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Designing Usable Electronic Text [Paperback]

Andrew Dillon

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Book Description

14 Jan 2004 0415240603 978-0415240604 2Rev Ed
Poor design and a failure to consider the user often act against the effectiveness in online communication. Designing Usable Electronic Text, Second Edition explores the human issues that underlie information usage and stresses that usability is the main barrier to the electronic medium's campaign to gain mass acceptance. The book is a revision of the successful First Edition with a new emphasis on the Web and hypertext design and their impacts. With the emergence of new uses of information, such as e-commerce and telemedicine, text presentation will take on a new and greater importance. Its focus on the design framework and its empirical approach make it a unique book.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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"Designing Usable Electronic Text is without question an important resource to all professionals involved in the field of human-computer interaction and user interface designs." - HCI International News, April 2005 "[A]n engaging presentation of elements that play a role in reading text, be it on paper or electronic." - The Indexer, Vol. 24, No. 2, Oct 2004 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Dillon; A University of Texas, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible, Thorough and Useful 15 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on
I'm researching systems-development related topics at the moment and this book is one of the few I've encountered that gives an abundant amount of carefully considered information. Most books, it seems, can be summarized in a sentence or two. Dillon's work, on the other hand, is one of the most detailed--and purposeful--I've seen. I'd recommend this book not only to text designers but anyone interested in user-centered design. Its implications for users (who are often scanners, not readers!) are broad and significant, encompassing motivations (why people read, or why they visit websites and what they expect to get out of their experience) and navigation and wayfinding issues. Another useful component of the book is its discussion of using models and frameworks as a tool to faciliate structured research and development. Many thanks to Dillon for providing a first rate book on a pervasive, yet largely ignored topic. I look forward to seeing more of his work in the future.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best analysis of reading electronic text I have seen 26 Aug 1998
By - Published on
This is by far the best analysis of reading of electronic text that I have seen. He provides an excellent insight as to what is, what might be, and what is not important for on-screen reading.
He does not limit text to just fiction/non-fiction categories, but instead discusses: WHY it is read professional/personal reasons, to learn or not, out of interest/need, etc. WHAT type of information it contains technical or non-technical, subject matter, general or specific, textual or graphic, etc. HOW it is read serially or non-serially, once or repeatedly, browsed or studied in depth, etc.
His book suggests to me that text should alter its format to the meet the users - Why, What, and How. Possible examples: switch to all caps when searching for words or phrases, turn off hyperlink indicators for linear reading, ...
He points out that there have been many studies on editing text, but few on reading text. A good fraction of the book deals with on-screen reading.
Screen reading was better with: high resolution characters, increased space between lines (leading), proportional font, limiting the number of characters on a line, and not splitting a sentence across a page boundary.
He indicates that users preferred on-screen reading over paper reading for some tasks when the screens had enough improvements.
Screen reading might be improved with: landmarks/navigation, serif fonts, full left/right justification, ...
Screen reading was no different than paper reading for: orientation of the media, flicker rate, screen dynamics, and visual angles (< 36 degrees).
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