid common mistakes
      5. Make informed decisions
      6. Elevate the ordinary
  9. Part II: The Visual Usability Tools
    1. Chapter 4. Layout
      1. The language of layout
      2. Layout and the meta-principles
      3. One big bite, or a few little ones?
      4. Avoid common mistakes
      5. Make informed decisions
      6. Elevate the ordinary
    2. Chapter 5. Type
      1. The language of type
      2. Typesetting considerations
      3. How type affects the meta-principles
      4. Defining a rationale for type
      5. Avoid common mistakes
      6. Make informed decisions
      7. Elevate the ordinary
    3. Chapter 6. Color
      1. What color can do
      2. Color basics
      3. Defining a rationale for color
      4. Avoid common mistakes
      5. Make informed decisions
      6. Elevate the ordinary
    4. Chapter 7. Imagery
      1. Communicating with images
      2. Types of imagery and uses
      3. Using images in your application
      4. Imagery and the meta-principles
      5. Avoid common mistakes
      6. Make informed decisions
      7. Elevate the ordinary
    5. Chapter 8. Controls and Affordances
      1. Using design to reveal affordances
      2. Controls, affordances, and the meta-principles
      3. Avoid common mistakes
      4. Make informed decisions
      5. Elevate the ordinary
  10. Summary: Interface Design as Visual Conversation
  11. Recommended Resources
  12. Interaction, interface, and user experience design
  13. Personality
  14. Layout
  15. Type
  16. Color
  17. Imagery
  18. Controls and Affordances
  19. Bibliography
  20. Index