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by Cheryl Platz
392 pages, paperback, $49.99
Published by Rosenfeld Media
rosenfeldmedia.com

What does human-centered design really mean? In Design Beyond Devices, author Cheryl Platz applies a systems approach to answering that question. As we evolve from desktop-bound experiences to device-agnostic interaction, a perfect storm of powerful sensors, enhanced by networked AI technologies, has utterly changed the way we interact with devices. In the process, the landscape of UX design has changed too. The one thing that hasn’t changed is our need to stay human.

Today, the devices we interact with—computers, phones, AR and VR headsets, smart speakers, and wearables—provide a multiplicity of modes to convey our needs. With the advent of VR and AR handsets and headsets, the world of interactive design and UX took a quantum leap forward to what Platz calls “multimodality.” That symmetrical relationship balances the full range of human response with devices capable of monitoring gaze and eye tracking to speech, emotional states, gesture and spatial recognition, haptic feedback from handsets, and ambient biometric data gathered by wearables. As a result, UX designers now have a full complement of human engagement to leverage.

Written for practitioners in the field (and those who want to extend their skills into this burgeoning arena), Design Beyond Devices takes a practical, methodical approach to building the techniques required to design for experiences instead of devices. The guide provides a deep grounding in the techniques necessary to solve the complex problems posed by multimodal design, enlivened by a friendly, approachable writing style. —Sam McMillan

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