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User Interface Design for Mere Mortals takes the mystery out of designing effective interfaces for both desktop and web applications. It is recommended reading for anyone who wants to provide users of their software with interfaces that are intuitive and easy-to-use. The key to any successful application lies in providing an interface users not only enjoy interacting with but which also saves time, eliminates frustration, and gets the job done with a minimum of effort. Readers will discover the secrets of good ...
User Interface Design for Mere Mortals takes the mystery out of designing effective interfaces for both desktop and web applications. It is recommended reading for anyone who wants to provide users of their software with interfaces that are intuitive and easy-to-use. The key to any successful application lies in providing an interface users not only enjoy interacting with but which also saves time, eliminates frustration, and gets the job done with a minimum of effort. Readers will discover the secrets of good interface design by learning how users behave and the expectations that users have of different types of interfaces.
Anyone who reads User Interface Design for Mere Mortals will benefit from
• Gaining an appreciation of the differences in the “look and feel” of interfaces for a variety of systems and platforms
• Learning how to go about designing and creating the most appropriate interface for the application or website being developed
• Becoming familiar with all the different components that make up an interface and the important role that each of those components plays in communicating with users
• Understanding the business benefits that flow from good interface design such as significantly reduced support costs
• Gaining invaluable insights into how users behave, including the seven stages of human interaction with computers
• Working through case study based, in-depth analysis of each of the stages involved in designing a user interface
• Acquiring practical knowledge about the similarities and differences between designing websites and traditional desktop applications
• Learning how to define, conduct, and analyze usability testing
Through the use of the proven For Mere Mortals format, User Interface Design for Mere Mortals succeeds in parting the veil of mystery surrounding effective user interface design. Whatever your background, the For Mere Mortals format makes the information easily accessible and usable.
CHAPTER 1 Brief Histories
CHAPTER 2 Concepts and Issues
CHAPTER 3 Making the Business Case
CHAPTER 4 Good Design
CHAPTER 5 How User Behave
CHAPTER 6 Analyzing Your Users
CHAPTER 7 Designing a User Interface
CHAPTER 8 Designing a Web Site
CHAPTER 9 Usability
APPENDIX A Answers to Review Questions
APPENDIX B Recommended Reading
The growth of personal computing in the past two decades of the 20th century put a new emphasis on user interface design. As part of user interface design, companies began to focus on the usability of a product. The term usability has its roots in the 14th century, but as computing technology became prevalent in the 1980s, the definition of usability changed toward not only making something functional and usable, but also maximizing the entire user experience with a product.
Despite the power of good user interface and usability design, you have to convince managers that usability testing is vital to the success of the company now and in the future. It's important for you to understand how managers, marketers, and users think so you can craft a proposal that will win enthusiastic support for implementing usability testing in the company for which you work.
Therefore, it's important for anyone involved in usability testing, regardless of title, to have the business acumen to create the short-term return on investment (ROI) goals while creating the framework for long-term returns.Who Should Read This Book
You don't need a previous background in user interface design to read this book. If you're just getting into user interface design and you're thinking about developing your own user interface, this book is a good starting point for you. It's much more advantageous for you to learn about user interface design from the beginning than to learn about it from your customers when they're unhappy with your product.
If you have been working in product or documentation development and you're readyto work on a new project, you should read this book. You probably have a feel for what your customers like, but you're not sure how to maximize the usability of your product for your customers. Or perhaps you're charged with creating documentation or training and you need to know what your customers expect not only from the product, but also from the information contained in the documentation or training modules. If this sounds like you, this is a book you should read.
This book is also appropriate if you have experience in the usability and user interface design fields. Although you may already know one or more of the theories and practices contained in this book, it can serve as a refresher. You will likely find nuggets of information you hadn't considered before as well as new ideas that you can apply to your product design and beyond.The Purpose of This Book
This book is a primer that puts together the leading practices and ideas about user interface design and usability design and testing into a "big picture" view of how people can and should design and implement user interfaces that your customers will enjoy.
The book begins with grounding in user interfaces so you understand how we got from the beginnings of user interface design to where we are today. Then the book delves into designing user interfaces and usability testing for a product; that product can be a hardware product such as a printer, a software interface, or a Web site.
After you read this book, you will know the basics of the user interface design and usability design and testing fields. This book is only the beginning of your journey into usability and user interface design. If you want to dive in and indulge yourself in one or more of the theories and practices discussed in this book, be sure to read the books listed in Appendix B, "Recommended Reading."How to Read This Book
I strongly recommend that you read this book in sequence from beginning to end. By doing so, you will keep everything in context, and you will see the big picture that is the user interface design process.
If you are reading this book to refresh your memory about certain topics, you could read just those chapters that are of interest to you. Each chapter is designed to stand on its own as much as possible.How This Book Is Organized
Here's a brief overview of what you'll find in each chapter.
Chapter 1, "Brief Histories," gives you an overview of the history of graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and Web design as well as the differences in look and feel between different GUIs.
Chapter 2, "Concepts and Issues," covers computing terms, user interface models, usability and user analysis terms and trends, and accessibility issues.
Chapter 3, "Making the Business Case," covers making the case for profitability and understanding what your stakeholders want so you can make that case.
Chapter 4, "Good Design," covers good user design goals, the constraints faced by users and designers, and how to use paper prototyping and storyboarding to quickly test and work out design problems. This chapter also covers good documentation design, because documentation is the first line of customer support for your product.
Chapter 5, "How Users Behave," covers the psychology of user actions, how people bring their knowledge to a task, and how they create a conceptual model of the world.
Chapter 6, "Analyzing Your Users," covers the user's mental model and where users fit on a usability bell curve so you can understand their goals and tasks.
Chapter 7, "Designing a User Interface," discusses the creation of a persona-based interaction framework that will help you identify who your users are and what they want from your user interface.
Chapter 8, "Designing a Web Site," explains the differences between an application designed for the Web and a GUI application, discusses design myths surrounding the Web, and provides Web design standards and rules.
Chapter 9, "Usability," covers usability test design and the testing process itself so you can get valuable feedback from your users about your interface.
Appendix A, "Answers to Review Questions," contains the answers to all the review questions in Chapters 1 through 9.
Appendix B, "Recommended Reading," provides a list of books that you should read if you are interested in pursuing an in-depth study of user interface and usability design.
Glossary contains concise definitions of various words and phrases used throughout the book.
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About the Author xix
CHAPTER 1 Brief Histories 1
CHAPTER 2 Concepts and Issues 17
CHAPTER 3 Making the Business Case 59
CHAPTER 4 Good Design 85
CHAPTER 5 How User Behave 113
CHAPTER 6 Analyzing Your Users 135
CHAPER 7 Designing a User Interface 163
CHAPTER 8 Designing a Web Site 197
CHAPTER 9 Usability 225
APPENDIX A Answers to Review Questions 253
APPENDIX B Recommended Reading 265