Synopses & Reviews
Interfaces used to be simple. They had to be. Interface designers worked with a handful of limited controls: text fields, buttons, menus, tiny icons, modal dialogs. They designed for small screens, few colors, slow CPUs, and slow networks (that is, if the user was connected at all).
Today's designers work with a much bigger palette of components and ideas. You have a choice of many more user interface toolkits than before. But it's still not easy to design good interfaces. And the expectations are higher. You're being asked to design more highly interactive applications than ever before. You're challenged to construct functional interfaces so intuitive that users don't even need to think, and there's very little good design advice out there.
Designing Interfaces takes an overall look at web usability and offers advice on how to create apps that are as user-friendly as possible--whether they're delivered on the Web, a CD, or another smart device like a cell phone or car navigation system.
If you're looking for a beginner's guide, this book isn't for you. Designing Interfaces is for people who already know basic UI terminology and core UI design concepts such as focus, usability testing, and user feedback. Rather than presenting complete, step-by-step descriptions on how to design an interface, or walk you through an entire set of design decisions, the book catalogs well-known solutions to common UI design problems and then expresses them as a collection of patterns. These patterns are features that improve the habitability of something--a user interface, a web site, an object-oriented program, or even a building. Think of them a description of best practices within a givendesign domain.
But that's not to say that Designing Interfaces leaves you to fend for yourself. Each pattern contains concrete examples, recommendations, design alternatives, and warnings--so you understand exactly why these interfaces work as well as they do. Once you've mastered the concepts and learned to apply them, you'll leave mediocre interfaces far behind.
Designing a good interface isn't easy. Users demand software that is well-behaved, good-looking, and easy to use. Your clients or managers demand originality and a short time to market. Your UI technology -- web applications, desktop software, even mobile devices -- may give you the tools you need, but little guidance on how to use them well.
UI designers over the years have refined the art of interface design, evolving many best practices and reusable ideas. If you learn these, and understand why the best user interfaces work so well, you too can design engaging and usable interfaces with less guesswork and more confidence.
Designing Interfaces captures those best practices as design patterns -- solutions to common design problems, tailored to the situation at hand. Each pattern contains practical advice that you can put to use immediately, plus a variety of examples illustrated in full color. You'll get recommendations, design alternatives, and warningson when not to use them.
Each chapter's introduction describes key design concepts that are often misunderstood, such as affordances, visual hierarchy, navigational distance, and the use of color. These give you a deeper understanding of why the patterns work, and how to apply them with more insight.
A book can't design an interface for you -- no foolproof design process is given here -- but Designing Interfaces does give you concrete ideas that you can mix and recombine as you see fit. Experienced designers can use it as a sourcebook of ideas. Novice designers will find a roadmap to the world of interface and interaction design, with enough guidance to start using these patterns immediately.
UI designers over the years have refined the art of interface design, evolving many best practices and reusable ideas. "Designing Interfaces" captures those best practices as design patterns--solutions to common design problems, tailored to the situation at hand. Each pattern contains practical advice that can be put to use immediately. Full color.
Despite all of the UI toolkits available today, it's still not easy to design good application interfaces. This bestselling book is one of the few reliable sources to help you navigate through the maze of design options. By capturing UI best practices and reusable ideas as design patterns, Designing Interfaces provides solutions to common design problems that you can tailor to the situation at hand.
This updated edition includes patterns for mobile apps and social media, as well as web applications and desktop software. Each pattern contains full-color examples and practical design advice that you can use immediately. Experienced designers can use this guide as a sourcebook of ideas; novices will find a roadmap to the world of interface and interaction design.
- Design engaging and usable interfaces with more confidence and less guesswork
- Learn design concepts that are often misunderstood, such as affordances, visual hierarchy, navigational distance, and the use of color
- Get recommendations for specific UI patterns, including alternatives and warnings on when not to use them
- Mix and recombine UI ideas as you see fit
- Polish the look and feel of your interfaces with graphic design principles and patterns
"Anyone who's serious about designing interfaces should have this book on their shelf for reference. It's the most comprehensive cross-platform examination of common interface patterns anywhere." --Dan Saffer, author of Designing Gestural Interfaces (O'Reilly) and Designing for Interaction (New Riders)
About the Author
For more than a decade, Jenifer Tidwell has been designing and building user interfaces for a variety of industry verticals, often in the Java programming language. She has experience in designing both desktop and Web applications. As a user interface designer at The MathWorks, Jenifer was instrumental in a redesign of the charting and visualization UI of MATLAB, which is used by researchers, students, and engineers worldwide to develop cars, planes, proteins, and theories about the universe.
Table of Contents
Preface; SMALL INTERFACE PIECES, LOOSELY JOINED; ABOUT PATTERNS IN GENERAL; OTHER PATTERN COLLECTIONS; ABOUT THE PATTERNS IN THIS BOOK; AUDIENCE; HOW THIS BOOK IS ORGANIZED; COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS; ACKNOWLEDGMENTS; Chapter 1: What Users Do; 1.1 A MEANS TO AN END; 1.2 THE BASICS OF USER RESEARCH; 1.3 USERS' MOTIVATION TO LEARN; 1.4 THE PATTERNS; Chapter 2: Organizing the Content:Information Architecture and Application Structure; 2.1 THE BASICS OF INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE: DIVIDING STUFF UP; 2.2 PHYSICAL STRUCTURE; 2.3 THE PATTERNS; Chapter 3: Getting Around:Navigation, Signposts, and Wayfinding; 3.1 STAYING FOUND; 3.2 THE COST OF NAVIGATION; 3.3 THE PATTERNS; Chapter 4: Organizing the Page:Layout of Page Elements; 4.1 THE BASICS OF PAGE LAYOUT; 4.2 THE PATTERNS; Chapter 5: Doing Things:Actions and Commands; 5.1 PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES; 5.2 THE PATTERNS; Chapter 6: Showing Complex Data:Trees, Tables, and Other Information Graphics; 6.1 THE BASICS OF INFORMATION GRAPHICS; 6.2 THE PATTERNS; Chapter 7: Getting Input from Users:Forms and Controls; 7.1 THE BASICS OF FORM DESIGN; 7.2 CONTROL CHOICE; 7.3 THE PATTERNS; Chapter 8: Builders and Editors; 8.1 THE BASICS OF EDITOR DESIGN; 8.2 THE PATTERNS; Chapter 9: Making It Look Good:Visual Style and Aesthetics; 9.1 SAME CONTENT, DIFFERENT STYLES; 9.2 THE BASICS OF VISUAL DESIGN; 9.3 WHAT THIS MEANS FOR DESKTOP APPLICATIONS; 9.4 THE PATTERNS; Colophon;