Resources on Design Psychology
April 3, 2017 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I was a psych major way back when in undergrad, and one area that always interested me was design psychology--the use of psychological principles as applied to services, goods, institutions, etc. Right now, I keep up with this field by random encounters with articles in newspapers, blogs, and magazines. I'd like to keep closer tabs. Do you know any websites/blogs/journals/etc devoted to the topic? RSS would be ideal, a mailing list would be OK.
posted by benbenson to Education (6 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
For further information, the kinds of articles you find on this topic in popular news sources are on the psychology of casino design, or of mobile apps (e.g., candy crush). More of this would be fine, but I'm also interested in more academic/abstract thinking or esoteric pieces.
posted by benbenson at 12:19 PM on April 3

This is generally a pretty broad subject, that's divided along the thing being designed - there are separate design psychology fields for the built environment, physical products, packaging, digital user-interfaces, services, and business/management. Searches for design science and human factors (my undergrad major) will lead to some more scholarly stuff.

MIT's Journal of Design and Science comes to mind. MIT Press in general publishes a decent amount of design science stuff, ranging from esoteric/abstract/theoretical to more practical.

You may also want to check out the Design & Emotion Society.

Donald Norman (wrote the seminal book on the subject) is one of the immediate names that comes to mind here in terms of practical science.

Klaus Krippendorff is a bit more of a theoretician (The Semantic Turn is pretty big for this).

Cornell University has/had a human factors track in its Design & Environmental Analysis program (deals/dealt a bit with more the design of environments than the design of objects). University of Michigan has a Design Science program. If you focus on digital interfaces, you'll find loads more stuff in Human-Computer Interaction and Information Science programs.

I've done a lot of research into how this divides into these different fields in the process of pursuing my own education - feel free to PM me.
posted by taltalim at 12:23 PM on April 3 [8 favorites]

Donald Norman's book is utterly excellent. It will make you interact with the world in a different way. Norman's company offers a newsletter that presents regular excepts on their research which these days tends to be web site & mobile application design.
posted by mmascolino at 1:13 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]

Paco Underhill has written a number of books about the design of retail spaces and the psychology of shopping. Possibly some intersecting areas of interest for you there.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:12 PM on April 3 [2 favorites]

I think this would apply here, but more on the wonky policy end is Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Sunstein advised Obama and is now back at Harvard.
posted by emkelley at 2:30 PM on April 3

I think you'll also find a lot of what your looking for under behavioural economics. I've worked in the design profession for a long time, and I can't say I've ever heard of design psychology, per se. There are many people with psychology, sociology and anthropology backgrounds working in areas of design, particularly design research (see ethnography). IDEO, a large design firm cited in one of the articles you linked to has a long history of building multidisciplinary design teams from a range of social science backgrounds, as well as engineers and scientists. This is pretty common practice across the field.

My sense is that behavioural economics is closer to what you are describing, and would have a lot more resources and news associated with it. I think design sometimes holds psychology at a bit of arms length. Design tries to understand people and meet their needs, and act a champion and advocate for the user, which in one sense directly maps to psychology as a discipline, but so much of what you see in marketing (which often functions adjacent to design at many organisations) is more about manipulating people. It actively uses psychology against people, to sell more stuff.
posted by amusebuche at 11:53 PM on April 14

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