Designing the User Interface

Amazons Beschreibung This fourth edition of ‚Designing the User Interface‘ provides a complete introduction to human-computer interaction (HCI). It covers theoretical foundations, and design processes such as expert reviews and usability testing. A major change in this edition is the integration of the World Wide Web and mobile devices throughout Weiterlesen…

The Humane Interface

Amazons Beschreibung Aptly subtitled „New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems“, The Humane Interface is essentially an introduction to a new school of the craft of semiotics. Although the author doesn’t use this specific term, The Human Interface, the book explores the intelligent design of efficient signs and symbols for the Weiterlesen…

Usability Engineering

Amazons Beschreibung

An authoritative text by one of the premier researchers in usability engineering in the 1990s, Jakob Nielsen’s Usability Engineering provides a landmark guide to software design that has helped bring this area of research into the mainstream of computing. „Usability“ is the measurement of how easy or difficult it is to be productive with a piece of software. It often looks at the user interface–what elements appear onscreen and how efficient, confusing, and/or intuitive they are for beginning, intermediate, and advanced users. „Usability engineering“ is the formal study of usability. It grew out of research on human factors, which looked at the way people interact with their environment.
The best thing about this book is its concise, cut-to-the-chase approach when defining usability and ways to measure and improve it. As the author notes, in the old days of computing, documents that attempted to define usability might have over 1,000 rules. The author offers just a handful of guiding principles for creating better software that apply even today. (Published just before the Internet revolution, this book’s principles still hold true for Web designers, as well as those who create more traditional applications.)
Throughout this text, the author argues for the benefits of improved software usability. With software use as with all things, time is money and making more efficient interfaces translates into lower personnel costs and more productivity. The book also does a fine job of integrating usability design into the software development process, with guides for planning, working with end users, and running tests with users (whether on videotape or in person). The 50-page bibliography attests to the author’s previous research on usability.
For anyone who needs to create better, more efficient software, Usability Engineering can help. This clear and intelligent guide to the science of usability engineering has helped enhance the potential of computers to work with end users more efficiently. In the new century, software developers will undoubtedly seek new advances in usability, in part because of the groundwork laid by books like this one.

Meine Meinung

Nielsen ist der Hardliner beim Thema Usability. Wenn es nach ihm ginge, dann wären Flash und CSS verboten. 🙂 Seine Ansichten sind Geschmacksache, seine Methoden sind gut.
Dieses Buch ist ein Muss für jeden, der sich mit Benutzbarkeit beschäftigen will.

Literaturverweis

Nielsen, J. (1996): „Usability Engineering“, San Diego / San Francisco / New York: Morgan Kaufman, Academic Press

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GUI Bloopers – Dont’s and Do’s

Amazons Beschreibung

In GUI Bloopers, consultant Jeff Johnson uses 550+ pages to illustrate common pitfalls in user interface design, the all-important iceberg tip that end users confuse with applications and that developers confuse with end users. Reporting on 82 incidents of bad design, Johnson manages to cover the essential point of his message: software designers should think of their user interfaces from the user’s point of view. Not profound, but profoundly overlooked in most low-end to mid-range development efforts. His codification of GUI design in eight predictable principles will help GUI newcomers realise that the customer must be pleased with the product. Of course, the customer doesn’t always understand what he or she wants. Hence, GUI development is iterative. When the customer is not at hand, a surrogate will do, so usability testing is essential.
The bloopers include mistakes in window design, labelling consistency, visual/grammatical parallel construction, coherence of look and feel, and clarity. Most perceptively, Johnson observes that CPU speed in the development group hides many design mistakes. Moreover, context-scoping, already a subtle problem in software design, must be implemented in GUI design. Input error handling is the most psychologically sensitive of all GUI design characteristics. User error messages can easily be too vague or too specific, and diagnostic error messages should be user manageable, if not actually user interpretable.
Like the Hollywood out-takes that gave us the „blooper“, the entertainment quotient here is measured in mistakes, not successes. Teaching by counter example rather than by example at an estimated ratio of 3:1, Johnson panders to our invertebrate instinct to measure our own successes by someone else’s failure. To his credit, he recognises that User Interfaces include pedestrian texts (like his) as well as graphical interfaces for computer applications. His self-referential style gives the book an egocentric slant, but he is both priest and practitioner: he submitted a draft to usability testers and reports the results in as an appendix. One criticism was of too many negative examples. Hmmm.
Thanks to other tester comments, GUI Bloopers is a browsable book, allowing the few nuggets of wisdom to be located. For the most part, the book’s value can be captured by reading the seven page table of contents carefully.

Meine Meinung

Ein richtiges Kochbuch für Interfacegerichte. Eine Sammlung von schlechten Beispielen und deren Verbesserung. Für unterschiedliche Lesergruppen (Programmierer, Manager, Gestalter, Nutzer) aufbereitet.
Ist einfach geschrieben. Für weit fortgeschrittene GUI Designer ist das Buch nur bedingt zu empfehlen, weil viele Beispiele meist auf dem Niveau von Usability Neulingen sind.

Literaturverweis

Johnson, J. (2000): „GUI Bloopers“, Morgan Kaufmann

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Envisioning Information

Amazons Beschreibung A remarkable range of examples for the idea of visual thinking, with beautifully printed pages. A real treat for all who reason and learn by means of images. Meine Meinung Ein sehr schönes über Informationsvisualisierung. Es gibt in diesem Buch keine Anweisungen, wie man am besten Informationen visualisiert. Weiterlesen…