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About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design Paperback – 15 May 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 648 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 3Rev Ed edition (15 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470084111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470084113
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 3.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 245,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

When the first edition of About Face was published in 1995, the idea of designing products based on human goals was a revolutionary concept. Thanks to the work of Alan Cooper and other pioneers, interaction design is now widely recognized as a unique and vital discipline, but our work is far from finished. This completely updated volume presents the effective and practical tools you need to design great desktop applications, Web 2.0 sites, and mobile devices. This book will teach you the principles of good product behavior and introduce you to Cooper′s Goal–Directed Design method, from conducting user research to defining your product using personas and scenarios. In short, About Face 3 will show you how to design the best possible digital products and services.

About the Author

For over 30 years Alan Cooper has been a pioneer of the modern computing era. His groundbreaking work in software design and construction has influenced a generation of programmers and business people—and helped a generation of users. He is best known as the "Father of Visual Basic," inventor of personas, and founder of Cooper, the leading design consultancy. As Director of Design R&D at Cooper, Robert Reimann led dozens of design projects and helped develop many of the methods described in About Face 3. Currently, he is Manager of User Experience at Bose Corporation and President of IxDA, the Interaction Design Association. David Cronin is Director of Interaction Design at Cooper, where he′s led the design of products for such diverse users as surgeons, museum visitors, online shoppers, automobile drivers, financial analysts, and the elderly.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Mcgee on 10 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Deeply relevant and very influential: if you're a software developer, you owe it to your users to buy this book.

The book is organised into three distinct parts, each of which has a rather different tone. The first part is an introduction to "personas" and their goals. Much emphasis is placed on detailed research such as interviews with sample users, which is a fine luxury if you have the resources and time! However, even developers working in smaller teams will find the general principles useful.

The second part is concerned with the overall approach that an application should take. It discusses "posture": whether an application should be "full-screen" and sovereign or an infrequently used utility, and how this changes the top-level design.

This second part includes my favourite chapter, "Eliminating Excise", which is really pretty funny - it points out why we find prompts from Word annoying and why Motorola phones are just plain frustrating. However, the advice to fix these frustrations might be a bit over the top unless you have an infinite development budget: I too would love to have multi-level undos that are persistent across application sessions.

The final part covers specific advice on layouts and controls. It brings together more concrete suggestions based on the previous two parts.

It's quite possible that the ideas in this book influenced the design of applications such as Office 2007 and iTunes. Although few developers have the challenge of designing Web sites or applications for the mass market, the advice in this book is worth considering even for corporate applications. Just watch the budget!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By King George on 17 July 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I brought this along with 'Dont Make Me Think', which is the 'classic' book on this sort of stuff, and I must say im impressed. Personally I like the extra ooomppff of a heavy accademic approach to anything. This goes into a lot of detail and depth on things, which gives it a lot of credibility. In comparison to 'Dont Make Me Think' which is out of date I think, its not 'subjective'. It provides you with a technical framework to understand the issues it deals with. 'Dont Make Me Think' gives an emotive framework and is subjective. It gives you a rich vocabulary with which to deal with the issues with customers. For example, personas, user levels and interfaces.

My only observation is that it is focussed more on computer interfaces than web sites. Although its all the same, I think its important to bear in mind as many references focus on product development and not web development which is more fluid in my opinion. As such, a lot of the methodology is better suited to teams that have the time to go to the next level to get userability right before a product launch in comparison to web sites which are oftem more lightweight and flexible.

Definatly recommended for people that dont want a phamphlet on the subject, ie the sort of book designed to be read on a plane trip like many others are.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dan on 5 April 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is not a set of templates to apply to a given project. Instead it is a philosophy on how to design good software from the ground up. After spending some time on the core conceptual framework it then does offer some good advice on the specific templates - but always reminding you that templates themselves do not work in isolation, and it is the core design principles that should guide your application.

This is certainly a 5 star book given the huge learnings I have taken from it. Having said that - it does feel a little long winded in parts and I found myself skim reading chunks of it to get to the meat. There is no doubt that following the authors' methodology to the letter would be a long and painstaking (but successful) task that few will do - but even following a watered down version of their recommendations will be hugely valuable.

Being busy I would have loved an "abridged" version that summarised the key points in 200 pages compared with the 550+ pages - for at times it reads as much as an academic text on the subject as a practical one. But of course some people will want all the detail - and those people will love it. For those that want things a little snappier I would still recommend the book - it's packed with insight - but you will probably want to skim over some sections.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Page on 19 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
Having worked in a Research & Development department for the past 15 years, I initially bought this book to study user interface design.
However, this book has opened my eyes to a much wider range of techniques for managing the research phase of development. The need to get "buy-in" from other departments / managers and such like to allow research projects to be funded to even a prototype stage is critical, and the detailed advice given in this books first 100 pages alone is worth the asking price IMO.

If all you are after is a book to tell you how to design a user interface, this may not be what you're after.
Likewise, if you're working on personal projects that are not required to be used by others - or need any kind of funding to be developed, I'd imagine that there are other books that just cover general UX design / layout do's and dont's.

But, if you work in any kind of R&D or development environment that requires projects to be green-lit via research (eg. You need to prove that your idea will meet requirements before you'll be allowed to develop it), then I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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