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Designing the User Interface 3rd Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0201694970
ISBN-10: 0201694972
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In 1996, recognizing this book, ACM's Special Interest Group on Documentation (SIGDOC) presented Ben Shneiderman with the Joseph Rigo Award. SIGDOC praised the book as one "that took the jargon and mystery out of the field of human-computer interaction" and attributed the book's success to "its readability and emphasis on practice as well as research."

In revising this best-seller, Ben Shneiderman again provides a complete, current, and authoritative introduction to user-interface design. The user interface is the part of every computer system that determines how people control and operate that system. When the interface is well designed, it is comprehensible, predictable, and controllable; users feel competent, satisfied, and responsible for their actions. In this book, the author discusses the principles and practices needed to design such effective interaction.

Based on 20 years experience, Shneiderman offers readers practical techniques and guidelines for interface design. As a scientist, he also takes great care to discuss underlying issues and to support conclusions with empirical results. Interface designers, software engineers, and product managers will all find here an invaluable resource for creating systems that facilitate rapid learning and performance, yield low error rates, and generate high user satisfaction.

Coverage includes the human factors of interactive software (with added discussion of diverse user communities), tested methods to develop and assess interfaces, interaction styles (like direct manipulation for graphical user interfaces), and design considerations (effective messages, consistent screen design, appropriate color).

Highlights of the Third Edition:

  • New chapters on the World Wide Web, Information Visualization, and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work
  • Expanded and earlier coverage of Development Methodologies, Evaluation Techniques, and User-Interface-Building Tools
  • Thought-provoking discussion of Speech Input/Output, Natural-Language Interaction, Anthropomorphic Design, Virtual Environments, and Agents

A booksite that accompanies the book with additional information and instructional suport is now available.


About the Author

About Ben Shneiderman

Ben Shneiderman is one of the world's leading authorities on User Interface Design. He is a professor of computer science at the University of Maryland, where he heads the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University's Center for Automation Research. He received his doctorate in computer science from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Shneiderman's other works include Hypertext Hands-On!, coauthored with Greg Kearsley, an innovative book-software package that introduces readers to hypertext by having them use it, and Software Psychology, a book that helped lay the foundation for work on human factors in computing. He has also published numerous articles on human-computer interaction and is on the editorial board of six scientific journals. Dr. Shneiderman regularly organizes and presents live satellite TV broadcasts on User Interface Strategies.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 639 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 3 edition (July 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201694972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201694970
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 9.5 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,534,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the third edition of an unavoidable book for anybody involved with human computer interaction (this should include librarians like me who are command-line impaired and completely intolerant of faulty human factors design as well as the techie types who sometimes tolerate "cool" but ill designed interfaces) directly or indirectly, as a end user or a design participant.
The only major problem with it is that it is a textbook, written to fit into a given number of pages. This means, alas, that a lot of good stuff from the second edition had to be taken out to fit in new stuff. So, one solution is to buy both the third and the second editions, and while you are at it get your hands on his "Sparks of innovation" which is most interesting despite its old age. The sections on touchscreens are incomparable, to give but one example. Another solution is to get Shneiderman to write a real big fat book on HCI!
There are enough textbooks or collected readings available for all the courses. There are also so many web design books around that sometimes I want to scream ENOUGH! What is missing is a recent reference book and an introductory text. I wish Shneiderman would delay the fourth edition for a few more years and get a _real_ HCI introduction and reference out.
In the meantime, this third edition is the next best thing, but it has to be coupled with "Sparks of innovation", Don Norman's books, Jakob Nielsen's books, and a dash of Tognazzini, Tufte, and Tex Avery.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm using this book in one of my college courses in a computer science master's program. This is my third master's degree, so I've been through a lot of books.
This book ranks among the worst books I've ever come across for any purpose.
While the book itself is a beautiful production, no doubt the publisher/editor put significant work into preparing the book, the main purpose, transmitting information on designing user interfaces to the reader, falls flat. It gets two stars for the work the publisher put into it.
The author apparently didn't pick up that a book is a user interface too.
Is it a reference book? Well, when I try to use it this way, I must search for up to 15 or twenty minutes, either to find many references to the topic, or in order to realize the topic isn't covered. So I grade it poor for reference. Also, most topics are so scattered, you would have to read the book through several times to gain the information required, but the book is so unreadable, that you'll never get to this point.
Is it a literature review? One could easily confuse the book for this as there are hundreds of references to various papers and publications all through the book. Several chapters are written in such a style that it goes from a paragraph from one paper, into a paragraph from another and so on (check out p. 128 for example, or p. 389, or randomly open to nearly any page). By reading any chapter completely you are left with a melange of disparate and unconnected thoughts about many different aspects of user interfaces, most that have nothing much to do with design or with one another. Here the author must be trying to soothe his own insecurity that he has enough knowledge to write a book about UI.
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Format: Hardcover
A text search of Amazon.com using `User Interface' returns this book as the first choice. So I bought it. I also thought Schneiderman would be a good case study because people who bought his book also bought Jakob Nielsen's Usability Engineering. I just hoped after 638 pages I wouldn't be left with the conclusion, "I like top navigation and left-side navigation."
This book is presented as a textbook and some people may have a problem with this approach. The fact is most of the people studying User Interface are PhDs and they need to sell these things to their students so they can continue making their bar tab in the faculty lounge.
`Designing the User Interface' covers as much human-computer interaction as you could hope to fit in a textbook. You may be left wondering why anyone would bother writing a book about the same subject again. It's already covered. Unfortunately, most of the textbook will be too `academic' for our purposes. If you want to know about computer science, psychology, information science, business systems, education technology, communications arts, media studies, technical writing, research agendas, you'll find it. But just flip to the obvious throw-in Chapter 16, titled: hypermedia and the worldwide web on page 551. That's what I did. In fact, the other obvious throw-in titled `Afterward' has some great sections such as `Ten Plagues of the Information Age' and `Between Hope and Fear.' Shneiderman waxes philosophical here on the big picture of human-computer interaction. He covers subjects such as universal access, fear of technology, professional responsibilities, alienation, unemployment and displacement.
My personal viewpoint is that text is much a part of user interface as graphics and navigation.
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