- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (December 5, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0133033899
- ISBN-13: 978-0133033892
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #849,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication Oriented Techniques 1st Edition
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An excellent introduction to the design theories involved in the creation of user interfaces. Instead of the usual examples and pictures of computer screens and application menus, Mullet approaches the concept of UI from its "outside world" roots. With examples ranging from street signs to corporate logos to the map of the London Underground, each section attacks the issues of interface design from the ground up, appealing first to the eye and then to the mind. Task menus are compared with concert programs and street signs are equated with icons.
This is not a technical book, so advanced developers might want to supplement it with a platform-specific how-to. For aesthetic advice and sheer enjoyment, anyone involved with or interested in interface design should pick it up.
From the Publisher
Ironically, many designers of graphical user interfaces are not always aware of the fundamental techniques that are applied to communication-oriented visual design -- techniques that can be used to enhance the visual quality of GUIs, data displays, and multimedia documents. This book describes some of the most important design rules and techniques that are drawn from the rational, functionalist design aesthetic seen in modern graphic design, industrial design, interior design, and architecture -- and applies them to various graphical user interface problems experienced in commercial software development.
Top customer reviews
"Designing visual interfaces" provides an introduction to visual design that is very accessible to engineer types (like myself). Although people's reactions to various designs are "touchy-feely", the process to creating a good design is surprisingly scientific. You don't have to be an especially creative type of person to avoid the common pitfalls.
The book covers two or three related aspects of design in each chapter (such as Scale, Contrast, and Proportion). The first section of each chapter describes the principal variables that control those aspects. The simplest possible examples are presented first, typically black and white line drawings, then examples from industrial design and finally some examples from actual user interfaces. Then a "common errors" section shows examples of graphical user interfaces where these aspects of design are out of balance. Finally a "techniques" section gives handbook/cookbook approaches to avoiding the common errors. This section includes before and after screenshots.
The presentation is wonderfully uniform and consistent. Rather than using contrived examples, the authors have found real-life examples (many of which you will recognize) for all of the common errors.
This book does not cover how to map a problem domain to a user interface. It is assumed that you already understand the problem domain. It is not a style book for a particular operating system (the authors advocate using the vendor's guidebooks). What the book does is provide an introduction to basic design principals and set of procedures that you can follow to avoid the common pitfalls. Creative endeavors can take an undeterminable amount of time to achieve a desired reaction, but if you follow the author's procedures, which will take a consistent amount of time and effort, you will at least have done due-dilligence and have a professional looking product whose looks are guaranteed not to be a turn-off.
Classic examples like the London subway maps and the National Park Service brochures are illustrated, along with excellent explanations of the design principles that make these particular design so successful.
The aurthors then go on to show how these examples can be applied to GUI design. And they are very gutsy as they show actual examples from actual software products that are "design failures". In fairness, they also show examples of well designed software, with explanations of why the design works so well.
This book is for a person who's willing to invest some time to learn about things like information hierarchies and information design. Like playing a piano, this isn't something one can master over night, but also like playing a piano, it has its own vast rewards.
Having said that and you still make it to this book. You get an excellent treatment of the graphic aspects of design in general and at many places with special applications to GUIs. Examples are posters, maps, public transportation information, different GUIs including the NextStep. If you like Piet Mondrian, the Bauhaus ... then you enjoy the positive examples a lot. The book gives some theoretical background and tries to help build our taste by showing good and bad solutions to design problems.
The pictures are well reproduced (mostly black and white) and of good quality. The cover of the book is somewhat horrid (on line order saved me here from not buying it). Also it is extremely soft cover - way too soft for such a valuable book.
It turned out to be one of the most well written and interesting books on user interfaces I have read ever. The examples were great, very well chosen. I believe the physical elegancy of the book really got you into the right mood to start thinking about sleek interfaces and design issues in general.
Unfortunately, this is not that book. This is a terrible edition of what should be considered a must-have. I would recommend the older edition to absolutely everyone who needed to learn the basics of elegant UI design. But this edition? I would have never purchased it if I had known it was so poor.
Note: I have seen an edition bearin this same cover (green and yellow) but of the exact quality as the "black" version, but it isn't this one.
Try to get the older editions from a library or buy used. The graphics are so poor it basically isn't worth it.
Most recent customer reviews
It is simple, clear and goes right to the point.
It helps understanding the essence of good design, reaching simplicity and...Read more