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Built for Use: Driving Profitability through the User Experience Hardcover – February 12, 2002

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From the Back Cover

The big winners in the Ebusiness arena are those who practice customer-centric design. More than simply a matter of jazzy graphics, customer-centric design is about earning the trust and loyalty of a dedicated customer base by making the quality of the user experience the centerpiece of the total online strategy. As illustrated by the examples of the many big winners covered in this book, for those who practice customer-centric design, the online user experience is a major part of a company's value. And, as shown by the experiences of the many dot-com also-rans cited, anything less than a total commitment to the user experience is, at best, an expensive, humbling exercise in futility.

While there are a multitude of books on the art and science of user interface and Web site design, until now none has focused on the online user experience from the corporate strategist's and marketing manager's perspectives. The first guide to linking business strategy with the art and science of online user experience, Built for Use offers a total approach to the planning and development of ebusiness experiences that build long-term customer loyalty and drive long-term profits.

Drawing upon her experiences as a user-experience strategist for numerous Fortune 1000 firms, Karen Donoghue explores key business strategy and user-experience issues in a concise, jargon-free style for nontechnical managers. With the help of fascinating and instructive before-and-after case studies from State Street Corporation, Fidelity Investments, Trellix Corporation, and other major players in the ecommerce arena, Donoghue makes a strong business case for customer-centric design practices. She describes user experience and design-strategy best practices for everything from putting together and managing an interdisciplinary team dedicated to delivering superior user experience to measuring the design strategy success and ensuring continued customer satisfaction.

Built for Use is required reading for marketing professionals at companies actively pursuing an online presence, as well as for the development teams with which they collaborate.

Praise for Built for Use:

"The best interface is the absence of one. I am not a user; I am me. It is about time that designers of digital experiences thought hard about why a dog has so much more interface intelligence than any computer. It is about time that senior executives realized that quality of an experience is their business. Said differently, the icing is the cake."­­Nicholas Negroponte, Founding Director, MIT Media Laboratory, Author of Being Digital

"Read this book if you want to learn why your company may be electronically rude to its customers today and how to avoid it in the future. Karen Donoghue is a thought leader and expert who helps companies evaluate and design user experiences that welcome and engage their customers. Her deep experience, knowledge, and insights are captured in this insightful book. It should be a must-read for every executive, manager, and designer who cares about the relationships their company is developing with its online customers."­­Hans Peter Brondmo, Digital Impact Fellow, Author of The Engaged Customer

"Design sense, and sensibility, are all-too-rare rare qualities. Karen Donoghue has them innately and in abundance. Her user interface designs have a hallmark simplicity and elegance that belie a lifetime of insight and observation of the real ways that real people relate to complex information technologies. In Built for Use she shifts her incisive design eye from the intimate area of person/machine interfaces to the vast field of business interactions. The result is a lucid look at business interfaces with real products, real services, and real customers."­­Michael Hawley, Director of Special Projects, MIT

About the Author

Karen Donoghue is founder and principal of HumanLogic, a strategic user-experience firm servicing Fortune 1000 clients, including Fidelity Investments, State Street Global Advisors, Reuters, Ltd., FleetBoston Financial, EMC Corporation, and Trellix Corporation. HumanLogic also serves many dot-com start-ups such as Raging Bull and MidnightTrader. She has been involved in the planning and development of innovative user experiences since 1987. Ms. Donoghue is a graduate of the prestigious MIT Media Lab and sits on the board of the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge. She holds six U.S. patents on user interface technologies.

