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on December 7, 2005
I have used this text for a year and half, for three instances of the same course (upper division undergrad). Good: 1. Each chapter is about a week's work, so it fits the schedule nicely; 2. Each chapter has "activities", "summary", and "assignments" which I find very useful when making assignments; 3. Lots of illustrations; 4. Interviews with professionals in the field are added at the end of each chapter -- this adds another dimension to the "textbook" aspects of the book; 5. Cartoons here and there. Could be improved: the quality of some of the illustrations -- some of them are photos that are dark and hard to make out. Some look like they came from the 1950s -- I am not sure how that is possible in a book published in 2002, but that's what it looks like to me. Still, the text is "nicely illustrated". The thing that stops this from being a "great" text is the quality of the writing and presentation of ideas. The writing is too simplistic. A "great" text finds ways to express things in a succinct manner, summarizing key ideas. Instead, this book tends to be wordy in many places, and lacks an effective organization of ideas. Finally, the text is starting to appear "dated", but few textbooks can withstand the breakneck speed of change in this area. That said, no student has complained (to me) about the text (but neither have they praised it). And, I have not been able to find a better text.
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on January 15, 2003
The field of interface and interaction design is formally known as Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). It is significant that a large amount of HCI deals with non-programming issues such as psychological approaches to end-user experience, social manners of the audience, and more. Interaction Design and The Essential Guide to User Interface Design provide a comprehensive overview of the essentials of interface design.
Beyond Interaction Design is an important book for designing effective and capable interfaces to software applications.
Interaction Design is a meat and potatoes book about HCI. Rather than focusing on the software that drives the application, the book analyzes how users actually interact with the system. This interaction is what ultimately will determine whether a system is successful or unproductive.
The book provides a comprehensive look at the entire set of requirements involved with design. The authors show that there is much more to systems design than end-user requirements and CGI scripts. Effective HCI is a multi-disciplinary area including psychology, sociology, anthropology, information systems, and computer science.
The authors write that their book is called "Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction" because it is concerned with the broader scope of issues, topics, and paradigms than has been traditionally written in other books. The book notes that there has never been a greater need for interactions designers and usability engineers to develop current and next-generation interaction technologies. To be successful in the interface design game, programmers need a mixed set of skills, which is not an easy task.
Interaction Design comprises 15 densely packed chapters that integrate all of the various cognitive, social, and other issues that are germane to interaction design. Chapter 1 provides an overview of what makes for good and bad design. Chapter 3 gets into the psychological aspect of HCI and looks at cognition and how users interact with the systems they implement. None of the book makes for easy reading, as the topics at hand are often multifaceted and complex. Chapter 6 deals with the process of interaction design and for the most part ends the psychological approach, while Chapters 7 through 10 deal with the actual design of the system.
The book has a number of real-world case studies, and also includes interviews with various authorities on HCI. However, it does not get into specific technologies (Solaris, Linux, etc.). Also, each chapter concludes with a number of references, which can be used as a launching pad for more information.
I highly recommend Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction for anyone who is serious about interface design. Your users will appreciate it.
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on September 4, 2003
The breath and depth of this text truly embodies the necessary content for beginning HCI students in an undergraduate and graduate program. I've successfully used this text every semester with my students since its inception. The author's perspective of the discipline accurately reflects an increasing trend in HCI education that places less emphasis on computing and more on designing products to enhance human communication based on the social sciences. It is organized to provide an instructor a way to pick and choose selected chapters or proceed sequentially. Each chapter is multi-dimensional in its approach to provide an array of content that includes both theory and practice. I highly recommend it.
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on December 5, 2007
This is probably one of the worst books of any kind that I have ever encountered. It is hands down the worst "textbook" I've ever read. It reads like a fourteen year old's freshman research paper, both in the quality of content, diction, sentence structure, and grammar. It brings the concept of "filler" text to a level unprecedented by anything I've ever come across. Page after pager after page of nonsensical filler text occasionally interrupted by an actual concept, which of course is reiterated in ten different ways over three paragraphs.

