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Designing the Moment: Web Interface Design Concepts in Action (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 8 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (8 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321535081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321535085
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.1 x 22.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,362,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

The trick to great design is knowing how to think through each decision so that users don't have to. In Designing the Moment: Web Interface Design Concepts in Action, Robert Hoekman, Jr., author of Designing the Obvious, presents over 30 stories that illustrate how to put good design principles to work on real-world web application interfaces to make them obvious and compelling. From the first impression to the last, Hoekman takes a think out loud approach to interface design to show us how to look critically at design decisions to ensure that human beings, the kind that make mistakes and do things we don't expect, can walk away from our software feeling productive, respected, and smart.

About the Author

Robert Hoekman, Jr, is a passionate and outspoken user experience specialist and a prolific writer who has written dozens of articles and has worked with Seth Godin (Squidoo), Adobe, Automattic, United Airlines,, and countless others.

He also gives in-house training sessions and has spoken at industry events all over the world, including An Event Apart, Web App Summit, SXSW, Future of Web Design, and many others.

Robert is the author of the Amazon bestseller Designing the Obvious and its follow-up, Designing the Moment. His newest book, Web Anatomy, was coauthored by Jared Spool.

Learn more about Robert at He is "rhjr" on Twitter.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By @RIKP on 22 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, Robert Hoekman Jr has done it again.

In this follow up to Designing the Obvious, Hoekman Jr takes us on a journey through his thoughts and concepts on building truly great web applications.

It's very easy for programmers and developers to get bogged down, churning out feature-after-feature, without necessarily stopping to think about the 'why', as in, "why do we need to add this feature?", or the 'what': "what is this feature supposed to add to my application?".

In his book, Robert explains that we should be focusing on the activities (or 'moments' as he refers to them) that comprise our applications, and that every new feature should have a single purpose: to support the mindset of the user.

Steering clear of technical jargon, this book teaches everyone involved in the wider design process to focus on what is actually important: your customers.

For anyone who has read his first book, Designing the Obvious, this book may seem a little similar to the first - but on further examination it is obvious that is exactly why you should buy this book: it is written in exactly the same clear, concise and logical manner as the first, bringing a different edge and further enhancements to some existing concepts, with whole new chapters devoted to the new. Simplicity isn't easy to do, but Robert teaches us some very helpful techniques to examine our own designs and improve them, with thoughtful insights into how the user will view our changes thrown in along the way.

There used to only be one book that I would recommend to my colleagues wishing to further their knowledge in web interface design. Now there are two.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Queen of Sheba on 27 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What is it about web design books? So many are either filled with lots of enormous photos or lots of "chat" about meetings, cups of coffee and pulling out laptops. "Design the Moment" has few of the former, but the latter come in thick and fast. All very amusing but not really what you want to read about.

This is a very small book, only about half normal computer book size, you could probably easily fit this into 100 pages of the larger size volume. I don't think you get a lot of "meat" with this book, just loads of chat and generalised suggestions about how to improve things. In this respect this book looks worse than it's predecessor, "Designing the Obvious". It concentrates soley on the author's past work. For example, there is a section on navigation here, but once you've waded through the introduction you just get one suggestion: set links according to user functions - um yeh! Navigation makes no other mention in the book. There is a similar section on blogs, where he goes into detail about how he chatted with the other members of the team and pulled out his laptop.

Quite frankly I think the RRP for this book (£29.99) would be laughable, even at half price it's pushing it. It's almost "coffee table" standard with some ideas thrown in (many of them common sense).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 21 reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Needs some weight 5 Aug. 2008
By Andrew Otwell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hoekmann's last book Designing the Obvious was pretty good: a short, readable survey of some user experience tactics and tips. Nearly all of it was applicable and relevant.

This book (published, what, a year later?) seems hurried and much more superficial. It's really just a collection of short essays that run the gamut from mildly useful to simply wrong. Unfortunately, Hoekman's decided that *none* of his user interface design advice needs support from research, usability, or even real-world implementations. It's the level of opinionated but poorly-backed up writing you'd expect from a weblog. What products or sites are these techniques used on, and how have they affected user behavior? Hoekman's central argument is that "the details matter", that the smallest aspect of a user experience is worth agonizing over. Is that true? It seems like it ought to be, but tinkering with the nuances of interactions seems like the *most* critical time to be able to measure improvements. Unfortunately, there's nothing here that really convinces me that a given idea is good, only short exercises often without any context.

