Books & such…

To quote E.M. Forster, “How do I know what I think until I see it in writing?” Here are some thoughts I’ve published over the years.

Design for Understanding

My second book, due out later in 2017. The topic? How to make sense of complex and complicated information, from confusing 'No Parking' signs to choosing the best health insurance plan. Rather than focus on solutions and artifacts (such as data visualizations or napkin sketches), this book focuses on how we—as humans—make sense of the world. A wildly cross-disciplinary book, you'll survey such the latest research on humans and the sense-making process, from the brain as perceptual organ to the many ways in which we use and alter our environment to aid in understanding. As my co-author Karl Fast says “Information is cheap. Understanding is expensive.” We hope this book equips everyone to spot and solve problems of understanding.

Pencil Me In: The Business Drawing Book for People Who Can't Draw

For the all-new 2nd printing, Christina Wodtke invited me to contribute a section on “Visual Models.” Using visual explanations to explain the "elements common to all kinds of visual models" was challenging and fun, and helped to clarify my own thinking. .

Designing for Emerging Technologies

In 2014, Jonathan Follett invited me to contribute a chapter to this book. I obliged, with a chapter on “Thinking and Learning with Things” which explores what happens when things get endowed with digital intelligence. Kind of my post Internet of Things musings.


Seductive Interaction Design

My first book, published in 2011.

What happens when you’ve built a great website or app, but no one seems to care? How do you get people to stick around long enough to see how your service might be of value? In Seductive Interaction Design, speaker and author Stephen P. Anderson takes a fresh approach to designing sites and interactions based on the stages of seduction. This beautifully designed book examines what motivates people to act.

Principles from psychology are found throughout the book, along with dozens of examples showing how these techniques have been applied with great success. In addition, each section includes interviews with influential web and interaction designers.

Mental Notes Card Deck

Self-published in 2010. Reprint pending.

In the midst of a busy project it's all too easy to forget the nuances that distinguish great products. Mental Notes brings together 50 insights from psychology into an easy reference and brainstorming tool. Each card describes one insight into human behavior and suggests ways to apply this to the design of Web sites, Web apps, and software applications.

Visual Thinking Toolkit

Currently in testing & development. 2018 is probably a realistic date.