Visual Thinking

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-04-04
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science

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Increasingly, designers need to present information in ways that aid their audiences thinking process. Fortunately, results from the relatively new science of human visual perception provide valuable guidance. In Visual Thinking for Design, 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 viewers brain in much the same way that a hammer is an extension of the users hand. 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.

Author Biography

Colin Ware is Director of the Data Visualization Research Lab at the University of New Hampshire, where he specializes in advanced data visualization and applications of visualization for oceanography.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Visual Queriesp. 1
The Apparatus and Process of Seeingp. 5
The Act of Perceptionp. 8
Bottom-Upp. 10
Top-Downp. 12
Implications for Designp. 14
Nested Loopsp. 17
Distributed Cognitionp. 19
Conclusionp. 20
What We Can Easily Seep. 23
The Machinery of Low-Level Feature Analysisp. 25
What and Where Pathwaysp. 26
Eye Movement Planningp. 26
What Stands Out = What We Can Bias forp. 27
Lessons for Designp. 33
Motionp. 36
Visual Search Strategies and Skillsp. 37
The Detection Fieldp. 37
The Visual Search Processp. 39
Using Multiscale Structure to Design for Searchp. 40
Conclusionp. 41
Structuring Two-Dimensional Spacep. 43
2.5D Spacep. 44
The Pattern-Processing Machineryp. 46
The Binding Problem: Features to Contoursp. 46
The Generalized Contourp. 49
Texture Regionsp. 50
Interference and Selective Tuningp. 51
Patterns, Channels, and Attentionp. 52
Intermediate Patternsp. 53
Pattern Learningp. 54
Serial Processingp. 55
Visual Pattern Queries and the Apprehendable Chunkp. 55
Multi-chunk Queriesp. 56
Spatial Layoutp. 56
Horizontal and Verticalp. 57
Pattern for Designp. 58
Examples of Pattern Queries with Common Graphical Artifactsp. 60
Semantic Pattern Mappingsp. 62
Colorp. 65
The Color-Processing Machineryp. 66
Opponent Process Theoryp. 68
Channel Propertiesp. 69
Principles for Designp. 75
Showing Detailp. 75
Color-Coding Informationp. 77
Large and Small Areasp. 77
Emphasis and Highlightingp. 78
Color Sequencesp. 80
Color on Shaded Surfacesp. 83
Semantics of Colorp. 84
Conclusionp. 84
Getting the Information: Visual Space and Timep. 87
Depth Perception and Cue Theoryp. 89
Stereoscopic Depthp. 94
Structure from Motionp. 95
2.5D Designp. 95
How Much of the Third Dimension?p. 97
Affordancesp. 99
The Where Pathwayp. 100
Artificial Interactive Spacesp. 102
Space Traversal and Cognitive Costsp. 103
Conclusionp. 105
Visual Objects, Words, and Meaningp. 107
The Inferotemporal Cortex and the What Channelp. 108
Generalized Views from Patternsp. 109
Structured Objectsp. 110
Gist and Scene Perceptionp. 112
Visual and Verbal Working Memoryp. 114
Verbal Working Memoryp. 115
Control of the Attention and the Cognitive Processp. 115
Long-term Memoryp. 116
Primingp. 118
Getting into Visual Working Memoryp. 118
Thinking in Action: Receiving a Cup of Coffeep. 120
Elaborations and Implications for Designp. 121
Make Objects Easy to Identifyp. 121
Noveltyp. 122
Images as Symbolsp. 123
Meaning and Emotionp. 124
Imagery and Desirep. 125
Conclusionp. 126
Visual and Verbal Narrativep. 129
Visual Thinking Versus Language-Based Thinkingp. 130
Learned Symbolsp. 131
Grammar and Logicp. 132
Comparing and Contrasting the Verbal and Written Modesp. 133
Linking Words and Images Through Diexisp. 135
PowerPoint Presentations and Pointingp. 136
Mirror Neurons: Copycat Cellsp. 137
Visual Narrative: Capturing the Cognitive Threadp. 138
Q&A Patternsp. 139
Framingp. 139
FINSTs and Divided Attentionp. 140
Shot transitionsp. 141
Cartoons and Narrative Diagramsp. 142
Single-frame Narrativesp. 144
Conclusionp. 145
Creative Meta-Seeingp. 147
Mental Imageryp. 148
The Magic of the Scribblep. 152
Diagrams are Ideas Made Concretep. 155
Requirements and Early Designp. 156
Visual Task Analysisp. 157
The Creative Design Loopp. 158
Cognitive Economics of Design Sketchingp. 158
The Perceptual Critiquep. 160
Meta-seeing with Design Prototypesp. 162
Visual Skill Developmentp. 163
Conclusionp. 164
The Dance of Meaningp. 165
Reviewp. 166
Implicationsp. 172
Design to Support Pattern Findingp. 172
Optimizing the Cognitive Processp. 174
Learning and the Economics of Cognitionp. 177
Attention and the Cognitive Threadp. 179
What's Next?p. 181
Indexp. 183
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