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Usability for the Web: Designing Web Sites that Work (Interactive Technologies) 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1558606586
ISBN-10: 1558606580
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Editorial Reviews


"It's an incredibly good read. It rattles along at a good rate, is packed full of good advice and I had the distinct impression that here was real web usability."
Xristine Faulkner, CISE, SBU.

From the Back Cover

Every stage in the design of a new web site is an opportunity to meet or miss deadlines and budgetary goals. Every stage is an opportunity to boost or undercut the site's usability.

This book tells you how to design usable web sites in a systematic process applicable to almost any business need. You get practical advice on managing the project and incorporating usability principles from the project's inception. This systematic usability process for web design has been developed by the authors and proven again and again in their own successful businesses.

A beacon in a sea of web design titles, this book treats web site usability as a preeminent, practical, and realizable business goal, not a buzzword or abstraction. The book is written for web designers and web project managers seeking a balance between usability goals and business concerns.


  • Examines the entire spectrum of usability issues, including architecture, navigation, graphical presentation, and page structure.
  • Explains clearly the steps relevant to incorporating usability into every stage of the web development process, from requirements to tasks analysis, prototyping and mockups, to user testing, revision, and even postlaunch evaluations.
  • Includes forms, checklists, and practical techniques that you can easily incorporate into your own projects.

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Product Details

  • Series: Interactive Technologies
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (October 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558606580
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558606586
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David E. Rogers on January 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is the book I wish I had when I started as an information architect.
That's not to say that Usability for the Web is a book about IA. Not at all. It is what it advertises--a book about making Web sites useful for its visitors.
But I've noticed something... In all of my engagements as an IA, my responsibilities routinely went beyond "just" information architecture into interface design and, yes, usability. I've not only been expected to organize and structure the information of a site, but to ensure that it is readily usable. My hunch is that this is true for most IAs. Most projects simply don't have the budget to support both an IA and a usability expert. Hence the IA is often expected to wear multiple fedoras. And that's why Usability for the Web would have been so helpful when I was a rookie.
I knew I would like the book almost from the outset. Under a large heading "Web Sites for People," the authors write
"Users need to be considered early and often. Usability needs to be a part of every step of the design process. Our approach is pervasive usability--integrating usability into everything we do. Our philosophy is that usability should not be an add-on, but that everyday processes should be modified to be user-centered."
Do I hear a hearty "Amen" from the congregation?
From there--in nearly 500 pages--the authors embark on a detailed exploration of the process of Web-design-cum-usability. Define the audience and platforms. Conduct user needs analysis. Complete task analyses. Create information architecture. All the way to post-launch usability evaluations. This is a complete survey and would make an ideal textbook.
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Format: Paperback
This is a serious book about a serious subject: usability. The authors practice what they call pervasive usability, where usability is factored into every stage of the Web site design process. This integrated approach to usability saves money by catching problems early in the design life cycle at a point where changes are much cheaper. This results in highly usable sites that are simple, consistent, aesthetically pleasing, and profitable.
This book is more than a usability guide. It is more a handbook for design teams. It has both great breadth and great depth, covering the gamut of usability-related topics like task analysis, information architecture, page layout, and web writing and gives useful details not found in similar books. That knowledge stems from the authors' extensive real world and academic experience as part of both Ann Arbor-based Diamond Bullet Design, and disciples of the University of Michigan's school of human-computer interaction. Throw in some cognitive psychology for good measure, and you've got a rare combination of skills.
The authors have done us a great favor. They've distilled their design process into this book, complete with checklists, optimal processes, and techniques that design teams can use to improve or rework their existing design processes. The authors say that only through a logical, reasoned, and structured process can truly excellent and usable sites be created.
The design process acts as the outline for their book:
* Requirements Analysis
* Conceptual Design
* Mockups & Prototypes
* Production
* Launch
Each stage is iterative, where time and budget allows. The book expands on each stage of the design process. Actual production is only a small portion of the overall site design process.
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Format: Paperback
This book contains a lot of usable usability practices that really works! You can get literally all the details of usability testing practices in this book, as well as how to run them. And good amount of pages are spent for user needs analysis and task analysis as the first steps explaining Web site engineering approach.
When reading this book, my first impression was that many worksheets, checklists and forms were included throughout this book:
- Client Interview/Web Site Information Worksheet
- Goals checklist
- Sample of Web survey
- Focus Group Preparation Worksheet
- Information Architecture Review Checklist
- Mockup Checklist (in Envisioning Design)
- Mockup Style Review Form (in Envisioning Design)
- Writing Guidelines Checklist (in Web page writing)
- Form for Brainstorming Icons
- Form for Testing Whether an Icon Is Recognizable
- Problem Report and Resolution Form (in Pre-Launch)
- Problem Summary Report (in Pre-Launch)
- Postproduction Checklist
- Web Site Final Approval Form
- Minimal Maintenance Checklist
- A Detailed, General-Purpose Checklist (for Inspection)
- User Testing Preparation Worksheet (for Evaluation)
- Typical Testing Script (for User Testing)
- Consent Form (for User Testing)
These materials are really helpful in conducting actual usability testing to get effective results. And many concepts are also categorized, organized, and explained in a lot of tables.
In engaging Web usability testing, the most important thing is to understand your audiences. This book contains very specific way of putting them into action using scenario approach.
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