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Modular Web Design: Creating Reusable Components for User Experience Design and Documentation [Paperback]

by Nathan A. Curtis
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 4, 2009 0321601351 978-0321601353 1
User experience design teams often suffer from a decentralized, blank canvas approach to creating and documenting a design solution for each new project. As teams repeatedly reinvent screen designs, inconsistency results, and IT teams scramble to pick up the pieces. Pattern libraries only go so far, suggesting general solutions to common problems instead of offering concrete, specific design treatments. At times, documented solutions turn into a costly mess of unclear expectations, unrealistic goals, and abandoned work.

Enter components, each of which represents a chunk of a Web page. Designers can produce wireframes, mockups, or markup far more efficiently reusing components based on an established design system. Rather than limit innovation, components enable designers to render solved design frameworks quickly and to focus on the problem at hand, drastically improving the quality and rate of production. In addition, teams develop a deeper baseline for collaboration, a platform for governance, and a structure for useful and predictable documentation.
This book defines the role of components and why they matter, maps out how to organize and build a component library, discusses how to use components in practice, and teaches a process for documenting and maintaining components.

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Modular Web Design: Creating Reusable Components for User Experience Design and Documentation + Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning (2nd Edition) (Voices That Matter)
Price for both: $68.85

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Nathan Curtis is a founder and principal at EightShapes, LLC, a user experience consulting firm based in Washington, DC. Nathan has been a user experience design practitioner since 1996 in areas including information architecture, interaction design, usability, and user interface development. Prior to founding EightShapes, Nathan practiced user experience design during stints at Sprint Nextel, BIG fish Design, and SAS Institute, Inc. Nathan obtained a B.S. summa cum laude in mathematics and statistics from Virginia Tech, followed by a master’s degree in statistics from the University of Chicago. He blogs at and currently lives in Fairfax, VA, with his wife and two children.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (July 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321601351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321601353
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #973,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too broad December 16, 2009
There are some good ideas included in the book, but it is far too lengthy. Any professional should find most of the notions common sense, and of little use.

I may have gotten something out of it if it were half the length, much more focused, and a little more detailed. Throw in some case studies of actual cause-effect examples, and it would have grabbed my attention.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Getting your designs organized October 10, 2009
Expect a very detailed and systematical book about how to think modular when designing for the web and how to create component-based designs, deliverables (wireframes, layouts, specs). The book is packed with practical tips on how to achieve modularity in common design tools (InDesign, Fireworks, Visio, etc.).

What I liked about the book:
- It's down to earth, very well structured.
- The fundamental approach is very inspiring: how to cut a design into pieces, document the pieces, search for reusable elements and define those as components.
- Examples and figures are abundant and illustrate the points very well.

What you should be aware of:
- If you're mainly working for on small to mid-sized projects or you're not really decided to go and start creating and sharing component libraries, the detailed process in the 2nd part of the book may be really overkill for you.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle August 6, 2009
Ever wondered if you are creating wireframes, comps, technical requirements, etc. as quickly as you could?
Looking for some tips that will take your design deliverables to the next level?
Have customers ever looked at your deliverables and said, "Huh? Where are you referring?"

Then Modular Web Design is worth buying and reading.

I confess that I can be a bit lazy. I'm also extremely swamped. I want to make engaging, easily understood deliverables as quickly as possible and this book has helped me review my current body of work and enhance it. It's given me some new ways to think about how I create great deliverables and leverage existing work.
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