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Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (5th (fifth) Edition) [Paperback]

3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley (2009)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book, worth spending the money 18 Feb 2012
By Kyle89
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a second year undergraduate. I had been deliberating about buying the book due to its price, but decided to take the plunge and am so glad I did. What an amazing book. I cannot believe how this genius (Ben Schneiderman managed to collate all of this into the book. The book is around 600 pages and have practically read from cover to cover. Has already helped greatly with HCI, Programming, GIS, Research Methods and will be of great benefit for my dissertation next year. There are so many books around on HCI and GUI, but this book encompasses both elements. The book is beautifully executed for the Undergraduate to Postgraduate or for those in the commercial sector. A sound investment.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What is the point of this book? 22 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Software user interface design is a very important discipline, and one which Apple has recently revolutionised. Making things easy is notoriously hard, so screen ergonomics is an important and challenging topic. Investing in this book seemed like a very sensible idea.

Unfortunately, and astonishingly, this 600 page book has pretty much no actionable content. It is a high level descriptive romp through the subject at a superficial and occasionally facile level - for example, from a page opened at random: "Social media participation can involve 10 people in a chat room or hundreds of millions of discretionary users in an environment such as Facebook or Myspace." So what? The authors never seem to convert their rather uninsightful observations into any valid or useful recommendation for action. This is the sort of book for which the phrase "No s**t, Sherlock" was invented.

At the beginning of the book the authors list "Ways to use this book". I can recommend one more: put it on your bookshelf and point at it. That's about as valuable as it gets.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent textbook for undergraduate and graduate HCI students! 13 Sep 2009
By Jaime Sanchez - Published on Amazon.com
As a Human-Computer Interaction University Associate Professor I was delighted with the new edition of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (5th Edition).

It was entirely renewed and fully updated.

I have shared this textbook with my HCI undergraduate and graduate HCI students this semester and they liked it a lot and found it touches well and thoroughly current HCI issues!

Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant present and discuss timely most key HCI theories, concepts, ideas and applications.

I strongly recommend this book for academic and professional HCI courses.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonably Good Information 15 Sep 2010
By Lisa Shea - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been writing computer code since the 1970s and have seen a wide variety of user interfaces - thermal paper rather than a screen, single-color displays, full color displays, mice, pens, keyboards, and other options. User interfaces are always changing and updating and being tweaked. With that in mind, I find it admirable that a book tries to document exactly what the current state of interfaces is - and not too surprising that the book can become obsolete the moment it comes off the presses.

So a portion of the book is common sense that can apply to creating interfaces in any decade. Your interface needs to be easy for a brand new user to use. It should provide "training wheels" for those new to the system, and then ease them into full use. A well done design should account for both elderly users and disabled users.

Various concepts are covered, like:

gulf of execution - mismatch between user's intentions and allowable actions
gulf of evaluation - mismatch systems representation and user's expectations

On one hand you could say these are good foundations for any designer to understand. You want to create icons that users understand without a thick manual. You want users to be able to quickly get the hang of your system and enjoy using it. But on the other hand, the book almost seems to assume that the user has never seen a keyboard or mouse before starting in to the topic. Surely readers know what a menu is, and how to navigate it. I'm all for books covering the basics and then going on to more complex topics, but the book wallows a little too much in those basics.

Also, the language tends to sway between incredibly simple and incredibly dense. Where the book teaches you to identify and speak to your audience, the book itself isn't able to do that well. Sometimes it assumes the reader is a visitor from the 1800s who has never heard of a computer, never mind tried to use one. Then a few pages later the page is describing a situation with incredibly technical language that is unclear even to experienced programmers.

Still, if we assume the purpose of this book is to give an overview about what things a designer should consider when creating a design, the book does that well. It has a variety of graphics drawn from current websites, that will help the content be understandable to web-savvy users. If you complain that some of the tips are extremely obvious, you can give that same complaint about just about any book you read. They have to include obvious tips as well as the advanced ones, so they cover all the bases.

So how to rate this? As an esoteric "overview of how computers should work" I give it 4/5 stars. It has generally accurate information, with helpful graphics, and while the language is sometimes oversimplified and sometimes obtuse, it generally is quite readable.

However, know going into it that the book is meant for this type of an overview. This is NOT a book I would ever give to any web designer or interface designer as a helpful tool to use and keep on the shelf. You can't flip the book open to a section to get tips on designing areas of your application. You can't scan through charts telling you what to do and what to avoid. While many other books are laid out well for this sort of purpose, Designing the User Interface is not.

When I read my many other books on computers and design, I amassed copious notes that I would use in my programming life. When I finished this one, I had accumulated barely a page of notes at the end.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Those reviews are out of date! 14 Mar 2009
By Potential buyer # 2001395 - Published on Amazon.com
I loved the older versions of the book, and all those reviews are obsolete since there is a new edition now in March 2009. Would love to see new reviews.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeps Getting Better 29 Mar 2009
By HCI faculty - Published on Amazon.com
I've used this series of books in the classroom and as a reference for years and am delighted to see a new edition!
Strengths are the depth and breadth of coverage, rich reference list and great pictures/images.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not sure what to say about this book 10 Nov 2011
By Philip Schielke - Published on Amazon.com
I'm writing this as a computer science instructor, that had very LITTLE familiarity with this field before picking up this book.
The good: It's clear that the authors have a wealth of experience in the field. I actually like the bibliography at the end of each chapter. I'm making my students read some of the journal articles from there. Book covers a broad range of topics.
The bad: This book seems like less of a textbook and more of a survey of the entire breadth of the field. As a computer scientist I often found myself wanting more data, or more details on certain topics. Many of the "findings" of researchers are simply mentioned in passing, as in so-and-so discovered this. Many times I was yearning for more details. Other areas where I didn't want a lot of detail I got more than I wanted. As a die-hard computer scientist I found the book a bit touchy-feely and wishy-washy for my tastes. There seemed to be a lot of subjective statements, and opinions stated without accurately representing the other side. For example the author comes out very strongly against anthropomorphic design (which I tend to agree with), and makes sweeping statements about how users always prefer to NOT have this sort of design. Yet, research in using anthropomorphic interfaces in healthcare has shown that most users prefer such a design (at least in the limited domains of the research.) Many of the revolutionary discoveries in the book my students saw as common sense. (Granted it's hard to see that someone had to invent or discover certain design concepts that we take for granted now.) The students felt they were being talked down to by the author's and longed for more CS heavy material.
I've read journal articles by the first author and they read much better than most of the book. Perhaps it's a bad editing job on the book?
The ugly: The PPT slides provided by the publisher are TERRIBLE. Fonts are too small, misspellings, images with text are cut and pasted into the slides and the text becomes too small, and blocky if expanded. Information that is emphasized in the text gets one slide, whereas certain paragraphs in the book that are not emphasized get 4 or 5 slides. I cannot say enough about how bad the slides are.
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