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Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions

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  • Posted February 9, 2010

    Great summation of current UI patterns in a well written and laid out manner. Definitely not dry reading.

    Designing Web interfaces by Bill Scott and Theresa Neil is a nice encapsulation on many of the current UI trends for web applications. While the desktop area was dominated years ago with industry standards, and are only now taking on a new revolution with disconnected web products like Adobe Air or new UI frameworks like WPF, the web is still in its infancy regarding UI design. Especially now with AJAX it seems like every year brings on a new set of standards of how UI is supposed to work on the web. This book discusses a very current set of established patterns in a well written and clear format.

    While there are several books that speak of web UI and interaction, and thousands of websites, what Scott and Theresa really do well is talk about what patters are in current use, when they are appropriate and many cases where they might not be. They break them down into very manageable sections where you can quickly spot the patter that will work for you. Unlike other patterns books this is filled with hundreds of screenshots detailing every aspect and a lot of great examples. This is not dry reading.

    They both draw from their past experience, often showing examples of what worked and what didn't in previous commercial sites they have worked on (like Yahoo), and comment about how things might have been implemented better. They show the various UI patterns in great detail with screenshots and many of the transitions. Often they point out popular websites where a fairly good pattern was implemented for the sheer "coolness" of it, however, in production it simply didn't work and they should have opted for a more subtle pattern. In other cases they point out where changing from one design to another, avoiding a single click such as in Digg, resulted in doubling their user interaction.

    This was a great addition to my bookshelf and definitely something I will refer to often.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2009

    Reading for a Programmer?

    With web interfaces using AJAX, Flash and Silverlight more and more, not only would designers would find this book useful, but also developers. The book is first-rate book, filled with examples from everyone from Yahoo, Google, Netflix, Apple and even Xbox. The examples in the book show just how much the web user's interfaces have changed in the last few years. Anyone designing or writing code to implement user interfaces will find the book helpful.

    Coming from more of a programmer's background than designer, I found the book helpful in understand where particular patterns would work better than others. I see other readers recommending the book for art directors, project managers, web designers and interactive designers, but I would also include programmers, who want to understand why certain interfaces are used. This book has no code and is not the place to see how to implement the interfaces, but programmer will understand why a specific design might be used.

    If the developer was looking for a book on how to code the design, then look somewhere else. If a developer wanted a better understanding of the ideas behind web interfaces, this would be a superb book.

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