Trade in Yours
For a £0.25 Gift Card
Trade in
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 
Tell the Publisher!
Iíd like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Defensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Online Crisis Points (Voices That Matter) [Paperback]

37signals , Matthew Linderman , Jason Fried
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Trade In this Item for up to £0.25
Trade in Defensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Online Crisis Points (Voices That Matter) for an Amazon Gift Card of up to £0.25, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

2 Mar 2004 Voices That Matter

Let's admit it: Things will go wrong online. No matter how carefully you design a site, no matter how much testing you do, customers still encounter problems. So how do you handle these inevitable breakdowns? With defensive design. In this book, the experts at 37signals (whose clients include Microsoft, Qwest, Monster.com, and Clear Channel) will show you how.

Defensive design is like defensive driving brought to the Web. The same way drivers must always be on the lookout for slick roads, reckless drivers, and other dangerous scenarios, site builders must constantly search for trouble spots that cause visitors confusion and frustration. Good site defense can make or break the customer experience.

In these pages, you'll see hundreds of real-world examples from companies like Amazon, Google, and Yahoo that show the right (and wrong) ways to get defensive. You'll learn 40 guidelines to prevent errors and rescue customers if a breakdown occurs. You'll also explore how to evaluate your own site's defensive design and improve it over the long term.

This book is a must read for designers, programmers, copywriters, and any other site decision-makers who want to increase usability and customer satisfaction.



Product details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (2 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 073571410X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735714106
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 18 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 644,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Let's admit it: Things will go wrong online. No matter how carefully you design a site, no matter how much testing you do, customers still encounter problems. So how do you handle these inevitable breakdowns? With defensive design. In this book, the experts at 37signals (whose clients include Microsoft, Qwest, Monster.com, and Clear Channel) will show you how.

Defensive design is like defensive driving brought to the Web. The same way drivers must always be on the lookout for slick roads, reckless drivers, and other dangerous scenarios, site builders must constantly search for trouble spots that cause visitors confusion and frustration. Good site defense can make or break the customer experience.

In these pages, you'll see hundreds of real-world examples from companies like Amazon, Google, and Yahoo that show the right (and wrong) ways to get defensive. You'll learn 40 guidelines to prevent errors and rescue customers if a breakdown occurs. You'll also explore how to evaluate your own site's defensive design and improve it over the long term.

This book is a must read for designers, programmers, copywriters, and any other site decision-makers who want to increase usability and customer satisfaction.

About the Author

Chicago-based 37signals (www.37signals.com) is a team of web design and usability specialists dedicated to simple, and usable, customer-focused design. 37signals popularized the concept of contingency/defensive design in various articles and white papers and via the web site DesignNotFound.com. The team also has conducted workshops and presentations on the topic for a variety of conferences and companies.

37signals clients include Microsoft, Qwest, Monster.com, Clear Channel, Panera Bread, Meetup, Performance Bike, and Transportation.com. Work has been featured in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Washington Post, on CNN, and in numerous other publications. Team members have appeared as featured speakers at AIGA Risk/Reward, Activ8, South By Southwest, HOW Design Conference, ForUse, and other conferences. Additional information can be found at www.37signals.com.

This book is authored by Matthew Linderman with Jason Fried. Other members of the 37signals team include Ryan Singer and Scott Upton.

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so technical, but lots of pretty pictures.. 21 Jun 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Defensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Online Crisis Points, by 37signals, Matthew Linderman and Jason Fried, really should be called "Examples of Bad Error Messages, Forms, etc" because although there were lots of pretty screenshots in the book, there wasn't much in the way of real solutions -- technical or otherwise..

In the book, there were no solid examples of what we should definitely do or not do, and using advice from the sites given a thumbs-up was not necessarily a great idea because the ratings were inconsistant: on page 62 nordstrom.com were given a thumbs down for specifying the format of user-inputted telephone numbers (no hypens or spaces) and yet on page 69, expedia.com and etrade.com were given a thumbs up for doing exactly the same thing (stating that social security numbers must contain the hypens). If nordstrom must accept telephone numbers in multiple formats, surely etrade should do the same with SS numbers?

One of the most annoying things about the entire book was the constant use of the incorrect term "alt tags". Tags are surrounded by < and >, alt is not, therefore alt is an attribute. This is the kind of basic HTML-related stuff that I would expect an 'expert' web-based company such as 37signals to know. What's more, there was an entire chapter dedicated to the lack of alt "tags" on various websites, and yet no clear instructions on what good alt text should say.

