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The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web

4.2 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 075-2064712022
ISBN-10: 0735712026
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Editorial Reviews


"Finally, a concise explanation of User Experience that synthesizes its many disparate parts. Clear-headed, readable, and necessary." -- Louis Rosenfeld, Co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

"Finally, a concise explanation of User Experience that synthesizes its many disparate parts." -- Louis Rosenfeld, co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

"Garrett brings incisive clarity to the complex process of providing a high-quality experience to people who use your web site." -- Alan Cooper, Author of About Face and The Inmates Are Running the Asylum

"Garrett brings incisive clarity to the process of providing a high-quality experience to the people who use your web site." -- Alan Cooper, author of About Face and The Inmates are Running the Asylum

"Garrett has finally expanded his famous diagram into a book that clarifies the entire jumbled field of user experience design." -- Steve Krug, Author of Don't Make Me Think!

From the Author

I really love the web. I really hate bad web sites. One day I was sitting on the back patio of Carbon IQ with Jeff Veen, and mentioned both of these sentiments. I said, "Dang it, if people would just slow down and do a few blueprints before they made web sites, they'd all improve 200%. I mean, it doesn't take that much -- you just talk to some users, do a couple card sorts, and blooie! a better web site." And he said, "You should write a book." Well, it's a year later, and I have written a book. My brain is now sitting in your hands, between these covers. I still spend a lot of time online -- so far I found a career, a husband, a car, a publisher, and many tickets to exotic locales all online. I love the web -- it has the power to change people's lives. I still hate bad web sites though, and now I'd like to encourage you to read this book and go make some good ones. Please. I'll swing by when you're done.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders (October 21, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735712026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735712027
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Like many negative Amazon reviews, some detractors of this book seem to object to the fact that it is this book and not something else. In this case they may not be entirely unfair. If you are looking for advanced techniques in web design you won't find them in Garrett's book. If, however, you are looking for a good framework for thinking about design strategy--for your own thinking, for explaining things to clients, or for students--you will find this book indispensable. It is short, sweet, and straightforward. Whether that's good news of bad is something each reader will need to decide.
Some complain that The Elements of User Experience does not go deeply enough into a range of user experience issues. This may partially be the fault of the author and the publisher. The value of this book goes well beyond web projects and the "user experience" world. Much of it applies to a variety of design projects. If I were to make a major objection to the book it is not that it is too shallow but that it is conceived of as too narrow.
Much of the audience that would find this book to be an important breakthrough would never pick up a book that crams the word "User" into the title twice then gets in two buzz words and says "Web." I don't think this is one of the most important books about user experience or user-centered design. It is, however, a great basic book on design strategy. I hope disappointed people rating it poorly for not being the book they hoped for will not detract from this book finding the wider audience it richly deserves.
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Format: Paperback
How many times have you been involved in a Web site design effort that seems to fit this approach? Sadly, we all have such experiences in our lives. This delightful little book provides user experience designers a conceptual model for producing Web sites. This allows for a process that is rigorous, logical, and easily communicated.
Jesse James Garrett defines the term "user experience" as "...how (a) product behaves and is used in the real world." He focuses this book on consideration of one particular kind of product: Web sites.
In the Introduction, the author describes this book as
"...not a how-to book, ...not a book about technology, ...(and) not a book of answers. Instead, this book is about asking the right questions.
"This book will tell you what you need to know before you go read those other books. If you need the big picture, if you need to understand the context for the decisions that user experience practitioners make, this book is for you."
I agree wholeheartedly. The role that this book can play in developing your skill as a user experience practitioner is analogous to the role of ground school for a fledgling airplane pilot. Before a prospective pilot gets behind the controls, ground school teaches the principles of flight, aircraft systems, and other basics that need to be understood before actually taking off. Similarly, this book provides a way of understanding user experience that helps you make informed decisions as you begin and continue the design of a user experience.
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Format: Paperback
A great starting point for those interested in UX design. It lays down a clear overall picture of the field, well defining terms and "planes" falling within the "umbrella" of UX, but not always of immediate comprehension for the beginning "practitioner" (IE information architecture, interaction design, interface design, navigation design, ...). Author clearly states the scope and goal of each, also explaining relations between these and related concepts.

It can also be a useful resource for all those who're not solely focused in UX, but who'll need to share some content or "feature" with users. If you fall within this category, and are looking for a good introductory book on UX, this is probably the one you should pick.

I've read it after a few others on the subject, and not all of its content was new to me. Moreover you'll definitely need to back up its content with something else, if you're really serious about UX design. It's not a reference book. Experienced UX designers might hence even feel disappointed. It's quite shallow, and basic in content. Nevertheless, I consider it a great primer, with key concepts organized in such a way that it's easy for them to be recalled and also accessed as a quick reference. It also contains several valuable tips, which never hurt to be reminded about, no matter what's the amount of experience under your belt.

It kind of reminded me about "Don't make me think" by S. Krug, for certain aspects. Not a complete reference, but definitely clear, concise and to the point. It can be read in a short amount of time too, so that no big investment in terms of time is needed.

As a side note... "The Elements of User Experience: A Primer on User-Centered Design for the Web" might've been a more suitable title.
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