Finally, Hoekman's writing style is exactly what you'd get on a weblog: overly informal, full of sentence fragments and inelegant constructions. NewRiders has shown a worsening trend to publish books that seem awfully lightly edited, to put it kindly.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Excellent resource 28 April 2008
By Jamie Samland - Published on
Format: Paperback
Hoekman's style makes this a quick and very understandable read. Each chapter is overflowing with tips you can apply immediately to things you're working on right now. In many cases, he starts with some design that may not have any obvious problems, then iterate through improvements, thoroughly explaining WHAT he's improving on and WHY the improvement actually IS an improvement. The plentiful, full color screenshots are a huge help, to see exactly what the iterations produce.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Hoekman is to UX Design Lit as DeLillo is to Contemporary Fiction 14 May 2008
By Matthew D. Derby - Published on
Format: Paperback
Designing the Moment is an invigorating follow-up to Hoekman's paradigm-shifing debut Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design - a must-read for designers, marketers, business analysts, developers, and engineers of all persuasions. It's possible that these two books are the most important reads on the subject of web design to come out since Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition.

Hoekman comes across in these books as a supportive peer - a rare and refreshingly readable perspective in this genre. In clear, concise (obvious!) text, he manages to unpack and delineate complex processes and interactions with an energy and enthusiasm that's infectious. He is an evangelist for the church of the whiteboard, that primal collaborative zone where interactions are crafted and iterated upon with a single purpose in mind: making someone's life just a little bit easier, less frustrating by a single increment. It's easy to lose track of this goal. It's easy to get bogged down by all of the politics and the marketing hype and to forget that what we are doing as designers is helping people. Hoekman, in these books, continually brings us back to this core idea in a way that never feels didactic or condescending.

I should add that I'm not an avid reader of books on interaction design or user experience design, though I own many. This is because the bulk of the design texts I own are a real chore to slog through. There are a handful of authors, though, whose work I follow with enthusiasm. Of these few, Hoekman is the one author whose books I genuinely devour and press into the palms of my coworkers as soon as I finish the last sentence. These are vital texts - buy them both!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Few good ideas for a few specific web design topics 23 July 2008
By Pirkka Rannikko - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was really expecting something out of this title after reading the previous Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design but the book turned out to be a little disappointment. It contains 31 short chapters that put the principles of the previous book in to use. Some of the topics discussed like signing in, forms and so on can give you a few really nice ideas to be used in a project.

The point is that these few topics could have been published as online articles as they hardly have enough to say to put together a whole book. If the book would've been published a couple of years ago the "not so interesting" topics could have also been worth printing. The language is easy and really fast to read so you can quickly skim the book through and then concentrate on the interesting topics with more thought.

This title clearly falls in to the box of average things...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Good insight, doesn't go far enough 26 Aug. 2008
By Jeff McNeill - Published on
Format: Paperback
There are many useful concepts illustrated in this book, including:

* Gutenberg diagram-Primary optical area and terminal anchor
* Ambient signifiers by Ross Howard - color, size, transparency level
* The goal to create positive moments, with a great example of the use of autocomplete
* Video!
* Display validation pre-submit, aka check boxes which activate next to a validated form as the user tabs through the interface
* Many other nuanced goodies

One of the greatest compliments is that this book doesn't go far enough, yet its core message is to go further than we have gone, hence it is a book on the path...

Some criticisms

* Talks smack about former client
* Doesn't go far enough in reducing instruction text
* In showing character count in Twitter, does not indicate a "going over limit" could be handled
* Use of the phrase (e.g., after an attendee email form field label-do we really have people who don't know what an email address looks like? And if so, are they really going to learn it on this website?
* Repetitive use of text, e.g., attendee first name, attendee last name, attendee email
* Heavy use of drop-downs
* Wants to (needlessly) coin the term protocast, for a screencast used for a demo/walkthrough
* Inconsistency in handling question marks as helper links in an interface (uses both ? and what's this? instead of simply ?

But these complaints are largely trying to hold the book to the standard it is trying to create for the interface designer. In other words, any of its detractions and failures are largely seen as indicators of its success in making us think more deeply about what it means to design for the moment.

Thank you sir.
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