Usability for the Web: Designing Web Sites that Work / Edition 1

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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 at

Audience: Web site designers and developers, web site project managers, usability specialists and information architects, user interface designers, and graphic designers.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
By now, virtually everyone at least pays lip service to usability. So why is web usability still so uneven? Because there are just too many opportunities to go astray. The solution: a coherent, end-to-end web design process that supports usability without overburdening the web professionals who must live with it.

There is such a process. It's called pervasive usability, and it's the subject of this book.

Thankfully, the authors of Usability for the Web are thoroughly grounded in the realities of contemporary web development. If multiple approaches to usability are relevant, they show how to choose the one that's easiest to implement, most cost-effective, and most likely to work.

You'll walk through clarifying your goals -- and understanding your users as they are (not how you wish they were). There's guidance on task analysis, information architecture, navigation, mockups and prototypes, production, launch, and usability evaluation. The book's also packed with tools: interview worksheets, mockup checklists, writer's guidelines, even tools for brainstorming icons and testing whether anyone understands them.

There's a side benefit of pervasive usability. Well, actually, it's a core benefit: it brings reason, clarity, and unity to your entire web project. (Bill Camarda)

Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer with nearly 20 years' experience in helping technology companies deploy and market advanced software, computing, and networking products and services. He served for nearly ten years as vice president of a New Jersey–based marketing company, where he supervised a wide range of graphics and web design projects. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks For Dummies®, Second Edition.

From the Publisher
"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 Critics
Specialists in web design, human-computer interaction, and cognitive modeling team up to explain a systematic procedure for designing user-centered sites. Their basic principle is that the design should be rational, based on a careful allocation of development resources, thoughtful decisions when making tradeoffs, and decisions based on actual data about users whenever possible. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558606586
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 10/29/2001
  • Series: Interactive Technologies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.23 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Tom Brinck is chief usability officer at Diamond Bullet Design, a firm specializing in web site design and usability consulting. Tom has M.S. degrees in computer science and cognitive psychology from Stanford University and the University of Michigan. He has done user interface research at Apple Computer, Toshiba, and Bellcore and is currently an adjunct faculty member at University of Michigan's School of Information.

Darren Gergle is a Ph.D. student in human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. Before beginning his graduate work, he was lead designer at Diamond Bullet Design.

Scott D. Wood is a senior scientist at Soar Technology, an R&D company focused on cognitive modeling, AI, and information visualization. He has more than ten years experience in software development, e-business consulting, cognitive modeling, and HCI. He holds a Ph.D. in computer science and engineering from the University of Michigan.

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Table of Contents

Pervasive Usability
Chapter 1. Usability throughout the Design Process
Chapter 2. Target Audience and Target Platforms
Chapter 3. User Needs Analysis
Conceptual Design
Chapter 4. Task Analysis
Chapter 5. Information Architecture
Mockups and Prototypes
Chapter 6. Page Layout
Chapter 7. Envisioning Design
Chapter 8. Writing for the Web
Chapter 9. Design Elements
Chapter 10. Usability in Software Development
Chapter 11. Pre-Launch and Post-Launch
Chapter 12. Usability Evalutation

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2001

    Usability is a process

    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. The process of design is usually about choosing tradeoffs that yield the best solution. Since most site design projects have a limited budget it's better to leave off some nonessential features than omit usability from your projects. Sites with poor usability inevitably fare worse than sites with good usability. By following the authors' recommendations your site can be one of the few that is highly usable. From

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