You can locate Kanji characters by one of the following routes: 1)by frequency, 2) by pronunciation, 3) by radical, and 4) by pattern. The frequency table gives you a list of frequently used characters. If you know the pronunciation of the character, you can find it in the pronunciation table. The entries in this table are in Romaji (pronunciation in English letters). If you know the radical of the character, you can find it by referring to the radical table. However, the radical index is not very convenient. So, if you prefer the radical method, you should look elsewhere. The pattern method is the essence of this dictionary, which is known as SKIP. According to the SKIP method, each character can be divided into either left-right portion, a top-bottom portion, center, or miscellaneous. For example, if you know the number of strokes of the left side of the character, and the number of strokes of the right side, you go to the right-left section, then to the number of strokes of the left side, and then to the number of strokes of the right side. A downside of this dictionary is that it lists the pronunciation of each character in Romaji (English letters), and not in the genuine Hiragana or Katakana. Other than that it gives you a lot of options to locate Kanji characters, which saves a lot of time.
I disappointedly, found this publication, highly difficult to use. The clutter of colors, typesets of diverse characters, hights, and styles, rob the reader's attention from concentrating on the subject matter. The needlessly complicated combersome structure, quite unnaatural to the native mindset, foreign to the common theme of the language, make the availability of this source, to almost null. It is very difficult to make sense of a method to look up a definition, once a learner has begun to read texts, in the native sense of the word, she'll find it very odd and difficult to use. As a beginner, one should seek other sources.
From my point of view, this dictionary system of searching for a kanji -which is based on so called "kanji patterns"- is more arbitrary or less intuitive than the traditional system. I miss a simple feature, which is an index of kanji by number of strokes, which is the last resort and simplest way to look for a kanji when one does not find it other way, so that I think that any kanji dictionary would better have an index by number of strokes. In my view the Kodansa Essential Kanji Dictionary is easier to use and a preferent choice.
Because I didn't read the reviews carefully, I didn't realize that this book does not use kana. If a person is learning Japanese and learning -kanji- they must learn kana. Why in the world would you not offer a kana version? This isn't a standard English-Japanese pocket dictionary designed for tourists or beginners who don't know about the writing system, it's a dictionary designed for people learning to read and write Japanese. This is an unbelievable oversight.
I read that the SKIP method is difficult to use, but thought I would give it a try since the reviews are so good. I agree that the method is complicated and just another thing to learn, I don't recommend it. Maybe once I get used to it I'll love it, but I just can't see the point right now.
Lastly, I find the page layout to be cluttered and distracting like others said. The entries just don't seem visually distinct.
Overall I don't care for the book, but it's the only kanji dictionary I have at the moment so I'll have to make due. I wish I had bought their furigana dictionary instead.