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The Design of Sites: Patterns for Creating Winning Web Sites (2nd Edition) Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0131345553 ISBN-10: 9780131345553 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 2 edition (December 24, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780131345553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131345553
  • ASIN: 0131345559
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #245,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Douglas K. van Duyne, entrepreneur and software designer, is cofounder and a principal of Naviscent, a Web research and design firm. He has been an innovator in customer-centered design, online shopping, e-commerce, and multimedia development for numerous Global 2000 companies.

James A. Landay is a professor of computer science at the University of Washington. Previously, he served as the director of Intel Research Seattle, which focuses on the emerging world of ubiquitous computing, and as an associate professor for computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Jason I. Hong is a computer science professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Four years ago, we began this book with a story of a man who discovers a talking dog. When asked what the dog said, the man replied, “Who cares? It’s a talking dog!” For several years after its inception in the early 1990s, the Web was the talking dog, fascinating in its very existence. Then businesspeople discovered that they could sell things using the Web, without paying the huge production and distribution fees that print and television advertising required. Web sites became commercial ventures almost overnight, and a period of rapid evolution began for this new medium. As the Web evolved, the problems faced by its developers were the same ones faced by any industry as it matures: people started to care more about factors like value, convenience, and ease of use than about the novelty of the technology itself. A new term, customer-centered design, was coined in an attempt to deal with this change in priorities.

For Douglas van Duyne, James Landay, and Jason Hong, customer-centered design wasn’t always a hot topic for e-business. Eight years ago, when we were an entrepreneur with a software design background, a Berkeley computer science professor, and a doctoral graduate student, we had a vision to provide much-needed customer insights to businesses developing for the new medium of the Web. Although the vision eventually resulted in a thriving Web development business and this book, we had many questions to answer along the way. As part of our research into why most Web sites failed to meet customer expectations, we became very interested in how typical design agencies went about their work, and why companies hired outside Web site design firms instead of creating sites themselves.

To help answer these questions, we sent researchers to interview Web designers and their clients. We learned that companies hired design agencies on the basis of their previous work building recognizable brands. At the time, Web designers distinguished themselves through awards and accolades, not by measured success with real customers. This pattern began to make sense only when we learned that most Web designers got into the business after working in print, film, or television, all noninteractive media. At that time, few tools existed to help designers understand the Web customer experience. In fact, when we studied a new client’s site, we could see that the business was suffering, but now we knew it was because of the original designer’s blindness to the distinctions of interaction design, along with a tradition that often put form over function.

This scenario became clear in our daily work. We were brought in to assess tough site design problems and fix them. We saw client after client with site designs that were failing, even though all the essentials appeared to be in place. During one such project, when we were testing a client’s large-scale e-commerce site, we asked typical site visitors to locate a specific product. Our client had designed the site internally and their designers knew how to find everything, so they were confident that customers could do the same. To the test subjects, however, the product descriptions were cryptic, the navigation controls were unclear, and trying to find a single product resulted in pages and pages of choices. Upon completion of the test, almost all the participants reported success, but in actuality, only a scant few had found the correct product. A site design that was clear to its designers was so confusing to the customers that they did not even know they had failed. As a result of our efforts, the client was able to see that the site had been designed in a vacuum. Only through iterative design and rigorous testing were we able to create a site that was as usable as it was attractive.

Well, a funny thing has happened since those early years. Customer-centered design has risen from obscurity to the forefront of Web site development. During that time, we have used the research tools and methodologies that we developed to iteratively design sites for some of the best-known and best-managed companies in the world. Each in our own way, we’ve followed our original vision. Douglas K. van Duyne, entrepreneur and software designer, is a founder and principal of Naviscent, a Web research and design firm. James A. Landay is a professor of computer science at the University of Washington and previously served as the director of Intel Research Seattle, which focuses on the new world of ubiquitous computing. Jason I. Hong is a computer science professor at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute of Carnegie Mellon University.

