The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web


Smart organizations recognize that Web design is more than just creating clean code and sharp graphics. A site that really works fulfills your strategic objectives while meeting the needs of your users. Even the best content and the most sophisticated technology won't help you balance those goals without a cohesive, consistent user experience to support it.

But creating the user experience can seem overwhelmingly complex. With so many issues involved-usability, brand identity, ...

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Smart organizations recognize that Web design is more than just creating clean code and sharp graphics. A site that really works fulfills your strategic objectives while meeting the needs of your users. Even the best content and the most sophisticated technology won't help you balance those goals without a cohesive, consistent user experience to support it.

But creating the user experience can seem overwhelmingly complex. With so many issues involved-usability, brand identity, information architecture, interaction design-it can seem as if the only way to build a successful site is to spend a fortune on specialists who understand all the details.

The Elements of User Experience cuts through the complexity of user-centered design for the Web with clear explanations and vivid illustrations that focus on ideas rather than tools or techniques. Jesse James Garrett gives readers the big picture of Web user experience development, from strategy and requirements to information architecture and visual design. This accessible introduction helps any Web development team, large or small, to create a successful user experience.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Nobody’s better at helping web professionals think about the “big picture” than Jesse James Garrett. In 2000, his one-page diagram, “The Elements of User Experience,” became a touchstone for web designers and information architects worldwide. Now he’s expanded that diagram into a wonderfully sensible guide to all five “planes” of user experience, from strategy to visual design.

Garrett begins by deconstructing the “neat, tidy experience” of buying a book online: an experience that “results from a whole set of decisions -- some small, some large -- about how the site looks, how it behaves, and what it allows you to do.” Decisions made on one plane influence and constrain other key decisions -- often in surprising ways. When the decisions on each layer don’t align with each other, you’ll miss your deadlines and budgets and wind up with a site users can’t stand.

Garrett shows how to create a clearly articulated strategy that informs all the decisions you make afterward, and how to translate user needs and site objectives into specific requirements for content and functionality. You’ll learn how to build on your requirements to develop a conceptual site structure -- and how to make that structure tangible through interface, navigation, and information design. Finally, you’ll learn how to build a visual design that supports all the goals and choices you’ve already made.

Whether you’re leading, participating in, or hiring a “user experience” team, spend an hour or two with this book. It’ll show you how to bring web design, navigation, information architecture, features, and strategy together -- seamlessly. 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735712027
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press
  • Publication date: 10/30/2002
  • Series: Voices That Matter Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 587,479
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 8.96 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Jesse James Garrett is one of the founders of Adaptive Path, a user experience consultancy based in San Francisco. Since it was first released in March 2000, his "Elements of User Experience" model has been downloaded more than 20,000 times. Jesse's Web experience includes projects for companies such as AT&T, Intel, Boeing, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, and National Public Radio. His other contributions to the field of user experience include the Visual Vocabulary, an open notation system for information architecture documentation that is now used by organizations around the world. His personal site at is one of the Web's most popular destinations for information architecture resources.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Ch. 1 User Experience and Why It Matters 6
Ch. 2 Meet the Elements 20
Ch. 3 The Strategy Plane: Site Objectives and User Needs 38
Ch. 4 The Scope Plane: Functional Specifications and Content Requirements 60
Ch. 5 The Structure Plane: Interaction Design and Information Architecture 84
Ch. 6 The Skeleton Plane: Interface Design, Navigation Design, and Information Design 112
Ch. 7 The Surface Plane: Visual Design 140
Ch. 8 The Elements Applied 160
Index 176
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2002

    A User Experience Designer's Delight

    There is a fundamental question that must be asked about Jesse James Garrett's book: why did he need to write it? Mr. Garrett's well known "User Experience" stacking diagram is already a very clear rendition of the complicated process of designing for a web user's experience, so why did he have to write a book to explain it? The answer is that vast numbers of people who should know about these processes don't. While JJG's stacking diagram may be familiar to Information Architects and other user experience designers, it is virtually unknown to the other 95% of the organization that is responsible for selling, marketing, building, and/or maintaining web sites. True to his words, Jesse James Garrett delivers a book that neither explains how to do anything, nor provides answers to technology questions about web sites. In fewer than 200 pages, Mr. Garrett does provide a whirlwind survey of the intricacies of interactive design for the web. Mr. Garrett begins by promising that the book will take only a few hours to read, and he's pretty close to the mark. As I would have expected, the book's design helps keep his promise. The pages are well laid out with plenty of whitespace and supporting diagrams nicely illustrating his points; his language is clear, concise and direct; his presentation not only supports (and is guided by) the stacking diagram, each point logically follows from the last. Within a few pages, it is very clear that Mr. Garrett did not write the book for practitioners already familiar with his three dimensional diagram. He is focused instead on those people who are not in the daily struggle of designing appropriate experiences for web site visitors. But that doesn't mean the book can't be used by well-heeled user experience designers. Practitioners will find the book an invaluable aid in their on-going evangelical efforts within their own organizations, or as part of their consultancies, as they explain the processes, methods and vocabulary of user experience design to those unfamiliar with this emerging discipline. For those individuals, the book provides a clear and straightforward introduction to the very complicated and intertwined issues of designing engaging experiences for the web, whether they are "content" or "application" driven. I, for one, will be recommending Mr. Garrett's book as a "must read" for everyone in my company.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Great Book for building from the ground....up!

    Building an outstanding site from scratch takes alot more than one would think. this book helps in every way...Definitely a great read and simple to comprehend.

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    Posted August 5, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

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