For the latest information, resources, and insights about user-experience strategy for managers, visit the Built for Use Web site at


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (February 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071383042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071383042
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,364,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Paula Thornton on May 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Fabulous message and important concepts. My main complaint is that the message was 'restricted' in how it is applied. The issues raised and the corresponding solutions are applicable to all aspects of designing human interactions with business...and not just considering customers (who are often engaged in roles for which the term 'user' is inappropriate... a term I abhor because of its lack of 'universality').
To follow the model given in the introduction, by considering the strategic implications of the customer and the business anyone could easily come up with solutions that fly in the face of the abilities and values of the employees as human beings. All stakeholder factors have to be put in balance with those of the business.
In addition, the concepts apply outside the typical business model and/or products. A good example is home design (not decor) which typically doesn't consider many 'functions' that occur within its walls other than sleeping, washing, bathing, and eating. Many of the concepts presented here can/should be applied in other problem/solution settings. I contend that every business project that involves some human interaction is subject to these principles.
The models/recommendations within this book, with a few tweaks, can and should be applied to designing human interaction in many yet-untapped areas/markets (leaving tremendous business potential lying all around). The recommendations given specifically as to better 'online' design can and should be applied to all points of interaction a business has with all stakeholders.
I highly recommend this book with the caveat that you take its potential application beyond the dimensions within which it is presented. The word 'customer' can often be replaced with 'stakeholder'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is the book to read and pass along to Marketing, R&D, Sales, etc. It will help you know the words to say to justify spending time and money on user experience research and design. I read it before starting a new job in Human Factors and passed it up the management chain to widen the perception of what it's all about. It gives you and "them" a common language.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
.....especially if everyone who is a part of the product creation, business and marketing "food chain" reads it! Karen clearly, immediately and with great impact explains how and why we like some stuff and not others, and that this IS the bottom line. She relates human characteristics like trust, loyalty, familiarity, curiosity, desire to product success and profitability.
This is the first business book that tangibly quantifies "soft" human characteristics and ties them to value, profitability and staying-power in the marketplace. Her case studies are great examples of how a user-centric approach worked from concept, design, testing through product launch.
Donoghue's other key point feels sometimes forgotten in the rush-to-market. That it takes many disciplines (dare I say a village) on every side of the problem, working together to create best practices and best solutions, and it doesn't stop at product launch. This approach has to be one's design and business attitude for life.
As I was reading the book, I thought of my parents in West Virginia, friends in Bangkok, a client in Seattle- and me at work (wherever that may be) trying to educate my clients to this perspective. How much easier it would be if business goals and user experience design disciplines sat together with real people (users) to create products. Gee, wouldn't that be great! and fun! and a lot more satisfying on all counts.
Hey, Karen, do you have quantity discounts? I'd like to give one to every one in my current and future "food chain"! Or maybe it could be distributed with the Yellow Pages... : )
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jay on October 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Unless your website is still being made by your cousin "who knows a little about this internet thing" there is nothing new for you in this book.
Most of what is presented is common sense, heavy on the why but not the how, and very repetitive. Real life examples are limited and center around the finance industry. My search for a resource to inspire designers take usability to the next level continues and this book is being returned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
San Jose, CA, USA
As a marketing director of a B2B dot com, I found Donoghue's book hit the nail on the head. Her book offers sound advice that will outlive most companies-Internet or conventional. Placing customers first is the cornerstone of all successful business strategies built to last, yet this fundamental premise is frustratingly absent in the many high technology companies, large and small---in Silicon Valley. Many of these companies, still stubbornly cling to a feature/product-focus, which drag their customers around in an unresponsive or poorly response-able product or user experience.
To be sure, the challenge of finding out what customer WILL WANT in technologies customers don't even know how to pronounce, is a daunting task for all marketing managers. But there are ample case studies to draw from, both in Donoghue's book, and from the marketing intelligence already developed by other industries. New and unimaginable products will continue to be introduced at increasingly rapid speeds, but human behavior around new product adoption has some very predictable elements.
Karen Donohue's book is a timely analysis of what went wrong with a "great idea" called the Internet. While the Internet is still alive ---the critical lessons Donoghue speaks about did not have to be learned the hard way. Reading this book will help marketing managers avoid another unnecessary repetition of this recent, painful business failure.
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