Textbook: Ware’s Visual Thinking for Design

by Mike Gleicher on December 24, 2014

Colin Ware’s Visual Thinking for Design is the “second” textbook. Munzner (by her own admission) doesn’t cover the connection to perception well. So, we need another book.The library has it online!

Fortunately, you don’t need to buy this book. It is available in the online reserves through the UW library. Yes, you can read it online!

If you want to buy a copy, it should be available at the UW bookstore. Or, you can buy it on Amazon (Visual Thinking: for Design”) – if you like Amazon.

Why is this the textbook?

This is a thin little book that will give you some of the elements of how the human visual system works, well contextualized with how that influences visual design and visualization. It is concise and generally well thought out. It doesn’t take the place of a more thorough introduction to perception, or a more thorough discussion of visualization, or even a touch into the research that connects perception to visualization. But it’s a great starting point.

I think this book is a great place to start for thinking about how perception influences visualization. So I will recommend we start with it. We’ll pretty much read the whole thing. Parts are better than others.

Ware’s other book (Information Visualization, Third Edition: Perception for Design) is also really good – and I considered it as the text for this class. However, its a lot more to read, and it still just focuses on the perceptual side of visualization.

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