In these roles we have personally met with hundreds of executives to talk about their business models, market strategies, and, of course, Web site development plans. We have found that as Web businesses have matured, organizations have realized the need to focus on improving the customer experience. In fact, we have discovered that the more senior the executive we speak with is, the clearer the mandate for a customer-centered design approach becomes.

This focus on customer-centered design is not limited to our experience. Recently e-business analysts have started evaluating design firms less on their brand design work, concentrating more on the efficacy of their Web customer experience. However, despite the new standards, reviews of top design firms have shown surprising results. Although many of the biggest Web agencies promise to include customer testing as part of their site design services, analysis has concluded their designs do not consistently provide a better customer experience. 1 Much progress is still needed.

Today companies seem to have an almost unquenchable thirst for customer-centered design knowledge, expertise, methodologies, and work practices. The purpose of this book is to help satisfy some of that need, drawing on our years of experience at Naviscent, UC Berkeley, the University of Washington, and Carnegie Mellon, and working on Web research and design projects for more than three hundred clients. We hope that, by keeping the book current with the state of customer-centered Web design as it exists today, we can do our part to ensure that the evolution of the medium continues unabated.

New in the Second Edition

After publication of the first edition, we met and talked with many readers and instructors about their use of the book. A couple of consistent threads of conversation led us to embark on this second edition. One thing people appreciated in the first edition was the breadth of topics in one place. But, it seemed, we managed to miss a couple of important patterns here and there. Readers helped us by suggesting patterns we didn’t include in the first edition, like PROGRESS BAR (H13).

Another important factor that influenced the content of this new edition was the development of two important new Web technologies: AJAX-based interfaces and Mobile Web. With AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML), interaction techniques previously available only in desktop applications, such as direct manipulation, could now be used to design enhanced Web sites and applications, broadening designer choices. As mobile phone usage has continued to climb, phone browser technology has improved. The Mobile Web creates new opportunities for businesses, and new design challenges. Several new patterns in this edition cover the Mobile Web space.

In addition to the many new patterns in this edition, we’ve updated other patterns to reflect these technology changes, as well as to provide additional insights that we’ve learned along the way. In fact, more than one-third of the content of this second edition of the book is either new or updated.

Why Use This Book?

You’re probably wondering how this book is any different from the numerous other Web design books out there. This unique book is not about programming or any specific technology. Nor is it a quick fix for all of the problems you and your team will face in developing a Web site. No single book can do that. What this book does offer are principles, processes, and patterns to help you develop successful customer-centered Web sites. With this customer-centered focus, your Web site can be relevant, self-explanatory, and easy to use.

Creating a Web site is easy. Creating a successful Web site that provides a winning experience for your target audience is another story, and that’s what this book is about. And when you’re finished reading it, it will be a valuable reference tool to keep on your desk. You can turn to it again and again as you design, redesign, and evaluate sites.

Your target customers 2 will differ. Depending on your business, they might be members in a club, students of a university, concerned citizens, or paying shoppers. The goals of each of these audiences will also vary, but the challenge for you is the same: creating an interactive interface that provides tangible value to the people who go to your site.

The patterns in this book provide you and your team with a common language to articulate an infinite variety of Web designs. We developed the language because we saw people solving the same design problems over and over at great time and expense. The patterns examine solutions to these problems. We present the best practices from our consulting experience, our research experience, and our Web development experience—gathered in one place. In The Design of Sites, we give you the tools to understand your customers better, help you design sites that your customers will find effective and easy to use, shorten your development schedules, and reduce maintenance costs.

If you do not have “customers,” think of target audiences. One focus of the book is the design of e-commerce Web sites; however, you can successfully apply the majority of the content to make any Web site better.

Who Should Read This Book?


