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  • Published: 5 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9780753556641
  • Imprint: WH Allen
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $35.00

User Friendly

How the Hidden Rules of Design are Changing the Way We Live, Work & Play




In USER FRIENDLY, Cliff Kuang, a design strategist at Google and veteran technology journalist at Fast Company and Wired, working with Robert Fabricant, a well-known product designer, reveals the hidden ways in which design is reshaping our lives

***Picked as a book of the year by Fortune magazine***

'A tour de force, an engrossing fusion of scholarly research, professional experience and revelations from intrepid firsthand reporting' -- New York TimesUSER FRIENDLY is a must-read for anyone who loves well-designed products-and for the innovators aspiring to make them.

It seems like magic when some new gadget seems to know what we want before we know ourselves. But why does some design feel intrinsically good, and why do some designs last forever, while others disappear? User Friendly guides readers through the hidden rules governing how design shapes our behaviour, told through fascinating stories such as what the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island reveals about the logic of the smartphone; how the pressures of the Great Depression and World War II created our faith in social progress through better product design; and how a failed vision for Disney World yielded a new paradigm for designed experience.

  • Published: 5 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9780753556641
  • Imprint: WH Allen
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $35.00

About the authors

Cliff Kuang

Cliff Kuang is a UX designer and an award-winning journalist. He was previously the design editor at Wired and Fast Company, where he has edited or written over 7,000 articles on design. His writing has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, and The Economist.

Robert Fabricant

Robert Fabricant is a co-founder of Dalberg’s Design Impact Group and former Vice President of Creative for Frog Design. He has won numerous design awards and has written and spoken widely on design and social impact, for outlets including the Harvard Business Review and SXSW.

Praise for User Friendly

A tour de force, an engrossing fusion of scholarly research, professional experience and revelations from intrepid firsthand reporting

New York Times

Engrossing and rich with rarely-told stories and interviews, User Friendly gives critical insights to make us better, smarter consumers of design and user-friendly experiences. A must-read for anyone who cares about design and the challenges it has to meet in the coming decades

Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb

User Friendly starts with the fascinating arc of design in the industrial age, when fortunes could be made by looking more deeply at how we live. But this book brings those insights into the touchscreen age, in which our devices and interfaces sometimes seem to know us better than we know ourselves. Anyone who cares about the fraught but increasingly urgent role that design plays in our lives owes it to themselves to read this hugely compelling book

Scott Dadich, creator of Abstract: The Art of Design and co-founder of Godfrey Dadich Partners

Compulsory reading for the current age, in which business and society have turned to design in pursuit of growth and change. But design means little without empathy, and this book lays out a remarkable tale of how that insight became truth. This essential work shows why design has to be at the center of the human enterprise

Tim Brown, Chair of IDEO and author of CHANGE BY DESIGN

Anyone who cares about the fraught but increasingly urgent role that design plays in our lives owes it to themselves to read this hugely compelling book

Scott Dadich, former Editor-in-Chief, Wired, and creator of ABTRACT: THE ART OF DESIGN

Digital-era design has strived to eliminate the user manual: To make and sell us things that ‘just work.’ But this leaves us uncertain how things work — or why they’ve been made to work the way they do. User Friendly gives us the answers. It’s the missing manual to the designed world, and that’s just what we need

Rob Walker, author of THE ART OF NOTICING

User Friendly weaves a stirring and unexpected story of how the machine age gave way to this iPhone era. Passionate and poised, Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant show us how friendliness mapped a new root structure for the simmering chaos of the recent internet

Alexis Madrigal, author of POWERING THE DREAM

In this epic work, Cliff Kuang and Robert Fabricant offer us a compulsively readable successor to The Design of Everyday Things. They have crafted a definitive narrative that is as well-designed as the products that grace its pages

Brian Merchant, author of THE ONE DEVICE

User-friendliness is the cognitive lubricant that makes us love the stuff we use. And yet we rarely wonder how that love was crafted. This fascinating book unveils how—and why—that love was crafted

Ellen Lupton, author of BEAUTIFUL USERS: DESIGNING FOR PEOPLE

When I had to stop, mid-reading, and send one of the stories in this book to a colleague, I knew it was instantly indispensable — whether for well-versed designers or anyone who’s ever questioned the design of everyday life. Rarely does a book have the power to turn any reader into a more conscious participant in the world around us. You need to read it

Liz Danzico, Chair of the Interaction Design MFA program at the School of Visual Arts

An engrossing history [and] a sprawling and multifaceted story, with side excursions into near-miss nuclear disasters, WWII fighter plane crashes, and the latest developments in driverless cars …The result is an erudite and insightful exploration of a revolution in human thinking that most people have probably never considered

Publishers Weekly

a topical and essential read

The Lady

This book offers a history of user-centered design that’s delightfully true to its title. The stories it tells are thoughtfully organized, rigorously reported, and deftly presented. Kuang, a journalist, and Fabricant, a designer, demonstrate the power of design—for good and evil—in everything from autos and airplanes to nuclear power plants and mobile apps

Fortune -- picked as a favourite book of the year

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