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Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience Paperback – September 8, 1998

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (September 8, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565923510
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565923515
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,432,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Jennifer Fleming knows that the best way to prove a point is to use a striking example. She loads Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience with quotes and screen shots that deconstruct some of the most fascinating, successful, and innovative sites devised. Fleming also recommends books within Web Navigation's margins that cover the discussed subjects in more depth. Far from distracting, Fleming's style allow the readers to take notes, think about what each site's page is trying to accomplish, and refocus with the author on the topic.

This book makes it clear that there isn't one right pattern to a successful site. In the case of National Geographic online, she sees the way the site guides and educates the user as its main attribute. For CNET, it's the speed at which it presents well-filtered results and reviews. For Garden Escape, it's its commitment to building a community through "simple and easily used forums" while selling supplies. From design basics to concept meetings to Web heuristics, Fleming casts a wide net without diluting her message: focus on the user's experience. --Jennifer Buckendorff

About the Author

Jennifer Fleming ( owns Square Circle Solutions, a Boston-area company specializing in user experience consulting and information design. Square Circle Solutions' client list includes Tripod, The Annenberg/CPB Project, EBSCO Publishing, and Shareholder Direct. Jennifer is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and has taught courses in web and computer design topics for United Digital Artists, the Massachusetts College of Art, and Naugatuck Valley Community Technical College. Jennifer has a Master's degree in library and information science and an undergraduate degree in fine arts.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By David Walker on September 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
Jennifer Fleming has created a lively and wide-ranging discussion of Web design practices for the turn of the century. This 250-page volume accepts the Web for what it is - a task-based mass medium reaching for its audience through the often clouded glass of the computer-based browser screen. Rather than fuss over the Web's elusive true form (publishing medium? hyper-animated poster? PC software platform? supermarket?), Fleming simply accepts the obvious: there are all sorts of sites out there. For Fleming, tellingly, the design challenge lies not with deciding the right sort of site, and certainly not with the look of your navigation buttons. Instead, the challenge lies with adapting sites to the increasingly well-documented struggles of their audience. Fleming's book starts with Web users, ends with Web users, and stays with them all the way through.
Jakob Nielsen, of course, has been gathering devotees to his cause of Web usability for several years. But Nielsen, rational as he always is, speaks from outside the designers' circle. Fleming, a practicing design consultant, takes the Nielsen ideas (and others) and turns them into a full-fledged design process, a toolbox for building sites.
Among the best of Fleming's tools is the "user profile", the half-imaginary story about a specific user arriving at a site with particular needs, desires and concerns. You can see this slice of the book excerpted at Web Review. The technique lets you think creatively about all the different frustrations of different user groups - problems with graphics, problems with information design, problems with underlying business processes.
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70 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Barry Campbell ( on December 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Fleming's technique involves a lot of interviews and case studies, which results in an overview of design issues that's a mile wide and an inch deep; some folks might need that and might indeed benefit from that.
I expect more from O'Reilly. Typically, O'Reilly books are much meatier than this, and certainly as a practical matter the level of technical detail presented here is quite low.
If you're a novice to site design, this book might help you quite a bit; likewise, if you're a nontechnical manager with one or more web developers on your staff, it might also be worth your time.
If you've kept up with the various web sites and print magazines which discuss aspects of the "user experience," your time and money can best be spent elsewhere.
O'Reilly has enjoyed a reputation for technical excellence that in my opinion no other technical publisher can come close to. If they put out many more books like this, though, I don't expect that to hold. Buy O'Reilly's excellent "Information Architecture" instead of this volume, read the design tutorials over at HotWIRED's "Webmonkey" and visit Jakob Neilsen's site, and save your shekels for something you can use.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Edward Kim on July 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book covers a wide array of issues related to the creation of navigation schemes for web sites. Fleming discusses current strategies in site architecture, interaction design and site development (just to name a few). In addition, Fleming describes why these strategies work, how to implement them, and presents fascinating insights from the web's leading design experts (Clement Mok, Jakob Nielsen, Nathan Shedroff, etc.).
One of the most all-encompassing books I've ever read on the subject, this book gives an excellent overview of what's involved in web navigation design. It contains many truths about the problems facing web navigation and offers clear-cut approaches in a very practical manner. The book's high-level approach is ideal for anyone interested in just an overview of web design, but it also offers an impressive list of references to further the research endeavors of readers with a more vested interest in the subject. Some of the examples and case studies will become a bit dated; however, there will always be a tremendous amount of value in this book due to the timelessness of the concepts presented in it.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Krug on October 13, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first heard (six months ago) that someone was writing an entire book about web site navigation, I have to admit I was pretty jazzed. After all, web navigation is something I spend several hours a day thinking about, and there's almost nothing useful written about it. (I make my living reviewing web site designs to make sure that human beings stand a chance of being able to use them. It's a great job.) I figured this had to be just the book I was looking for: endless discussions of whether sites should be wide or deep, how many items you can fit on a navigation bar without scaring users off, whether JavaScript rollovers help or hurt, and so on. Lots of diagrams and flow charts.
So I have to admit that I was more than a little bummed when it finally arrived: it just wasn't the book I was hoping for. (In the interest of full disclosure, while I was waiting I sought Jennifer out to consult on a particularly thorny project of mine. She was very helpful.) But the good news is it only took a few minutes to get over my disappointment. As soon as I started reading, I realized that what she's written is actually a much more interesting book than the one I had in mind, and one that's valuable to a lot more people. Even though the title is "Web Navigation," the subtitle ("Designing the User Experience") is what it's really about. It explains (and shows by example) how to grapple with a much more important issue than what your navigation looks like--namely: figuring out your users' goals-what they hope to accomplish at your site-and then designing an experience that meets those goals. (Hint: navigation's just a part of it.
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