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Microinteractions: Designing with Details Paperback – May 10, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1449342685 ISBN-10: 144934268X Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Principles and Patterns or Delivering Delightful User Experiences

About the Author

Dan Saffer is a Director of Interaction Design at Smart Design. He is the author of Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (New Riders), Designing Gestural Interfaces (O'Reilly), and Designing Devices. Since 1995, he has designed appliances, devices, software, websites, and services that are used by millions of people every day.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (May 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144934268X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449342685
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Saffer is Director of Interaction Design at Smart Design and the author of four books: Designing for Interaction, Designing Gestural Interfaces, Designing Devices, and Microinteractions.

Since 1995, Dan has designed devices, software, websites, robots, and services that are currently used by millions every day. He speaks at conferences and teaches workshops on interaction design all over the world. He and his products have been in BusinessWeek, Fast Company, and Wired, and his design innovations have received several patents.

Customer Reviews

It's an entertaining and easy to read book.
Juanjo Fernandez
This is where Dan Saffer does the interaction design community a huge favor with his book, Microinteractions.
Nathan Moody
I will casually leave a copy of this book in the programming office.
Seth Ward

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Scott Berkun on June 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
They say the devil is in the details, but the angels are in there too. That is, if you have a clue about what you're doing. People who want to design things have large egos and presume that they're skilled enough to work on large, grand ideas. But so rarely do designs in this world get the small things right, and if the small things, the little pieces that get used the most, are broken, what is the point of being large?

Dan Saffer's book Microinteractions is the best book I've read about design in ages. I've been working in design for 20 years and often have younger designers ask me for advice, or how to achieve their grand design dreams. Most books about design are similarly grand and presume that everyone knows the basics well enough to do the little things well. The world proves this not to be true. Spend an afternoon strolling around town with a gaggle of caffeinated interaction designers and you'll hear an endless commentary on the details the designers of the world have gotten wrong.

The book itself is a wonderfully self-consistent: it's short, concise, well designed and brilliant. The fun and salient examples nail Saffer's points, and his writing is sharp, incisive and with just enough comedic curmudgeonry to keep you smiling most of the way through. The book's ambitions, like any good design project, are clear. Shaffer's focus is on the small sequences of interactions he calls, surprise, microinteractions. Ever been frustrated by entering your password? Leaving a comment on a blog? You've been let down by a microinteraction design. Perhaps the majority of design frustrations in the technological world are micro, not macro.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Uday N. Gajendar on May 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dan Saffer has written perhaps his best book to date, on a topic that is increasingly deserving of attention: the details of interaction design, or "microinteractions". While as designers of digital products & services we often get caught up in debates around "design thinking" or "skeuomorphism", Dan has astutely pointed our profession's compass to what matters most--how to make those daily interactions, truly the details, across devices and interfaces satisfying and delightful. He provides a nicely memorable, systematic way of decomposing the core elements of a tightly scoped interaction for mundane events such as logging in, syncing data, attaching a file, etc. -- what I always vaguely called "the nuts and bolts" of interaction design--into a specific sensible framework [trigger > rules > feedback > loops/modes] that a designer can carry with them into any design session or heuristic evaluation. Filled with great examples, including full color images of actual interfaces, and amplified with Dan's easy writing style that makes his anecdotes come alive, this book deserves a high priority spot on every interaction designer's library. I also want to applaud the historical references that Dan includes on fundamental interactions like copy/paste and the file save model, that I'm sure many young digital designers today may not know about. I'll certainly be referring back to "Microinteractions" often for my complex design projects!
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Eric Lawrence on June 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When you're writing a book about how important it is that designers get the small details right, it's important to get the small details right.

Unfortunately, this book all too often gets those details wrong. The photos and screenshots, most of which were pulled from a website called "Little Big Details", are the most common source of problems. The mistakes here run the gamut-- pictures that are:

- too dark (e.g. black text on a near-black background)
- too light (insufficient contrast),
- too small (cannot see details)
- too large (irrelevant content)
- low resolution (print is 300+ DPI but most screenshots are 96dpi)

The book was printed in black and white, but includes images which depend on the reader's ability to see color. A few even purport to demonstrate animations, an impossibility in print. A handful of the images are like those puzzle games your grandparents play in the Sunday paper ("Which tiny details are different between these two pictures?"). In addition to the technical problems with the photos themselves, the text all too often refers to figures inappropriately (e.g. the picture doesn't demonstrate the point made in the text).

In addition to a handful of typos (some amusing "Hammers, like most tools, are very good for a few discreet [sic] activities"), the book suffers from clarity problems in some parts. These include such gems as "The invisible trigger should be nearly universally available, or alternatively, available under particular conditions". One sentence included no fewer than 4 parentheticals.

Generally, the publisher/editor should help flag problems such as these, but if anything, they made it worse.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Steven H. Clason on July 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
After defining the topic as "single use-case features [of a user interface] that do one thing only" with a light switch as the iconic example, arguing for the importance of getting the features of user experience right, setting the goal of "dissect[ing] microinteractions in order to help readers design their own", and a mostly-irrelevant but well-told introductory story about a cell-phone ring-tone destroying a musical performance, the author quickly establishes an analysis framework, dividing interactions into Triggers, Rules, and Feedback, and devotes early chapters to explaining each of the components.

The book, unfortunately, doesn't fulfill this promising (minus that story) start.

Rather than an intensive and systematic dissection of single-use-case interactions, we're given example after example (after example) of Triggers, then of Rules, then of Feedback, almost all drawn from postings to a single Website ("Little Big Details"),accompanied by a narrative which, by rapidly changing point of view and underlying metaphor, makes the analytical context confusing and causes all of these examples (and there are a LOT of examples) to just pile together, conceptually.

There are good ideas -- use smart defaults, don't start from zero, recognize "signature moments" -- but they are presented in mind-numbing breadth rather than depth, with many, many examples but little analysis of why these rules might apply exactly this way in this particular context. The barrage of examples, to me, grew tiresome. You might have figured that out already.

Mr. Saffer tells us how to judge a successful feature -- "what you're striving for is a feeling of naturalness, an inevitability, a flow..." -- and it's a shame he didn't apply that simple measure to his book.
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