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Experience Design Paperback – April 18, 2001

ISBN-13: 002-9236724979 ISBN-10: 0735710783 Edition: First Edition
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This book's layout is itself an experience in experience design. With its dynamic typography and visually elusive chapter divisions, it is definitely not a how-to manual, or even a primer on software. It's more like a visual and textual think-piece: a personal gallery of intriguing user experiences, e.g., online shopping or offline dinner parties--even human-to-human conversation. (You can get an idea of this at the book's companion Web site: www.experiencedesignbooks.com.)

Every spread is filled with images (in some cases, the very typography is like an image) that illustrate specific issues in experience design. Examples range from Web sites to traffic signs to restaurants. Whether discussing a young woman's online diary (www.moments.org); the seating arrangements at Emeril's Delmonico restaurant in New Orleans; the complaint community at www.kvetch.com; the garden-like bounty of Nokia cell phone covers; or the "simpler" experiences of matches, tarot cards, or Bang & Olufsen home media products, author Shedroff invites readers to figure out what the attraction is, what keeps the user engaged, and how the experience gets resolved. Among the general topics explored are navigation in information design, usability in interface design, and narrative structure in interaction design. All come with both online and offline examples (e.g., the Louvre for "offline" navigation and www.thehungersite.com for online usability).

Shedroff is an experience strategist and has designed experiences in a variety of media, especially interactive and information design and branding. His client list includes Herman Miller, Nike, Bell Atlantic, Swissbank, and Microsoft. In 1995, I.D. named him one of the 40 most important designers in the country. Here his analyses, like the form of the book, are open and flowing. Whether he's discussing wayfinding, personal meaning, or the use of metaphoric devices, Shedroff raises important questions for anyone involved in design today. In many ways, this book is like a list of author's faves--albeit, a list in which each item illuminates some kernel of contemporary design wisdom. --Angelynn Grant


"A stunning book that would be equally at home in the art or IT sections of the bookshop."Freelance Informer, Aug 2001 "It provides a visually eclectic assortment of sources."WEBSPACE, Aug 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Waite Group Press; First Edition edition (April 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735710783
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735710788
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,167,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Serial Entrepreneur, Experience Designer, Business Strategist

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Aviva Rosenstein on August 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Nathan Shedroff has a distinguished, long (in web years) design career behind him. Despite this, his current book does not contribute enough innovation or depth to make it a valuable addition to the designer's library,although it does succeed somewhat as a coffee table volume. Experience Design 1 is filled with the kind of angry-fruit-salad eye-candy that many twenty-something designers find irresistible, but which frequently presents obstacles to actual use. Shedroff imposes no overriding organization scheme that might help the reader navigate the contents, except for the three-dimensional taxonomy node map on the cover. The format lends itself to idle skimming, with seemingly disconnected topics, germane to the concept of designing experience, dominating each pair of facing pages.

According to the author, the book balances online experiences with so-called "real-world" experiences (although to me, some of the contrasts within these dichotomies are somewhat questionable -- for example, is a print magazine somehow more "real" than an online magazine? Is the Apple Desktop more "offline" than a web site when both are computer interfaces?) The text is mostly reverse printed over the book's arresting graphics, which are bleed-printed in full color on glossy stock. Poor binding, which obscures some of the printed text, flaws the overall presentation. Still, the collection of images and ideas may well be inspiring to a tired artist looking for new design approaches.

The book surfs lightly over the surfaces of experience design, never achieving genuine insight in any topic area.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "bhollyman" on May 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
I bought this book and love it! This book reminds me alot of the work done by Buckminster Fuller, Paulo Soleri and other visionaries like George Lakoff ("Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things") Rosalind Picard ("Affective Computing") and all of the Edward Tufte's work. This guy is onto something big--a field that is new and getting bigger every day--experience design. Either you get it or you don't. If you are a geek looking for a book on how to handle digital artifacts that you can't feather in Photoshop 6.0 and want techo help, don't buy this book. Go to a hardware store. There are 10,000 titles out there that can help you. This book is unique--it's about experience design.... However, I think alot of nuts and bolts web designers and developers will benefit enormously from reading this book.
When Marshall McCluhan wrote "Understanding Media" most people didn't get it and it seems that the same is true of some of the reviews on this site. By way of background, I am extremely biased and have been a Nathan fan as are a bunch of other people much more notable than me--major design gurus like Clement Mok, Richard Saul Wurman (who once described Nathan as a prodigy) and a host of others. Nathan's web work (as well as his other design work in other media) is legendary in the industry. Remember the cover of one of the early "Wired" magazine issues that spoke glowingly about the "Johnny Mneumonic" web hunt? Guess who invented that? Nathan. That is experience design. The Windows 95 Product Release site where you could download new product and was the heaviest hit site in history the day it went up? Nathan. That's experience design. The interactive "build your own bank" experience at Bank of America in 1995? That's experience design.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Rhoades VINE VOICE on May 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
Experience Design was exactly what its title says. The book is full of pictures that can be found on the Internet, talks about what the author believes is the right way and wrong way to do a web site and avoids using any graphical demonstration of techniques. The book is a novelette on design pictures. It is all reading and no walk-though examples. The print is small and hard to read because it is placed over busy backgrounds.
While the color pages are beautiful, there is not CD provided for studying or trying out techniques. the $45.00 price tag is a bit steep. There are other books on the market that provide better help for a designer looking for how-tos and suggestion on what to use on the web sites they are creating.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kevin K. on December 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book was as confused as it was loaded with visual eye candy. The most pressing need for visual experience designers is knowing when to make information speak for itself and live on its own. It doesn't need to be fancy or dressed up like a overdone light show at a rock concert. Please, more substance.
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32 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Mike Profit on May 3, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With a back cover description extolling the book's virtues such as "...interaction design, information design, visual design and more related methodologies...", the book misses the mark completely. The book mostly comprises of a collection a screen grabs, arty photos and some of the more avant-garde advertising campaigns (available in a million books elsewhere). The book is so light weight that I challenge anyone to learn anything meaningful from such prosaic descriptions that accompany each example in the book. The following occupied two pages of the book, and was accompanied by such necessary elements as two photographs to demonstrate what a match and matchbox look like;
"Matches are about as simple and clear a device as you will find. Of course, they are only half the solution, requiring a suitable surface to strike them against. However, a match's operation has been reduced to a minimum of steps and a minimum of possible mistakes."
Thanks.... may I suggest you save your money.
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