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Designing the Moment: Web Interface Design Concepts in Action 1st Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321535085
ISBN-10: 0321535081
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The trick to great design is knowing how to think through each decision so that users don't have to. In "Designing the Moment: Web Interface Design Concepts in Action," Robert Hoekman, Jr., author of "Designing the Obvious," presents over 30 stories that illustrate how to put good design principles to work on real-world web application interfaces to make them obvious and compelling. From the first impression to the last, Hoekman takes a think out loud approach to interface design to show us how to look critically at design decisions to ensure that human beings, the kind that make mistakes and do things we don't expect, can walk away from our software feeling productive, respected, and smart.

About the Author

Robert Hoekman, Jr, is a passionate and outspoken user experience specialist and a prolific writer who has written dozens of articles and has worked with Seth Godin (Squidoo), Adobe, Automattic, United Airlines, DoTheRightThing.com, and countless others.

He also gives in-house training sessions and has spoken at industry events all over the world, including An Event Apart, Web App Summit, SXSW, Future of Web Design, and many others.

Robert is the author of the Amazon bestseller Designing the Obvious and its follow-up, Designing the Moment. His newest book, Web Anatomy, was coauthored by Jared Spool.

Learn more about Robert at rhjr.net. He is "rhjr" on Twitter.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (April 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321535081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321535085
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,363,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Hoekmann's last book Designing the Obvious was pretty good: a short, readable survey of some user experience tactics and tips. Nearly all of it was applicable and relevant.

This book (published, what, a year later?) seems hurried and much more superficial. It's really just a collection of short essays that run the gamut from mildly useful to simply wrong. Unfortunately, Hoekman's decided that *none* of his user interface design advice needs support from research, usability, or even real-world implementations. It's the level of opinionated but poorly-backed up writing you'd expect from a weblog. What products or sites are these techniques used on, and how have they affected user behavior? Hoekman's central argument is that "the details matter", that the smallest aspect of a user experience is worth agonizing over. Is that true? It seems like it ought to be, but tinkering with the nuances of interactions seems like the *most* critical time to be able to measure improvements. Unfortunately, there's nothing here that really convinces me that a given idea is good, only short exercises often without any context.

Finally, Hoekman's writing style is exactly what you'd get on a weblog: overly informal, full of sentence fragments and inelegant constructions. NewRiders has shown a worsening trend to publish books that seem awfully lightly edited, to put it kindly.
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Format: Paperback
Hoekman's style makes this a quick and very understandable read. Each chapter is overflowing with tips you can apply immediately to things you're working on right now. In many cases, he starts with some design that may not have any obvious problems, then iterate through improvements, thoroughly explaining WHAT he's improving on and WHY the improvement actually IS an improvement. The plentiful, full color screenshots are a huge help, to see exactly what the iterations produce.
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Designing the Moment is an invigorating follow-up to Hoekman's paradigm-shifing debut Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design - a must-read for designers, marketers, business analysts, developers, and engineers of all persuasions. It's possible that these two books are the most important reads on the subject of web design to come out since Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition.

Hoekman comes across in these books as a supportive peer - a rare and refreshingly readable perspective in this genre. In clear, concise (obvious!) text, he manages to unpack and delineate complex processes and interactions with an energy and enthusiasm that's infectious. He is an evangelist for the church of the whiteboard, that primal collaborative zone where interactions are crafted and iterated upon with a single purpose in mind: making someone's life just a little bit easier, less frustrating by a single increment. It's easy to lose track of this goal. It's easy to get bogged down by all of the politics and the marketing hype and to forget that what we are doing as designers is helping people. Hoekman, in these books, continually brings us back to this core idea in a way that never feels didactic or condescending.

I should add that I'm not an avid reader of books on interaction design or user experience design, though I own many. This is because the bulk of the design texts I own are a real chore to slog through. There are a handful of authors, though, whose work I follow with enthusiasm. Of these few, Hoekman is the one author whose books I genuinely devour and press into the palms of my coworkers as soon as I finish the last sentence. These are vital texts - buy them both!
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Since I'm currently designing, among other projects, a support site, I found some of the ideas in this book immediately applicable. I don't think I can say that it's rocket science, since anyone with a Human Factors background would know this information (I have an MS in Human Factors in Information Design and am a senior usability engineer), but even we experts forget some of the basics sometimes! ;-D I loved his book, Designing the Obvious, and this new book took some of his concepts from that book and showed his thought process, which I enjoyed. I probably wouldn't have gotten it was the UX Denver Book Club not reading it :) because it didn't seem to have the best reviews, but I'm glad that I did! It's a quick read, maybe a few hours.
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This is a book that really makes you look at web site design from the viewpoint of the people you hope will visit the site. It asks the questions "What are they visiting the site for?" as well as "How can the site be designed to better suit their needs?". The book clearly demonstrates using real web sites as examples how the most obvious things that people add into their design are not always the most useful and how a simpler approach is often a more effective one.

The book does exactly what the author intends (as specified in the introduction) and makes you start to think about how to redesign your site to make it easier for your visitors to interact with it in the way that they want to interact.

The author does have a few personal likes and dislikes that are mentioned in the book which you may or may not agree with. There are also a few things covered which may not be applicable to all sites. Most of the material covered though has at least some relevance to the design of any web site and simply looking at a web site from the viewpoint presented in the book will probably lead to ideas for how the site design can be improved.
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