What Every Designer Needs to Know About People

A full-day workshop with Susan Weinschenk

It's easy to get caught up in design and implementation and forget that at the end of your project is a person you are designing for and communicating with. If you want to effectively reach and interact with your target audience, then you need a basic understanding of how people see, read, think, and behave.

Designing without understanding about people is like exploring a new city without a map: results will be haphazard, confusing, and inefficient. From her book 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People, Dr. Weinschenk has picked the most important "things" that you need to know in order to design intuitive and engaging websites, applications, and products that match the way people think, work, and play. We'll cover:

What You'll Learn

  • How to apply what we know about psychology and human factors to design so that your designs fit the way people work and learn.
  • Critical characteristics of vision, attention, memory, attention, and decision-making that you need to know in order to design software, websites and apps that are engaging and usable.
  • Design do's and don'ts based on hard research, not just opinion.

What You'll Do

This is a hands-on workshop. You will be learning about critical psychology and human factors research and then applying it throughout our day. You can use your project as a case study, or use one of the class case studies to apply what you learn.


  • Avoid costly design mistakes
  • Win design arguments because you have the research data
  • Design products that are engaging and easy to use
  • Re-design your current project so it is optimized for your customers and users

Topics We'll Cover

  • Vision
    How the brain affects what you think you see...How peripheral vision helps you understand what you are looking at... The latest research on typography - what aspects of fonts and typography are important and what doesn't matter...How people recognize objects... The part of the brain that recognizes faces... How to apply what we know about vision to the design of products
  • Memory
    How limitations of human memory affect design... About working memory... How things get stored in long-term memory... Why long-term memories change... Primacy and recency memory effects... Recognition vs. recall... Characteristics of vivid memory
  • Cognition
    Mental models and conceptual models... How people process information in story format...Progressive disclosure...The drive to categorize...Flow states...Unconscious mental processing...How to design products to lower or raise cognitive "loads"

  • Attention
    How to get people to focus and pay attention...Selective attention...Information filtering...Inattention blindness...Attention-span...Research on multi-tasking...
  • Motivation
    Research on what motivates people...New research on operant conditioning...Intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation...Progress, mastery and control as motivators...Unconscious motivations
  • People are Social Animals
    Why social media is motivating...What drives social behavior..."Strong" and "Weak" social communities... Research on imitation and mirror neurons...How to design to encourage social behavior
  • Emotion & Design
    Factors in design that build and destroy trust...The impact of photos, videos & stories on design...How moods affect decisions and purchasing...How to influence emotion through design...Research on beauty and design
  • Decision-making
    Most decisions are made unconsciously...Cognitive biases and errors...Faulty group decision-making...The effects of number and order of choices on decision-making

Each participant will receive a full workshop manual that contains all the materials used in the class, plus Quick Reference Summaries.

One more thing: at the end of the workshop, we'll present you with a certificate of completion.