- Series: Voices That Matter
- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (February 20, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0133890333
- ISBN-13: 978-0133890334
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Best Interface Is No Interface: The simple path to brilliant technology (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition
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"If Silicon Valley doesn't read this book, we're all ****ed."
- Doug LeMoine, Managing Director, Cooper
“An irreverent, crazy tirade. So why should you read this book? Because irreverence is precisely what is needed today to get us out of the rut of bad, unintelligible, frustrating design. Because the book is funny, caustic, and insightful. So next time you are feeling low, just open the book to some random page and read for a few minutes. You will start smiling, laughing, and learning. A great cure for all that ails you. Why read this book? Well, because I told you to.”
-Don Norman, Design Lab, University of California, San Diego
Author of The Design of Everyday Things, Revised and Expanded
“In this amusing, smart, and brave case against our screen-based world, Golden Krishna reinforces his position as one of the world’s foremost thinkers of user experience design.”
- Martin Thörnkvist, Conference Director, The Conference by Media Evolution
“This essential book will hopefully mark the moment in history when we say ‘ENOUGH!‘ to screen saturation and usher in a more meaningful co-habitation with technology.”
- Kevin Farnham, Founder of Method and Co-Author of Experience Design: A Framework for Integrating Brand, Experience, and Value
"A mind-bending, thoughtful, life-affirming and sure-to-be-controversial manifesto about how we might significantly change our relationship to the technology that surrounds us."
- Dave Gray, Author of The Connected Company and Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
"Krishna's book is written in a very colloquial and accessible style; at times it reads more like a great argument in a Silicon Valley coffee shop, long after closing time, at a table covered in diagrams scribbled on paper napkins. But that's exactly what makes it worth reading. It's not bland theory, but a lively tale well told by someone with deep experience in the field of user experience design."
- PC Magazine
About the Author
For years, designer Golden Krishna has been behind the scenes, solving technology problems for companies from startups to Fortune 50. He’s currently a Senior UX Designer at Zappos Labs, where he works in a small group dedicated to creating new, delightful experiences for Zappos. Previously, he worked at a Samsung innovation lab, designing and building the near future of consumer electronics. He began his career working at the world-renowned design consultancy Cooper in San Francisco.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, for an everyday geek, or programmer, who doesn't have machine learning tools or skills to implement the ideas here, this book is full of lots of "No", and very little "Yes". The author suggests a few tools which are "doing it right", but offers little concrete advice for curing the ills described. So, you're left with an hour or two worth of entertainment, and little more.
In short, this is a short little sermon, which was enjoyable. It's a 5 star book at $6, but a 3 star book at $16. Read it, or better still, find it on sale later. It can wait.
Throughout the narrative, Krishna outlines the silliness of tech's obsession with putting screen-based interfaces on things that probably don't need them--take for instance the 17" touchscreen in the center console of a Tesla--and then offers real-world examples of more invisible and far more useful technology. It's a great way to mix necessary criticism of an industry that has lots of mental processing power but deficient conscience, with actionable, tenable solutions.
I bring this up because Golden Krishna's "No Interface" book is really about moving past screens, and he dedicates a good chunk of the book to commenting on how so many businesses have become beholden to screens because screen-time and ads present there help them generate money. Shareholders for companies like Facebook and Twitter <i>want</i> the "Average Time Spent" to go up, even if the user experience would be more pleasant if we simply went to the site, got our job done, and then left. Screens, Golden argues, get in the way.
But that's not the only point, nor even the main point. His primary argument <i>is</i> that screens get in the way, but in the way of <i>innovation</i>. For too many people, myself included, we think "Oh, we could build an app for that!" And that is so often not the solution. He gives a funny example at the beginning of how Ford one built an app for unlocking their cars several years ago. It won awards, yes, but thinking about the user experience, Golden articulates that it takes up to 13 steps--two physical, and most of them involved in the screen itslef—to turn on the phone, get out of the current app, get into the new app, find the button, etc, etc and then the car is unlocked! Whereas Siemens solved the solution another way: a keychain that would allow the car to unlock once the key (and person) was close enough to the car. It required no app, no real "steps," and no thought. In fact, it's the epitome of Steve Krug's first law of usability: "Don't make the user think," albeit without Steve's focus on screens.
UX, Golden argues, is not UI. And the conflation of those terms has killed innovation for some. We literally think "in the box" of the screens and wireframes that come to mind as an instant, go-to solution. We devolve to thinking about forms, grids, buttons, gradients, parallax, wireframes, forms, select boxes, and resolutions (UI) over bliss, joy, frustration, delight, emotion, pathos, solutions, problems, and opportunities (UX). And that is the travesty.
Golden's book is well-written. It is not without problems, although to his credit he elucidates several challenges and exceptions to his broad theory in a section entitled "Challenges." But it was a good reminder to me that the best interface <i>is</i> no interface; when the interface is invisible, when we are focused not on our computers or screens but on the jobs and tasks we are doing; when natural processes are taken into account—then we are truly focused on User Experience design. And while there will always be exceptions (i.e. word processing and other complex tasks in which GUI's are indispensable), his argument and philosophy is compelling—and should start a conversation that all UX designers, product managers, and entrepreneurs, myself included, take part in.
In the same fashion that less is not always more, but it is effective as a design philosophy, the book does not argue for a completely UI-less future (there's a whole chapter on GUI's as a backup to NoUI), but the best possible outcome should be no interface.
Embrace typical <human> processes instead of screens.