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11

The book Communicating Design

Dan Brown has written a book about the art of communicating design. Here's an excerpt of the book description:

"...Dan Brown shows you how to make the documentation you're required to provide into the most efficient communications tool possible. He begins with an introductory section about deliverables and their place in the overall process, and then delves into to the different types of deliverables. From usability reports to project plans, content maps, flow charts, wireframes, site maps, and more, each chapter includes a contents checklist, presentation strategy, maintenance strategy, a description of the development process and the deliverable's impact on the project, and more."

At the time of writing this post, there is no sample chapter. But at Digital Web Magazine you'll find an excerpt from the chapter on competitive analyses.

Links:

  • The book at amazon.com Open link in new window
  • The book at amazon.co.uk Open link in new window
  • The companion website Open link in new window
  • An excerpt from the chapter on competitive analyses Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 18, 2006

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See also: Site and flow diagramming (6)  User research (23)  Personas (19)  Usability testing (68)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

12

Review of the book Designing for Interaction

Leo Frishberg from UXmatters has written a lengthy review of Dan Saffer's book Designing for Interaction.

To qoute:

"In fewer than 300 pages, he has attempted to cover the history, current practice, and notions about the future of the rapidly evolving discipline of interaction design (IxD)."

"Designing for Interaction succeeds as a quick survey of the landscape of IxD, suitable for familiarizing a project manager or an individual considering it as a career with the breadth of the practice. However, its broader discussions about design theory, product-development practices, and the like are less successful, because of their lack of attention to detail."

Frishberg concludes:

"All in all, the book is a substantial piece of work with an ambitious intent that Saffer delivers on well. I recommend it to those curious to learn more about the evolving discipline of interaction design."

Links:

  • Review of the book Open link in new window
  • Chapter 1 excerpt (PDF) Open link in new window
  • The book's companion website Open link in new window
  • The book at Amazon.com Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - September 11, 2006

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13

Eight usability problems that haven't changed since 1997

Webmonkey has published an excerpt from Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger's new book Prioritizing Web Usability.

In the excerpt, they discuss eight issues that continue to be critical to usable web design:
- Links that don't change color when visited
- Breaking the back button
- Opening new browser windows
- Pop-up windows
- Design elements that look like advertisements
- Violating Web-wide conventions
- Vaporous content and empty hype
- Dense content and unscannable text

Links:

  • Excerpt from the book Prioritizing Web Usability Open link in new window
  • The book at amazon.com Open link in new window
  • The book at amazon.co.uk Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 20, 2006 - via Usernomics

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Research (129)  Links (19)  Text (24) 


 

14

Review of the book Paper Prototyping

Pabini Gabriel-Petit has published a lengthy review of Carolyn Snyders book Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design.

Gabriel-Petit concludes:

"This is a valuable book on an important topic by an expert in usability. It demonstrates that paper prototyping is an effective technique that is useful in many contexts and provides a complete reference on how to use paper prototypes in usability studies."

Links:

Henrik Olsen - June 08, 2006 - via Putting People First

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See also: Usability testing (68)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

15

The book Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces

Being a strong advocate for prototyping, I'm a bit embarrassed that I haven't read Carolyn Snyder's book on paper prototyping until now. And I regret it. Her book has a lot to offer. If you are more into computer-based prototyping, you can still learn a lot from the renowned practitioner.

Carolyn assumes that if you want to build a prototype, it's because you want to test it with users. This has a strong influence on her workflow: Find test participants, create tasks, design the paper prototype, test it, refine it and test it again until you are confident that the design will work.

Something that fascinates me is that the book offers a ready-made step-by-step process for development teams to follow. Just add paper. The workflow seems to be a perfect companion for agile developments methods such as SCRUM.

On the negative side: Clients are almost absent in her book. And that's a pity, because prototypes are great for communicating with clients.

Links:

  • Companion web-site Open link in new window
  • The book at Amazon.com Open link in new window
  • The book at Amazon.co.uk Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - May 14, 2006

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See also: Usability testing (68)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

16

Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design

Jenifer Tidwell has published a book stuffed with interface design patterns. Each pattern contains practical design advice and examples from desktop applications, web sites, web applications and mobile devices. The idea behind the book is that there are lots of good ideas out there waiting to be reused.

Each chapter in the book explains key concepts in interaction design and visual design. The topics include:
- Information architecture for applications
- Navigation
- Page layout
- Maps, graphs, and tables
- Forms
- Graphic editors
- Color, typography, and look-and-feel

At the book's companion website you'll find excerpts of some the patterns in her book.

Links:

  • Companion web-site Open link in new window
  • Review of the book by Mario Georgiou Open link in new window
  • The book at Amazon.com Open link in new window
  • The book at Amazon.co.uk Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - April 05, 2006

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See also: Design patterns (8) 


 

17

Setting goals and measuring success for web sites

With this free e-book by Steve Jackson, editor of Conversion Chronicles, you can learn the basics of how to set up measurable goals for web site conversion, how to reach your goals through persuasive design and how to measure success with web site statistic tools.

You have to sign up for their newsletter to get the e-book (they are taking their own medicine and use the book to boost their newsletter conversion and prospect acquisition).

Links:

  • The e-book Learn before you spend Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 22, 2005

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See also: Online books (5)  Persuasive design (21)  Web traffic analysis (12) 


 

18

Eyetracking study of e-commerce sites

Eyetools Inc and MarketingSherpa have published the report "The Landing Page Handbook". The report describes the results of an eyetracking study of typical e-commerce sites and has design guidelines for improving web page layout.

Some highlights from the report:
- The upper-left corner is always seen
- Most web pages are scanned, not read
- Any text that is underlined or blue get high readership and many people will read only the emphasized text before deciding to read on
- Material underneath images is viewed quite often
- People experience such a strong pull to look at images that they can trump left-to-right reading
- Navigational links or bottoms usually distract visitors from the main purpose of the page

Links:

  • The article Are Your Visitors Seeing What You Think? Open link in new window
  • The book The Landing Page Handbook Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 03, 2005 - via UI Designer

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See also: Persuasive design (21)  E-commerce (27)  Landing pages (5)  Eye-tracking (14)  Research (129) 


 

19

Creating friendly forms

In this sample chapter from the book Defensive Design for the Web, Jason Fried and Matthew Linderman offer a set of illustrated guidelines on how to create attractive and functional forms:

- Highlight either required or optional fields
- Accept entries in all common formats
- Provide sample entries, pull-downs, and formatting hints to ensure clean data
- Explicitly state limits to characters, number of entries, and so forth
- If customers can't choose it, don't show it
- Validate entries (as soon as possible).
- Eliminate the Reset button and disable the Submit button after it's clicked
- Assist form dropouts by saving information

Links:

Henrik Olsen - October 04, 2004

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95)  Forms (30) 


 

20

Prototyping ends the war between clients and developers

In his online book, Client vs. Developers Wars, Eric Holter explains how time commonly wasted in miscommunication during web projects can be poured into actually improving sites by incorporating prototyping into the design process. He tells the woeful tale of conflicts and negative experience, which everybody involved in web development know all too well, and shows how the power of interaction design can change the dynamics of the web design process.

The book is free for download. A must read for interaction designers.

Links:

  • The online book Client vs. Developer Wars Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 19, 2004

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See also: Online books (5)  Prototyping and wireframing (119) 


 

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Methods and the design process

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