Think in 4D is a book about product experience design: how to think holistically, creatively, and critically to create savvy, successful sites and apps. It pushes the tech industry to think beyond 2D designs and 3D experiences to 4D impacts. More than 500 illustrations and 40 exercises help any student, professional, or entrepreneur level up.
Erica Heinz shares evergreen principles and refined methods drawn from 20 years of experience as a digital design consultant in New York City plus a variety of undergraduate and graduate design courses. Think in 4D unites behavioral psychology, business strategy, visual principles, research methods, and human-centered design practices to provide a pithy, visual cheat sheet for hundreds of design ideas and an essential handbook for any digital citizen.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the complex design of this book, the ePub is delivered as a fixed layout (print replica) file. The text is not reflowable.
- Part I, FRAMEWORK outlines the easy-to-remember 4D thinking model. Four phases (threads, impressions, interactions, and memories) and three dimensions (2D, 3D, and 4D) split the complexity of digital product design into manageable yet integrated parts. The method has seven key tenets — prototype, lower the fidelity, work backwards, work in circles, use principles, use metrics, and co-create — that focus and speed work.
- Part II, PRACTICE, provides guidelines for putting the model into action. The four phases and three layers yield twelve chapters spanning 2D (words, layouts, symbols, and images), 3D (inclusivity, flexibility, usability, and personalization), and 4D (relationships, patterns, paths, and moments) focus areas. Each chapter includes key questions, cognitive principles, examples, exercises, and user research tips. Each phase ends with a larger design challenge and critique outline for a key deliverable (concepts, flows, screens, or links).
- Part III, CRAFT, refines the practice with ways to advance both creative and conceptual skills. Prototyping is the tangible craft, so the book shares ways to sketch, wireframe, and play more effectively. Thinking is the invisible craft, so the book shows readers how to deconstruct, frame, research, diverge, converge, differentiate, and think in 4D.
"[A]n erudite, savvy book that communicates difficult, technical ideas with accessible, largely jargon-free prose. For both the seasoned veteran of interactive design and the unpolished newcomer, this is an invaluable resource. An impressively thorough and clear introduction to a still-new discipline."
“You could choose to work on a digital product without reading Think In 4D, but that would be a mistake. Heinz has brought together the best methods, perspectives, and lessons to form the best guide to applying design principles today.”
—Randy J. Hunt, CPO at Morning
“I’ve never felt more confident being able to start from nothing. It totally changed my communication tactics, moved ambiguous product conversations forward, and got stakeholders aligned and inspired about what we’re building and why.”
—Erin Nolan, Product Design Lead at Coinbase