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The Art of Interactive Design
     

The Art of Interactive Design

3.6 3
by Chris Crawford
 

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An understanding of what makes things interactive is key to the successful creation of websites, computer games, and software. In The Art of Interactive Design, Chris Crawford explains what interactivity is, how it works, why it's important, and how to design good software and websites that are truly interactive. Crawford's colloquial, conversational style

Overview

An understanding of what makes things interactive is key to the successful creation of websites, computer games, and software. In The Art of Interactive Design, Chris Crawford explains what interactivity is, how it works, why it's important, and how to design good software and websites that are truly interactive. Crawford's colloquial, conversational style makes it easy to grasp the fundamentals and the theoretical underpinnings of interactivity, as he discusses specific social and artistic issues.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
What makes contemporary computers and the Web different from previous media? Interactivity. Why does so much of today’s computing and web experience stink? Lousy interactivity. And what can you do about it, as a software developer, designer, or web professional? For starters, read Chris Crawford’s provocative book The Art of Interactive Design.

Crawford’s been thinking about these issues for decades, first as a game designer (his classic The Art of Computer Game Design was first published in 1982). This book integrates his best thinking into a unified set of rules and guidelines for effective interactive design.

Effective interactive design, Crawford says, begins by defining the “verbs”: the actions you want users to be able to perform. (Should a word processor allow users to stain their printouts with virtual tears?) Amongst Crawford’s several other guidelines: Don’t let technology drive your design; create systems that “listen” as well as they “talk,” ruthlessly controlling response time; don’t set up unrealistic expectations your software can’t meet; and don’t describe problems -- offer solutions.

Crawford illuminates each principle with examples of how to do it right -- and wrong. He skewers bad interactive design wherever he finds it, which is almost everywhere. (His multiple-page attack on Adobe Acrobat would be right at home in a comedy club.) Some of the examples are a bit old, but it always helps to be reminded -- especially since the Web gives us all new opportunities to make old mistakes over again. Bill Camarda

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781886411845
Publisher:
No Starch Press San Francisco, CA
Publication date:
12/15/2002
Pages:
408
Product dimensions:
7.38(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Chris Crawford is the "grand old man" of computing game design. He sold his first computer game in 1978, joined Atari in 1979, and led Games Research there. During his time at Atari, he wrote the first edition of "The Art of Computer Game Design" (Osborne, 1984), which has now become a classic in the field. After Atari collapsed in 1984, Chris became a freelance computer game designer. All in all, Chris has 14 published computer games to his credit—all of which he designed and programmed himself. He founded, edited, and wrote most of "The Journal of Computer Game Design," the first periodical devoted to game design. He founded and led the Computer Game Developers' Conference (now the Game Developers' Conference) in its early years. Chris has lectured on game design at conferences and universities all over the world. For the last ten years, he has been developing technology for interactive storytelling.

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Art of Interactive Design 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
An amusing book. Perhaps Crawford's most striking suggestion is that a project should be headed by a designer who has an arts background and who is also able to program. To him, this is an ideal, which may take the field decades to achieve. I am dubious as to how necessary this is, in the first place. He claims that it is easier to find someone from the arts and have her learn the rudiments of programming, than vice versa. But in a specialised environment, like engineering, science or education, it may be better for her to hail from that field, so that she can better know what users might want. Granted, though, for a mass market audience, a more general background might be better. When it comes to specific suggestions regarding the design of a program, he has good ideas. Like using progress bars if a task takes longer than ten seconds. Or using first or second person active voice, rather than a third person passive. These do increase the interactivity. The book is somewhat verbose. He writes at length to illustrate his points. But a little brevity may have been possible, without losing any clarity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are lots of book on how to program or use this bit of software or another, but this book teaches fundemental problems that most authors do not even think about. Some of it seems common sense, until you notice how many websites and programs violate his points and suffer for it. Many of his arguments reason thru problems I have never seen considered in other books. He talks about language and procol design, metaphors for algorithms, adaptable anthopormorphization, ui design in programs, webpages and interactive fiction. However if you already own his 'Understanding Interactivity', (the earlier version of this book) I do not feel that there is enough difference to make buying this one worthwhile.