Search Patterns: Design for Discovery 1st Edition
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--Irene Au, Director of User Experience, Google
"I love this book! Thanks to Peter and Jeffery, I now know that search (yes, boring old yucky who cares search) is one of the coolest ways around of looking at the world."
--Dan Roam, author, The Back of the Napkin (Portfolio Hardcover)
"Search Patterns is a playful guide to the practical concerns of search interface design. It contains a bonanza of screenshots and illustrations that capture the best of today's design practices and presents a fresh perspective on the broader role of search and discovery."
--Marti Hearst, Professor, UC Berkeley and author, Search User Interfaces (Cambridge University Press)
"It's not often I come across a book that asks profound questions about a fundamental human activity, and then proceeds to answer those questions with practical observations and suggestions. Search Patterns is an expedition into the heart of the web and human cognition, and for me it was a delightful journey that delivered scores of insights."
--Dave Gray, Founder and Chairman, XPLANE
"Search is swiftly transforming everything we know, yet people don't understand how mavens design search: by stacking breadcrumbs, scenting widgets, and keeping eyeballs on the engine. I urge you to put your eyeballs on this unique and important book."
--Bruce Sterling, Writer, Futurist, and Co-Founder, The Electronic Frontier Foundation
"As one who searches a lot (and often ends up frustrated), Search Patterns is a revelation."
--Nigel Holmes, Designer, Theorist, and Principal, Explanation Graphics
"Search Patterns is a fabulous must-have book! Inside, you'll learn the whys and wheres of practically every modern search design trick and technique."
--Jared Spool, CEO and Founder, User Interface Engineering
About the Author
Peter Morville is president of Semantic Studios, an information architecture, user experience, and findability consultancy. Since 1994, he has advised such clients as AT&T, Harvard, IBM, the Library of Congress, Microsoft, the National Cancer Institute, Vodafone, and the Weather Channel. Peter is best known as a founding father of information architecture, having co-authored the field's best-selling book, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. Peter has served on the faculty at the University of Michigan's School of Information and on the advisory board of the Information Architecture Institute. He delivers keynotes and seminars at international events, and his work has been featured in major publications including Business Week, The Economist, Fortune, and The Wall Street Journal. You can contact Peter Morville by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also find him online at semanticstudios.com, findability.org, and searchpatterns.org.
Jeff Callender is vice president and design director of Q LTD, a strategic design consultancy with a global reach. Jeff is focused on bringing clarity to everyday graphic communications that promote positive user experiences. His wide body of work includes design for brand identity, user interface, print collateral, packaging, tradeshow, and exhibit graphics for a variety of clients including AT&T, Converse, Dow, NuStep, Jensen, ProQuest, and SIGGRAPH. Jeff has taught graphic design at the University of Michigan and lectured at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the SIGGRAPH Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques.
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The cartoon on the first page says
"This book is about the design of user interface for search and discovery, it covers all the bases from precision recall.......". From the title it looks like the book would cover practices and principles used in this design, but it doesn't. It just beat around the bush by using vague rhetoric all over the place such as this sentence
"in fact, we move fluidly between modes of ask, browse, filter and search without noting the shift..." or
"as designers we must expand our vision beyond finding to incorporate learning, and we can't stop there." No where does the author says how to do that expansion.
The book is full of such quotes and sentences that I would assume anyone interested in search would anyway know. The rhetoric by itself is not a problem; the problem is that the author stops with those rhetoric statements without saying anything meaningful.
What am I suppose to make out of this sentence
"Search is not just about find-ability. We search to learn , understand, share and act. As designers, when we focus on goals, the challenge becomes exhilarating (and scary), because the end of search is a moving target." - Makes sense to me but what do you expect me to do with this statement?
The author completely failed to mention in the book how the rhetoric connects to search patterns and that's what makes this book non-valuable.
Search is becoming a universal solvent in software and media - it has transformed publishing and advertising and is poised to transform business intelligence, enterprise content management, data integration ... and when combined with augmented realities, geolocation and social networks will change how we live with each other. It is a big topic.
There are many things to like about this book: it is visually strong and makes good use of illustrations to bring abstract concepts to life; it covers the basics well; it reinforces the importance of context in search and computing generally (we have to think of context as a first-order object); it expands ones conception or search, search interfaces and the search experience.
I do have a couple of caveats - I agree with another reviewer that this is patterns lite, so lite that I question whether these deserve the name patterms. It does not meet the standards for clear thinking and presentation set in the Gang of Four book. This is not a problem unique to this book, over the past few years there have been many books that play loose with the pattern meme. I would also have appreciated a deeper dive on the emerging role of semantics in search. The best example of this is the role that GoodRelations is playing is searching and finding products on eCommerce sites. I suspect that open and evolving ontologies like Good Relaitons will transform search over the next decade.
However, this book desperately needed a production editor.
It is hard to find a "figure" that occurs on the page (or facing page) that makes reference to it and there are 27 figures in Chapter 1, 21 figures in Chapter 2, 39 figures in Chapter 3, 68 figures in Chapter 4, 32 figures in Chapter 5, and 11 figures in Chapter 6. (If you are keeping count, that is 198 figures.) It isn't all that hard to decide which figure is being discussed but a small amount of attention to detail would make the book much more readable.
The authors also omit the URLs of the web pages, which make up most of the figures, which is ok for Amazon and Google, but for lesser known websites its annoying.
With the usual size of an O'Reilly book the web pages are often too small to make out the point the text is trying to convey. Either use fewer - larger images or add some bulk to the book. Annotating the images, which is done in a few cases, would be helpful as well.
References to the professional research literature that has explored some of the issues the authors raise would be useful as well.
I would use this book, supplemented with the missing research literature, for a class on searching or information retrieval in general.