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Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321703545
ISBN-10: 0321703545
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Product Details

  • Series: Voices That Matter
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (September 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321703545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321703545
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tyler Tate on September 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
We've all been frustrated by a gadget, from trying to install a printer to spending hours setting up a new mobile phone. Page one of Simple and Usable points out that: "[The] Technology that is supposed to make our lives easier often feels like it's on the march against us." What then is the antidote to confusing products, software, and web sites? The answer is--as one might guess from the title of the book--simplicity.

Simple and Usable is both an extremely approachable and an incredibly practical guide to simplicity. Author Giles Colborne compelling shares four fundamental strategies for accomplishing simplicity: remove, organize, hide, and displace.

First, figure out the most important tasks of mainstream users, and make those tasks really easy to accomplish. Then, kill all the features that aren't core. From limiting choice, to eliminating distraction, to using smart defaults, Giles offers many tangible tactics for reducing complexity.

But just throwing something out isn't the only way to simplify. Effective organization can make an interface feel simpler to use. "There are plenty of options open to you in organizing an interface--size, color, position, shape, hierarchy." Giles explains that organizing for simplicity involves emphasizing just one or two important elements. He shares useful techniques for achieving organization such as chunking, hard edges, grids, and layering.

For those features that can't be eliminated but that are used only rarely, Giles recommends a third strategy: hiding. "Often a feature has a few core controls for mainstreamers and extended, precision controls for experts," he says. "Hiding the precision controls is a good way to keep things simple.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am impressed with this book on several counts.
1. The content combines succinct mini-chapters with gorgeous and complementary images.
2. The quality of the paper stock, the book's information design, and the overall package is top notch.
3. I learned a couple new things despite having been around the profession for a while.
4. The focus is not on one particular type of product.

I don't think the book is all things to all people and I suspect it was not meant to be. A seasoned UX professional may not learn a lot from it, but this is a good book for students and for business people who might need an introduction to good user experience research and design principles. For the experienced UX person, I think the book could be a good review of some key precepts that sometimes might seem distant in the day-to-day rush of getting things done.

I do wish there were footnotes to the interesting research studies the author sometimes refers to in the chapters. The more we UX pros back up our assertions with proper research, the more we will be taken seriously by our employers and clients. Perhaps a bibliography on the simpleandusable.com website would be a good adjunct to the book?
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Must read for user experience professionals or anyone that builds/designs/codes web sites or apps. Sometimes we get lost in the weeds and this book helps lift us out and reminds us to keep it simple. The author keeps it simple for an enjoyable and quick read. I'm encouraging everyone I work with to read this book.
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I read through this book in a 1.5-2 hour sitting. I found it to be a very useful and enjoyable read. I think the simplicity is conveyed, well, very simply. The design exercises and case-studies are valuable, and the information is very straightforward. I like the part about user stories for user-centered design processes.

If you're looking for a good read to improve your design capabilities, I definitely suggest picking this up. It's enjoyable and will sit on your shelf as a book that proved useful. Who knows you may even turn back to it a couple times...
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In the past year, I've spoken to many UX professionals who are experiencing difficulty adapting to a Lean Agile work environment. This book provides a great foundation to anyone in the UX field making that transition. Giles Colborne provides the theory and thought process on how to approach your work. Though he does not mention Agile in the book, the layout of the book and the process fit very smoothly within Lean Agile. Even as an experience UX professional, the book supported many of the theories I utilize as well as giving me practical advice that I can apply to my projects. Though the book may not be a break through revelation for those that are more experienced, it will remind you of why you make the decisions you make and provide additional information when you need to back up your designs. For a new practitioner, this book should be a part of your library and should provide a solid foundation for your work.
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Format: Paperback
There is a short list of books that I recommend when asked "What book should I read in order to understand what you do?" This is it! I already own two copies. It's so intelligently broken down that it's very quotable. The only thing that would make it better would be quick reference tabs but that would ruin the aesthetic.
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