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Customer Reviews

I think that says alot about this wonderful book.
Kathy L. Bokano
The patterns discussed in the book can be implemented almost immediately.
Johnny Hopkins
It's indexed well and very easy to hone in on specific issues.
A Summers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a book that shows how far website designing has come, since the early days of the mid 90s. Back then, texts on the subject often focused on the technical mechanics. Heavy on HTML, explaining what all those tags did. Plus much details on how to run the web servers. Those were texts for programmers.

Duyne and his co-authors give a higher level discourse. One better attuned to a true design approach. And germane to people of different skill sets than programmers. While there is still some discussion at the HTML level, nowadays you can safely assume that much of that degree of detail can be safely handed off, after the design (or a first cut of it) is done.

The text spans many aspects of a website. Like having a consistent visual style across all the pages. Or perhaps distinct styles, but each within a clear subset of pages. And the developer should always try to keep in mind what a visitor might expect. For this, a logical and easy to understand layout of the pages relative to each other is key. Along with an accompanying site map. Granted, if you are just starting out with a small site, the map may be unnecessary. But if you have ambitions for more, then designing a logical subdivision of the pages is advised.

You probably want search engines to list your site. And list it prominently. Where this applies whether you have a corporate site or a non-profit site. So a chapter offers several hints for search engine optimisation. For one thing, try having meaningful titles for each page. But perhaps the best thing you can do, if you want other websites to link to yours, is simply to write the text as fluently and interestingly as you can. Make visitors WANT to read your pages. All the technical SEO steps are important, but ultimately secondary compared to this.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mitchel J. Haas on August 23, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The amount of web site design knowledge presented in this text is almost unbelievable. Almost every aspect of website design is covered. If you're looking for a 'implementation how-to' book, look elsewhere. This text is more of a 'design how-to' text, and it does an unparalleled job of that.
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44 of 53 people found the following review helpful By P. G Lee on September 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was hoping this book would have more fundamental design insights that could be applied to various situations. However, I found it to be a bit too obvious with samples and ideas based on common websites. The design points were ones anyone who browses the web could have figured out on their own. Essentially the book would use popular websites as models and say do your sites like this. There was no obvious indicator that these were even patterns per se. Just that these sites are popular so they must be the best way of doing it. That didn't seem particularly convincing when most sites design changes every 2-3 years. It also didn't highlight the shortcomings and tradeoffs you must make when choosing a particular pattern. Essentially this book wasn't much use to me since the websites I work on don't fit any of their models. I was hoping for a book where you can apply *fundamental* design patterns to all types of situations not just the specific ones mentioned (e.g. The best way to format entry fields, when to use a pop up versus show everything at once, how mnay items to show in a list, when to use pagination versus list scrolling, and the why's and hows and tradeoffs and all that stuff we consider when designing a web site.) I was hoping for something along the lines of the Microsoft style guide I read several years ago, but catered for the web.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
The second updated edition of THE DESIGN OF SITES offers a foundation survey of the principles and best practices underlying outstanding Web design, making it a recommended pick not just for computer collections, but for college-level classroom use. Web designers receive a tutorial on the basics of good web site design, with coverage of AJAX, the latest new design patterns, updated patterns, and more accompanied by color screen shots, diagrams, and discussions of site elements. From the basics of accessibility to direct manipulation and website values, all aspects of web design are surveyed. A top pick for classroom assignment and discussion, especially.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Hopkins on February 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am getting through the book and it is a treasure trove of knowledge about good design. The patterns discussed in the book can be implemented almost immediately. I like how they included AJAX in the book as an enhancement not a distraction to websites. They even emphasized mobile web applications and patterns for those. If you are building any type of web-based/network-based application, this book should be on your shelf.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Francesca Barrientos on February 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book tells me exactly what to do to design a website.

I'm a researcher in a government lab working on a large aeronautics and data mining research project. We'd like our work to be more open to the public, and I'm responsible for designing a website to engage the public in active collaboration. I've got less than a year, I have a small inexperienced team (me included), and I'm trying to teach them customer-centered methods as we go along. This book is like a godsend! It puts everything in one place! It gives me hope that I can actually pull this off!
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