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

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

by Jesse James Garrett


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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.

Product Details

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

About 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.

Table of Contents


1. User Experience and Why It Matters.

Everyday Miseries. Introducing User Experience. User Experience and the Web. Competitive Advantage and ROI. Minding Your Users.

2. Meet the Elements.

The Five Planes. Building from Bottom to Top. A Basic Duality. The Elements of User Experience. Using the Elements.

3. The Strategy Plane: Site Objectives and User Needs.

Defining the Strategy. Site Objectives. User Needs. Team Roles and Process. Further Reading.

4. The Scope Plane: Functional Specifications and Content Requirements.

Defining the Scope. Functionality and Content. Gathering Requirements. Functional Specifications. Content Requirements. Prioritizing Requirements. Further Reading.

5. The Structure Plane: Interaction Design and Information Architecture.

Defining the Structure. Interaction Design. Information Architecture. Team Roles and Process. Further Reading.

6. The Skeleton Plane: Interface Design, Navigation Design, and Information Design.

Defining the Skeleton. Convention and Metaphor. Interface Design. Navigation Design. Information Design. Wireframes. Further Reading.

7. The Surface Plane: Visual Design.

Defining the Surface. Follow the Eye. Contrast and Uniformity. Internal and External Consistency. Color Palettes and Typography. Design Comps and Style Guides. Further Reading.

8. The Elements Applied.

An Example: Search Engine Implementation. Asking the Right Questions. The Marathon and the Sprint.


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The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
RuthFirst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
gives a clear overview of the whole process of making a web site with the user in mind. the five stages of the process: strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surfacean excellent diagram to visualize the content
jpsnow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's rare to find a design or technology book so simply written. This book would be as useful to a developer or executive as it would to a designer. It made me think differently about some of the projects I was involved with over the past 10 years.
lukeasrodgers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A classic. Necessary reading for anyone who works on the web. Some of the recommendations may not be for everyone (a style guide can often be a hindrance rather than a help; the separation of the planes of user experience may lead to an overly waterfall-ish design/development process), and author Jesse James Garrett could have gone into greater detail in some places, but overall it's a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
skr34m3r More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago