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Designing Interfaces 2nd Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
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ISBN-13: 978-1449379704
ISBN-10: 1449379702
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Patterns for Effective Interaction Design

About the Author

Jenifer Tidwell has been designing and building user interfaces for industry for more than a decade. She has been researching user interface patterns since 1997, and designing and building complex applications and web interfaces since 1991.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 578 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 2 edition (January 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449379702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449379704
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Clint Pachl on March 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
WHAT THIS BOOK *IS*:

This book is a complete overview of about 100 UI patterns. Each pattern is given 2-5 pages where the "What", "Use When", "Why", "How", and "Examples" are discussed and illustrated. The presentation is very elementary. For example, if you know when and why to use pagination, alphabet scrollers, toolbars, date pickers, progress indicators, local zooming, multi-selection trees, or sharing widgets (a new pattern in 2ndEd), you probably won't find much value in this book.

The physical quality of the book is excellent. You will most likely be disappointed if viewing this title on a B&W Kindle. Literally, half the book is loaded with full-color, real-life examples of every pattern. The paper pages are thick and heavy.

WHAT THIS BOOK *IS NOT*:

This book will not provide implementation details or overall design concepts (i.e. effectively combining patterns to achieve some targeted overall user experience).

I primarily purchased this book for Chapter 8, "Getting Input from Users: Forms and Controls." I'm currently in the process of redesigning our shopping cart and checkout forms and thought this book may provide some value in my research. As a web developer (front-end & back-end), I was disappointed. I found much more useful information on modern, standards compliance, UI design blogs.

WHY 4 STARS?

I believe the author accomplishes her goal of documenting, with several examples, every conceivable UI pattern in use today, thus the 4 stars. The book is great for the right audience. However, and I quote the author from her own References section, "If you're looking for more depth than this book can provide, the following list can offer some good starting points." She then lists 24 titles, several of which I own.
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Like many other readers have said, it is very thorough. The next time that you browse or design an interface, your background knowledge will be much better. I bought this book to get a better understanding of both user interfaces and user experience analysis, and it was a good investment.

Some suggestions for the third edition:

- The role of intuition in design. The author does indirectly address this when she talks about usability testing and the wide variety of choices in design, but I think something more formal would help. In Ellen Glasgow's introduction to her novel The Sheltered Life, she wrote that after learning all the techniques of writing, a writer should "then, having mastered, if possible, every rule of thumb, dismiss it into the labyrinth of the memory. Leave it there to make its own signals and flash its own warnings. The sensitive feeling, 'this is not right' or 'something ought to be different' will prove that these signals are working."

- Reserving space for dynamic advertising, which is much more prevalent than it was when the second edition was published (2010).

- More magnified views of the parts of examples that were used to make points. Some of these were hard to read.
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Strong introduction to web design UI patterns. I've been "in the business" for nearly a decade and was hoping the text would be more advanced than it is. Tidwell approaches the content with a well-thought out structure which I appreciate.

Criticisms: The examples are old now, which will be tough for a web UI book, which it ultimately frames itself to be.

Target audience: New UI / UX designers, students, or professionals who would benefit from having a structured system to explain concepts to management.

It would get a 4 if you're in the above target audience, and that's who really should be picking it up. It would get a 2 for an experienced professional. I was hoping for something more research-based that would expand on my existing toolbox, and unfortunately this isn't the book.

So, overall it comes out with a 3 from me.
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This book was a required text in one of my classes in an M.S. Program in Instructional Design and Technology at CA State University. It ended up being so good that I intend to keep it as a reference book for website design. I learned how to build websites on the lamb, so to speak, learning what I needed when it was needed, so to see how it is supposed to be done was eye-opening! And after reading this book, I notice all sorts of design components on the Web now that I never noticed before. And I am much clearer on what a good and bad design is now too. This book is VERY clear, which is necessary for this topic. It has screen shots which really help with the learning. It is really more of an interface design reference manual. If you are a web designer who taught yourself but feel like you are missing some crucial things, this book fills in the gaps. I loved this book's clarity and organization and I feel it is a good guide for sane design practices and is worthy of keeping on hand as a reference book. I highly recommend this book.
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If you're interested in UX at all, this is a great book to have. It's wonderful in two senses: You can read all of it briefly in a couple of hours to get the lay of the land, and then come back to really absorb the areas that particularly apply to what you're doing.

If you're going to have to work with clients on interface design, or have done so, you know that it can often turn into a holy war over where to put buttons and what colors to use. Everyone knows best in that situation, and no one knows why they do. This book presents a pattern language for describing why a button should be where it is or a color should be what it is, which allows you to use theory and logic against managers and customers who have no real idea why they like things they way that they do.
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