Throughout the entire book there was only one teensy-tiny paragraph on international forms and the need to accept multiple types of data, and yet this book is sold worldwide.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too little substance 7 April 2009
Format:Paperback
This book points out the blatantly obvious, and that's not a problem in itself because common sense often only becomes obvious once somebody points it out; and if all these issues were so obvious to all but the novice we wouldn't be coming across them constantly.

However, this book has far too little substance to be worth anything like its cover price. It glosses over the problems of forms, particularly those to be filled in by non-Americans, and the rest is just too light. This information would be far better presented on a website or as a free to download e-book. Absolutely not worth the money - there are far better usability books out there.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A very disappointing beginners book. 7 April 2005
Format:Paperback
The authors use 40 guidelines to tell you things that even starting web developers already know. In fact throughout the whole book ‚€" which is extremely light reading, since nearly all the pages contain mostly white space and screen shots ‚€" I haven't come across a single noteworthy solution to design problems.
Indeed, all this book does is list commonly known mistakes, which would perhaps be interesting for the total novice, yet, it provides zero solutions.
Four major things are wrong with this book:
1) Most of the advice is truly gratuitous, like ‚€œGuideline 6: Keep text brief and easy to understand‚€�, or ‚€œGuideline7: Be polite‚€�, or ‚€œGuideline18: Use ALT tags for images‚€� or ‚€œGuideline 24: Answer emails quickly and effectively. That is stating the obvious like ‚€œcheck your spelling‚€�. Yes, they advice this as well.
2) Only a small part of the book deals with international issues and most part only applies to local American websites with local target groups. A lot of the examples of websites they approve of, wouldn't stand a change when a Frenchman, Italian, Arab, etc. visits. This book gives an all but global perspective on accessibility.
3) Some design rules they propose are actually very debatable at least. Moreover, quite a few guidelines contradict each other.
4) They mention some major problems like; missing 404 pages, lacking form validation, etc. Yet ‚€" and this is absolutely inexcusable ‚€" abide from some screen shots, they provide no real solutions, you are totally left in the dark.
So, after 236 mostly empty pages all they have told me that it is better to have a better website.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise and inspiring 7 May 2004
Format:Paperback
Murphy's Law applies just as much in the online world as in the physical one: if something can go wrong, it will. How we deal with those situations is what makes the difference between good web designers and great web designers.
37signals' book throws its readers straight in there, no messing about: screen grabs of sites, pointing out the bad design decisions and highlighting the good. Simply laid out, 37signals' book allows the examples to speak for themselves, adding just enough information to back up their reasoning and no more.
Peppered throughout the book are a selection of "head-to-head" comparisons: on the left-hand page, a site that makes a fundamental mistake; on the right, a competitor that gets it right.
This book can't make a bad designer a good one. But if you're a good designer, it will help you improve no end.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  43 reviews
109 of 115 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprises in perception 1 Jun 2004
By Rachel Tozier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While reading this book many experienced web designers will dismiss it as a collection of obvious techniques. Don't be fooled by that perception. I gave this book to my team with a mandate that it serve as a framework for usability for all corporate intranet projects. I was immediately deluged with protests from a few team members claiming "we already do this".
Skeptical, I sat with those who made the claims, and we compared our techniques against those this excellent book proposes using live web pages on our intranet. Surprise. We did not measure up, and were certainly not "already doing this".
Phase two, I had one member of my team reengineer one of the smaller internal web sites on our intranet using the techniques given in this book. Business users gave the results high marks, and my team began accepting the book as the official usability guide.
Result: this book has made a measurable difference in the quality of internal web sites we are designing and deploying for various lines of business within our corporation. It is now embraced by my team, and is used as a standard of good practice in web usability. The advice provided in the book has also resulted in less support calls to our team, freeing them to work on design and deployment instead of answering end user questions.
Moral: do not let the surface simplicity of this book fool you. While its contents and advice may seem obvious, chances are that your team is not following those obvious design rules.
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't design (or update) your web site without this book 11 Mar 2004
By Mike Tarrani - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is one of the best books on web site design I've read - and I've read quite a few. New and experienced web masters will find a plethora of tips and techniques covering every facet from how to display error messages that are both meaningful and don't get lost on the page, to ensuring that search engines on your site actually return relevant information to search queries.
The topics covered are covered intelligently and in detail, and address the most common weaknesses found on too many web sites. Moreover, every topic is reinforced with examples from actual and well-known web sites. Specific areas of web site design include:
- Show the Problem (crafting visible and informative error messages)
