Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design

( 2 )

Overview

Designing a good interface isn't easy. Users demand software that is well-behaved, good-looking, and easy to use. Your clients or managers demand originality and a short time to market. Your UI technology — web applications, desktop software, even mobile devices — may give you the tools you need, but little guidance on how to use them well.

UI designers over the years have refined the art of interface design, evolving many best practices and reusable ideas. If you learn these, ...

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Designing Interfaces

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Overview

Designing a good interface isn't easy. Users demand software that is well-behaved, good-looking, and easy to use. Your clients or managers demand originality and a short time to market. Your UI technology — web applications, desktop software, even mobile devices — may give you the tools you need, but little guidance on how to use them well.

UI designers over the years have refined the art of interface design, evolving many best practices and reusable ideas. If you learn these, and understand why the best user interfaces work so well, you too can design engaging and usable interfaces with less guesswork and more confidence.

Designing Interfaces captures those best practices as design patterns — solutions to common design problems, tailored to the situation at hand. Each pattern contains practical advice that you can put to use immediately, plus a variety of examples illustrated in full color. You'll get recommendations, design alternatives, and warnings on when not to use them.

Each chapter's introduction describes key design concepts that are often misunderstood, such as affordances, visual hierarchy, navigational distance, and the use of color. These give you a deeper understanding of why the patterns work, and how to apply them with more insight.

A book can't design an interface for you — no foolproof design process is given here — but Designing Interfaces does give you concrete ideas that you can mix and recombine as you see fit. Experienced designers can use it as a sourcebook of ideas. Novice designers will find a roadmap to the world of interface and interaction design, with enough guidance to start using these patterns immediately.

UI designers over the years have refined the art of interface design, evolving many best practices and reusable ideas. "Designing Interfaces" captures those best practices as design patterns--solutions to common design problems, tailored to the situation at hand. Each pattern contains practical advice that can be put to use immediately. Full color.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
User interface tools have become richer, but designing intuitive software is still tough. (If you’re designing for cellphones, GPS systems, DVRs, or other new contraptions, it’s even tougher.) Designing Interfaces organizes today’s best wisdom into patterns you can use, learn from, riff on. Use it to build interfaces that meet your unique challenges -- and leverage your creativity -- even as they remain friendly and familiar.

Jenifer Tidwell begins with the patterns of user behavior that should drive your work. (Users want instant gratification, settle for “good enough,” sometimes change their minds...) Then, thoughtfully and systematically, she addresses information architecture; application structure; navigation and wayfinding; displaying complex data; supporting user commands, actions, and input; and a whole lot more. There’s even a chapter on making applications look great -- without sacrificing one iota of usability. Bill Camarda, from the January 2006 Read Only

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781449379704
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/15/2011
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 547
  • Sales rank: 386,291
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

For more than a decade, Jenifer Tidwell has been designing and building user interfaces for a variety of industry verticals, often in the Java programming language. She has experience in designing both desktop and Web applications. As a user interface designer at The MathWorks, Jenifer was instrumental in a redesign of the charting and visualization UI of MATLAB, which is used by researchers, students, and engineers worldwide to develop cars, planes, proteins, and theories about the universe.

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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: What Users Do
  • Chapter 2: Organizing the Content:Information Architecture and Application Structure
  • Chapter 3: Getting Around:Navigation, Signposts, and Wayfinding
  • Chapter 4: Organizing the Page:Layout of Page Elements
  • Chapter 5: Doing Things:Actions and Commands
  • Chapter 6: Showing Complex Data:Trees, Tables, and Other Information Graphics
  • Chapter 7: Getting Input from Users:Forms and Controls
  • Chapter 8: Builders and Editors
  • Chapter 9: Making It Look Good:Visual Style and Aesthetics
  • Colophon

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 7, 2011

    Not just how to make it pretty

    Anyone who reads the title Designing Interfaces and assumes that it is a book about graphic design and how to make pretty interfaces would be completely wrong. The last chapter is the only chapter that focuses on the visual aesthetics of an interface; all the other chapters cover various design patterns that aid in usability, and understanding of the user interface. The first chapter, for example, is devoted to users: how they are likely to interact with software and what expectations users may have, and what can be done to make the interface more intuitive. Other chapters deal with such topics as content organization, page layout, navigation, and data display. Each chapter is broken into two sections. The first section is the "big picture": the underlying ideas and reasons of the chapter, and - more importantly - why they are important. The next section consists of the design patterns. Each pattern is broken into five, usually short, sections: what, use when, why, how, examples, and other references for each pattern. Each pattern's description is short enough that you won't skip over any that you are already familiar with. Instead you will read through them and either feel good about using them already, or pick up new ideas on how to improve upon what you already have. The examples used are all modern, relevant, and do a great job at illustrating the pattern being discussed. Jenifer Tidwell does an excellent job explaining the solutions to many of the design issues that a lot of developers seem to implement poorly. From the graphic designers creating the overall look and feel, to the programmer creating a form to be submitted, I highly recommend reading this book to anyone who ever has to make a decision about how a user will interact with any portion of an application.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2006

    Interfaces need Design

    I've always been analytical about user interfaces, and human interfaces in general. Donald Norman's book 'The Design of Everyday Things' is an excellent read for how the things we operate with on a daily basis have unintuitive ways of operation. This book, 'Designing Interfaces', shows the pitfalls of navigation and user interaction on the computer environment. One of the major computer magazines (I believe it was PC World) used to have a regular section on renovating a user interface to make it more understandable. This book seems to be the logical follow-up to the ideas there. One caveat: the printing process used for this book was shoddy, with color diagrams printed with offsets that make them look blurry on the page. The content is valuable, but the way it's illustrated in the book sometimes makes it difficult to understand because of this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2006

    VERY VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

    Do you design user interfaces in any capacity? If you do, then this book is for you! Author Jenifer Tidwell, has done an outstanding job of writing a book that will help you design attractive, easy-to-use interfaces. Tidwell, begins by discussing common behavior and usage patterns supported well by good interfaces. Then, the author discusses information architecture as it applies to highly interactive interfaces. She continues by discussing navigation. Next, the author describes patterns for the layout and placement of page elements. Then she describes how to present actions and commands. She also discusses the cognitive aspects of data presentation, and how to use them to communicate knowledge and meaning. Then, she deals with forms and controls. The author continues by discussing techniques and patterns often used in WYSIWYG graphic editors and text editors. Finally, the author deals with aesthetics and fit-and-finish. This most excellent book will be a valuable resource for software developers, interaction designers, graphic designers, and everyone who creates software. Furthermore, you should use this dynamic book when you're looking for solutions!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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