To be fair, there are a handful of informative ideas in this book, but in total they could probably be outlined in an eloquent ten page summary; this of course, would be difficult to sell for $70. And it's not just that this book was written for the layman, it isn't appropriate for any skill level. It simply repeats the same idea over and over again, for six hundred plus grueling pages. This can be summed up in this brilliant general life statement: "There are many ways to do this and the way you do this will depend on lots of things, like what you have, what you can do, and what you want." This paraphrased sentence was stated at least ten times in every single chapter (and believe me, this is not hyperbole). What's more, this statement is slightly more eloquent then what you'll come across in the actual book.

But what's most alarming is that this book has critical acclaim. It appears that it's used in quite a few HCI programs across the country. I, for one, was assigned this book in a graduate level class at Brown; and it being the basis of the class, led to one of the least informative classes I've ever been a part of.
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on April 9, 2002
Overall very pleased with the new book. I see this more as a revision of Preece's early book on HCI but thankfully with less emphasis on the physiological aspects of HCI and still not to vague and soft on the practicalities. For the first time, I would consider this as a front-line undergraduate text though as with all books on HCI, it needs to be backed up with comprehensive readings and slides for inclass use. The latter is reasonably well covered and the former can be acquired through the biblio and ACM (please ACM Digital Library - make readings available free!).
Several excellent chapters particularly on evaluation and peppered with useful and interesting case-studies.
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on September 2, 2003
I have successfully used this book as the major text in both undergraduate and post graduate HCI and Interaction Design subjects. I am grateful that is available as it is by far the best text available for these subjects. It is particularly strong on the social and contextual issues that are so fundamental to the design of robust and usable technology and are often so difficult to convey to students who lack real design experience.
It is well organised, very clearly written and provides many useful examples and practical exercises. These are all designed to make some very complex material accessible to readers whatever their knowledge of the field. I have also used some of the support material that is available for those teaching from this text. It is designed in such a way that it can be easily incorporated into existing course material and has saved me a lot of time!
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on January 8, 2011
I teach courses in a bachelor's degree program in Information Technology. I had to use this book in the User-Computer Interface Design course that I was assigned as the replacement instructor to teach on a short notice. So I had no time to choose different text. My impression is that at least for the IT majors this book is hardly suitable. Here are the two major concerns.

1. Lack of definitions of the key concepts create difficulties with learning. I believe that the terms 'design', 'problem space', and 'design space' must be clearly defined before being used in the text. In my course, students come across the term 'design' for the first time, and this is the only course in the whole curriculum containing 'design' in the title. (BTW this term has several meanings: process, product, applied science, learning subject). So the reader needs clarification. The word 'design' can be found on each and every page of this book, but there is no explanation of what the author mean indeed. This is negligence.

2. Lack of clear recommendations of how to document and use the results of the interaction design. This raises doubts about the practical value of the whole text. I believe that the student after reading this textbook must have clear understanding of these concepts. In the real life, it is the reasonable expectation of, say, a software system developer that the user interaction designer will produce her/his results in a tangible way by following some industry wide documentation standards. Unless the standards are followed, it is hardly possible to measure and assure the quality of the work done by the designer. This book says almost nothing about that.

Fortunately, these shortcomings are easy to address.
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on August 4, 2008
I would prefer to give this book 1 or 2 stars, but to be fair, I am giving it 3 stars. I just took an HCI Design class and this was the required book. Based on the course syllabus, this book was very unorganized in conveying specific information. It was more like a reference tool, rather than a learning tool. Also, there are many errors in the text, which I have already e-mailed to the author and publisher. These are content errors, not grammar and spelling. Anyway, I could see this being a useful book if you want a very broad understanding of HCI, but for more intricate knowledge, I give this book 2 thumbs down.
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on May 15, 2012
The book is great for Interaction Designers because it describes a lot of aspects from the proces of creating new, innovative, interactive products. Some of the aspects are research, making and understanding conceptualisation, looking at the needs of users, interface design, data-visualisation, some interaction design processes, prototyping and much more.

Great book!
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on November 5, 2006
If you work in application design or development, software, or web design... READ THIS BOOK! It will take your work to the next level.

Be warned, though... it is terribly boring! You'll think you're in college again. Don't put it down though, it's important knowledge.
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