- Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: O'Reilly; 2 edition (14 January 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1449379702
- ISBN-13: 978-1449379704
- Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.4 x 23.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,19,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Designing Interfaces 2e Paperback – Import, 14 Jan 2011
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About the Author
Jenifer Tidwell has been designing and building user interfaces for industry for more than a decade. She has been researching user interface patterns since 1997, and designing and building complex applications and web interfaces since 1991.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are a software developer, and you need a slight peak into the design community, this book is a great entry point!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is a complete overview of about 100 UI patterns. Each pattern is given 2-5 pages where the "What", "Use When", "Why", "How", and "Examples" are discussed and illustrated. The presentation is very elementary. For example, if you know when and why to use pagination, alphabet scrollers, toolbars, date pickers, progress indicators, local zooming, multi-selection trees, or sharing widgets (a new pattern in 2ndEd), you probably won't find much value in this book.
The physical quality of the book is excellent. You will most likely be disappointed if viewing this title on a B&W Kindle. Literally, half the book is loaded with full-color, real-life examples of every pattern. The paper pages are thick and heavy.
WHAT THIS BOOK *IS NOT*:
This book will not provide implementation details or overall design concepts (i.e. effectively combining patterns to achieve some targeted overall user experience).
I primarily purchased this book for Chapter 8, "Getting Input from Users: Forms and Controls." I'm currently in the process of redesigning our shopping cart and checkout forms and thought this book may provide some value in my research. As a web developer (front-end & back-end), I was disappointed. I found much more useful information on modern, standards compliance, UI design blogs.
WHY 4 STARS?
I believe the author accomplishes her goal of documenting, with several examples, every conceivable UI pattern in use today, thus the 4 stars. The book is great for the right audience. However, and I quote the author from her own References section, "If you're looking for more depth than this book can provide, the following list can offer some good starting points." She then lists 24 titles, several of which I own. My favorite title in her list is Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition.
The transference of patterns of interaction that are most common in the usability engineer's toolkit is composed into the entire UI canvas, decomposed into visual components, along with the actions that support it, to allow a developer to break down the interface problem into a cookbook for various customisations.
For example, the author first identifies the patterns based on human behaviour, followed by organisation of the content and information based on whether the requirement is a single task/thing, list of things and whether it is a time-sensitive problem (such as news streams). She then further breaks down the patterns according to What, Use When, Why, How along with Examples.
The book even presents Use Cases throughout some of its patterns, and the book is very thorough, detailed and lengthy but it allows you to refer to certain elements you are working on, from the general layout to specific positioning of buttons and input fields, progress indications and so forth.
I normally do not go for UI books, I find them quite inessential but after looking at the benefits of having a UI that is easy to use and matches the intuition of the users (rather than myself), this book is what will be the difference between a good app and a great application. In a competitive app selling environment, reducing negative feedback is based on how well you respond to your customers and this book will get you there.
One of the most useful features is a summary of controls and their pros and cons for using them in your own UIs. Having this for a new UI designer or as a constant reminder for veterans easily simplifies the task of selecting the right data presentation and selection model for your specific needs based on the merits of the control versus simply the available space or aesthetics.
I like the book, the logical organization of content and the writer's depth of experience in designing UIs, both in conventional applications and web-based presentations. Something that you don't get from this kind of review is the depth of content in such well-written and concise sentence structures that strip away the fluff (often over-used in the UI design world) and delivers the meaningful package of data that a practiced, mentally-organized and prepared author delivers where others often fail. This is an artful blending of the medium and the information without simply promoting the salacious simply because it is so compelling.
Some suggestions for the third edition:
- The role of intuition in design. The author does indirectly address this when she talks about usability testing and the wide variety of choices in design, but I think something more formal would help. In Ellen Glasgow's introduction to her novel The Sheltered Life, she wrote that after learning all the techniques of writing, a writer should "then, having mastered, if possible, every rule of thumb, dismiss it into the labyrinth of the memory. Leave it there to make its own signals and flash its own warnings. The sensitive feeling, 'this is not right' or 'something ought to be different' will prove that these signals are working."
- Reserving space for dynamic advertising, which is much more prevalent than it was when the second edition was published (2010).
- More magnified views of the parts of examples that were used to make points. Some of these were hard to read.