- Language Matters (excellent tips on writing content that is descriptive, short and gets attention)
- Bulletproof Forms (take the confusion out of filling in forms and validate data)
- Missing in Action (go beyond 404 messages, and how to enhance the visitor experience even if they are using older browsers or are missing needed plug-ins)
- Lend a Helping Hand (creating help that is ... well, helpful)
- Get Out of the Way (how to find and eliminate stuff that slows down page loading, detracts from the main content, or alienate visitors)
- Search and Rescue (tips for making your site search engine give visitors relevant information instead of dumping everything under the sun in response to a query)
- Out of Stocks and Unavailable Items (best practices in stock management if you are selling items on the site)
- Contingency Design (a strategy for continuous improvement)
What I most like about this book is the fact that it isn't based on some rigid design philosophy, but instead, is a compendium of design issues commonly found on major sites - and how to make sure your site doesn't have them. Most of the items covered are the very ones that are likely to irritate you when you encounter them on someone else's site. The elegant solutions given in this book can serve as a checklist of what to consider when you're designing or improving your own site. If I had to recommend only one book on site design to new web masters this would be it.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must if you are starting out 7 Jun 2004
By "wcilmmug" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have read a few books on this topic and found this book to be good for those that are begining to do professional development and it also serves as a good review for those that have been developing for a while.
The book is simple in its layout and each section is easy to read by itself or you could read it from cover to cover if you wanted to. I found myself skipping around some and just skimming some areas of the book.
Its not a must have, but it is a good to have.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for solving problems related to online apps. 11 May 2004
By Jeremy A Flint - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have just finished reading Defensive Design for the Web, written by the fine folks at 37signals. The book is divided into 10 chapters, the first 9 broken down into 40 "guidelines". The guidelines cover all areas of defensive design, or "contingency design", as mentioned throughout the book. These guidelines are used to drive home the overall purpose of the chapter.
The writers keep the technical talk to a minimum, and really focus on what contingency design is, how it helps users, and how it is implemented in various sites around the web, if it is implemented at all. It also gives pointers on how to avoid these pitfalls in your own development. Also, it gives alternative examples to prove a point, relating it to something physical rather than electronic.
One example is comparing the annoying flash ads that appear on top of sites, disabling the functionality of certain elements, to trying to leave a travel agent office, and instead, the agent has blocked the door and keeps handing you brochures.
The sites chosen by the author as examples are very popular sites that a majority of readers have at least heard of if not visited. They range in variance from search engines, to e-commerce sites, to general sites with little application implementation. Many sites are mentioned in multiple chapters, sometimes having great contingency design for what the chapter is about, sometimes not. It is interesting to see that some sites succeed in certain areas while at the same time failing in others.
The "Head to Head" features are also great. This takes to sites that would be seen as competitors (Barnes and Noble vs. Amazon, K-mart vs. Wal-Mart, Foot Locker vs. Finish Line, etc.) and shows how they each handle the same contingency design element in different ways.
After reviewing the areas of contingency design, there is a "Contingency Design Test" that you can use not only to test your site yourself, but also give to others to test your site. The test gives certain tasks and uses a point system to score how well a site did with certain guidelines.
The book closes with a chapter on developing a plan for testing, correcting, and implementing contingency design in your site. It gives examples of ways to catalog various design guidelines such as using a knowledgebase for staff members to reference when a problem occurs, testing a site thoroughly at all points of development, and other techniques.
Anyone involved in building or managing websites with any degree of web application integration would do well to read this book. Many items seem like common sense, but you would be surprised at how easy it is to overlook them in the development process. In the end, your users will thank you for it.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Grade-A Advice in a Grade-C Package 1 Sep 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As the makers of the highly-regarded Basecamp, Backpack and Ta-da List, the crew at 37Signals certainly have the credibility to write a book on web usability design. While you won't find any earth-shattering new concepts here, you'll get a lot of common-sense guidelines that a surprising number of sites don't follow.

It's too bad that this book (on design, of all things) had to be presented in such a cheap-looking book. The heavy black sections of the chapter headings are washed out, and the text inside the graphics (e.g., dialog boxes, pull-down menus) is hard to read. The book text itself is easy enough to read. In all, the whole thing was obviously produced on a printer that uses some sort of toner (and not enough of it!), rather than good old traditional offset printing.

In all, the book is still worth reading, and I'd still recommend it. It's just a little disappointing that one of my favorite reasons for buying dead-tree versions of books--the look and feel of the book itself--is a little lacking with this one.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


Look for similar items by category


Feedback