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Contextual Design: Defining Customer-Centered Systems (Interactive Technologies) Paperback – 1 Sep 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 498 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc.; 1 edition (1 Sept. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558604111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558604117
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 2.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 336,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"If necessity is the mother of invention, then if you don't know what the users need you can't invent. Karen and Hugh present a step-by-step way to uncover, understand, and use those needs. If developers are not already using techniques like those presented here, they should read this book carefully to see what they are missing." --Dan Bricklin, co-creator of VisiCalc "Hugh Beyer and Karen Holtzblatt are widely recognized as the foremost experts on contextual inquiry, and they have packed what they know into a book of both substance and intelligence. It has been a long wait but worth it. The book lucidly shows how to capture the real requirements of customers and how to tailor designs to fit their needs. If you care about your customers and want to create products they as well as want, then you need to understand contextual inquiry and contextual design. You need this book." --Larry Constantine, Principal Consultant, Constantine & Locwood, Ltd.; Professor of Computing Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney (Australia); Author of Constantine on Peopleware and Software for User "For many years, Beyer and Holtzblatt have been pioneers in the field of human-computer interaction, showing how the context of computer use can be (and needs to be) the central focus of analysis and design. This book conveys the understanding and wisdom that they have gained from their experience in contextual design in a form that is accessible to students and design practitioners. It will serve as a guide and handbook for the next generation of interaction designers, and as a result we can expect the usability and appropriateness of computer systems to be greatly improved." --Terry Winograd, Stanford University

About the Author

Hugh Beyer is a co-founder of In Context Enterprises, Inc. a firm that works with companies, coaching teams to design products, product strategies, and information systems from customer data. Hugh Beyer has pioneered the link between the customer-centered front end and object-oriented design.

Inside This Book

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Mar. 1998
Format: Paperback
I've been searching all over for good guides to the *process* of human-centered design as opposed to the techniques for good UI: This book is excellent on two counts
1. The principles and methods you advocate
2. The lack of competition, but this doesn't distract from the quality of the book.
There are lots of books on how to do UI, but they all concentrate upon the widgets. This is the only one I have seen that really tells you how to go out and collect customer data, and then, what to do about it. I also like the way it deals with UI design -- do it only after the analysis -- resist the temptation to start the design too soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
The book offers a fantastic guide to project teams for creating excellent software. If any group follows the design practices prescribed by Contextual Design, their users are likely to find the resulting software actually enhances their work practice, rather than gets in their way.
The book works on the level of processes that project teams should follow to understand their users work and then to build the software to enhance that work practice. Someone wanting to focus on the level of GUI interface guidelines should look elsewhere.
What is amazing to me so far as I read and use the book is how often these authors are saying something that is not only novel but also simply right.
Great job by Holtzblatt and Beyer!
-- Joe Grant
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By Dr Pedro Fonseca on 20 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book changed my life. It showed me the power of creating software, more specifically, how you can change the world if you really understand the context in which your creation will be used. The more you understand the context, the more you can change it by revolutionizing it with a new way of doing things.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 18 reviews
93 of 95 people found the following review helpful
Excellent guide to human-centered design 20 Mar. 1998
By Don Norman (don_norman@hp.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've been searching all over for good guides to the *process* of human-centered design as opposed to the techniques for good UI: This book is excellent on two counts
1. The principles and methods you advocate
2. The lack of competition, but this doesn't distract from the quality of the book.
There are lots of books on how to do UI, but they all concentrate upon the widgets. This is the only one I have seen that really tells you how to go out and collect customer data, and then, what to do about it. I also like the way it deals with UI design -- do it only after the analysis -- resist the temptation to start the design too soon.
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Chock full o' ideas! 12 Dec. 1999
By Merryl Gross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have to admit that it's taken me a long time to read this book. Every few pages, my brain filled with ideas as to how I could use the info in my organization!
Make sure you finish reading a section before you try to apply it. The authors do a good job of starting at a higher level, then going into more detail in following chapters. You need this detail before you go on to the next section. This is not a theoretical book; the authors have been using these techniques for years to design real, complex products. It resonates well with my experiences in software user interface design.
If you design products intended to be used by humans, you NEED this book. If everyone read this book and even *tried* to follow its principles, the products we buy and use would be vastly improved. Save the world; buy it today!
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
If only more software was designed this way! 19 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The book offers a fantastic guide to project teams for creating excellent software. If any group follows the design practices prescribed by Contextual Design, their users are likely to find the resulting software actually enhances their work practice, rather than gets in their way.
The book works on the level of processes that project teams should follow to understand their users work and then to build the software to enhance that work practice. Someone wanting to focus on the level of GUI interface guidelines should look elsewhere.
What is amazing to me so far as I read and use the book is how often these authors are saying something that is not only novel but also simply right.
Great job by Holtzblatt and Beyer!
-- Joe Grant
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
At last, a strong and flexible user-centered design method 20 Jun. 2001
By Jim Grey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
With all the talk about user-centered design, it's a relief to find a book that describes a well-defined and flexible approach to it. The authors have really done their homework. I especially appreciated the explanation of approaching site visits as if you were an apprentice.
However, I really wish this book had been more concise. I kept wanting the authors to get to the point. Perhaps I'll appreciate this book's detail later, when I'm one day deep in the throes of a project that uses some or all of this approach. But today I merely wanted to become familiar with this approach and understand its benefits.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
a great mix of theory and practice 15 Sept. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have used this book both academecially and professionally. The authors cover every facet of this important phase of the design process: they tell you why CI is important, explain every detail of doing it, and thoroughly detail ways to communicate findings to other people. Much better than most of the Neilsen books on usability engineering (although much more narrow in scope) -- it's written in a nonacademic style and is fairly easy to peruse.
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