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Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 16 Sep 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (16 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321703545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321703545
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By C. Jarrett on 21 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
Let's be clear: this is a very short book. It's not going to teach you tons of stuff about how to create a better product. It's not a textbook.

What it is: pared-down, thought-provoking, beautiful.

When I picked it up, my first thought was 'lovely' and my second was 'is that it?'. It didn't seem weighty enough to have that much of an impact.

As I read it, I realise that there's a lot more insight in it than the size implies. Giles has worked really hard to pare this down to a few simple messages that you can act on straight away.

Yes, you can read it all in a (fairly short) train or plane ride. I did that, but I found that I kept stopping to reflect on ideas in the book and how I wanted to use them, or challenge myself to use them, in various projects. I'll come back to it, both to read through and to dip in now and then when I need a little thoughtful inspiration.

Definitely recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Jarvis on 2 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
In "Simple and Usable", the author successfully compacts what seems like 10 or 15 years' experience at the sharp end of creating digital interfaces into a series of easy-to-read, bite-size chunks. Highly relevant and motivational, the book is written in an insightful and informal style with many quotable passages and enlightening anecdotes.

Featuring lots of clearly articulated examples and case studies, the book brings together research and latest thinking from a wide range of disciplines including human computer interaction, marketing, psychology and behavioural economics.

Using as it's core 4 different strategies of simplicity - "Remove, Organise, Hide, Displace" - the book gets to the crux of many of the key challenges of organising and presenting information via digital media, most of which will be familiar both to those new to UX design and seasoned pros.

Furthermore, this book practices what it preaches; it's easy to digest, beautifully designed and illustrated, and refreshingly free of clutter, opaque theory and philosophical pondering.

Best of all, reading the book is like having an angelic conscience sitting on your shoulder telling you not *what* to do, but how to *approach* a design issue. This is it's real value and in my view it's something that's pretty unique.

All of this adds up to what I think is one of the most inspiring books on usability and user experience design written to date.

If you've read and enjoyed Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think", then you need this book to take you and your team to the next level.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Facebook Answers on 16 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is about how to design sites that are easy to use for the vast majority of your userbase. It will not teach you any CSS or Javascript tricks. It will show you why some designs don't work and what you might do instead to make them work.

Weirdly for a book of this nature, it is an ideal toilet book. Each page contains a message. Indeed, you shouldn't read the whole book in one sitting, or plane ride. Instead, read it a few pages at a time, then digest that. Repeat and learn.

And what will you learn? Well, obvious stuff really. But the best tips are always those that have been staring you in the face. Most people don't like clutter. The best way to design a site is to see how people use it. That sort of stuff.

Now, I don't necessarily agree with everything in this book. It is written purely from the perspective of the designer. A successful designer working big ticket contracts doesn't need to worry about the likes of SEO for instance. But the rest of us do. Its one thing adopting a less is more approach to the prose on your site, but if nobody can find the damn thing its irrelevent. Plus, I don't think there is anything wrong with the way Amazon lets you save items (read the book to find out what I'm going on about here).

However, there is an awful lot of stuff in this book that I do agree with, and still more stuff that I hadn't really considered. And best of all, the author's ideas are backed up with clear examples. I particularly liked the example of the Paris Underground Route Finder. Such an obvious fault to anybody who uses the thing, yet so easy to overlook if you are just designing from an idea.

Design is only part of my job. I spend more time coding and doing other web-related tasks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Drys on 17 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a delight. Everything about it is Simple and Usable - the layout, the beautiful illustrations, and the text.

It asks why every device we come into contact can't feel simple and usable. But it doesn't just preach this as an aim. It sets out to show what we can do to achieve it, as well as looking at what can get in our way.

It's packed with moments where you read and shout out "Of course, why didn't I think of that?" or "I'd totally forgotten that, I know how I can apply that straight away". A key piece for me was the section about designing for the mainstream rather than for expert users. And the section suggesting you describe what you want to change as a story or vision was very valuable.

It is a very practical book. Using four strategies: remove, organise, hide and displace is an excellent way to go about thinking of a redesign, and the idea is backed up with lots of examples of how to think about and implement these strategies. I can see this is a book I will return to again to deal with specific questions.

My only criticism of the book is the lack of bibliography. I would have loved to have recommendations for further reading

This book has a lovely personal tone, making it clear the author is experienced, knows what he is talking about, but he uses anecdotes to illustrate points rather than to show how clever he is. I'd recommend Simple and Usable to anyone involved in physical or digital product design. But it is also a great read for anyone frustrated by the complexity of current devices, who wonders how they could be improved.
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