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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent hand-held introduction to user-centric development
As an old-school, stuck-in-his-ways developer, I must admit that I was cynical about the burgeoning new fields of functional design, and recoiled at trendy buzzwords and abbreviations like the book title's 'UX'. For a long time, I was focused on simply 'making stuff work', signing everything else off to the graphic designer. This book does a good job of challenging my...
Published on 14 Aug 2012 by R. WEST-SOLEY

versus
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ebook is poor
I liked the examples they use talking about real cases but that was it for me.

I don't like writing bad reviews but no body had mentioned the following:
- reversing the colours on the Kindle app produced an all white screen
- seems like it hasn't been proofread at all (cApitalisation issues and duplicate words)

That spoiled it for me so now...
Published 20 months ago by Sebster


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent hand-held introduction to user-centric development, 14 Aug 2012
By 
R. WEST-SOLEY "Rich West-Soley" (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
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As an old-school, stuck-in-his-ways developer, I must admit that I was cynical about the burgeoning new fields of functional design, and recoiled at trendy buzzwords and abbreviations like the book title's 'UX'. For a long time, I was focused on simply 'making stuff work', signing everything else off to the graphic designer. This book does a good job of challenging my old, dogged position!

This title looks at UX and the vital role it should rightfully have in planing along both dev and design stages of online projects. The structure of the book emphasises the planning-led nature of UX-focused development, and if you're an 'organic' developer (like I most certainly was!), you may well just see the error of your ways in the elegance and tidiness of the approach the book describes. With hefty attention to the entire process, including client meetings and feedback, it's a real-world workflow you'll pick up here, which both reflects the industry accurately, and equips the reader with the expertise to take advantage of it in the form of detailed, clear but concise technical chapters.

As with all Smashing books, layout and style are key to success - the volume comes across as friendly but knowledgeable, chapters are focused, not over-long and broken down expertly into subsections, the book is subdivided well into four overarching larger sections, and there's a good index, making the book great as a reference as well as a step-by-step guide. An excellent hand-held introduction to user-centred development, for both bright young things, and older hands!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ebook is poor, 7 April 2013
This review is from: Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
I liked the examples they use talking about real cases but that was it for me.

I don't like writing bad reviews but no body had mentioned the following:
- reversing the colours on the Kindle app produced an all white screen
- seems like it hasn't been proofread at all (cApitalisation issues and duplicate words)

That spoiled it for me so now I'm trying the oreilly book.

Aside from the above I'm not impressed with the structure and organisation of the content but that can be personal preference, the problems above are not.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best read in chunks, 19 July 2012
By 
Chappers "chappers" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
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I am currently working in the Digital department of a UK non-profit. Our entire web estate is in the throws of planning for a complete re-build from the ground up on account of it being quite disparate and sporadic in its current form with no thought towards usability. I work with Analytics on a daily basis, but extending my reach into UX is something that has been asked of me, to provide another viewpoint and help contribute to the site design and experience.

I've approached this book from a neutral standing and although I am only half-way through it, making various study notes along the way, there are a few points that I have observed that I felt worthy of including in my review:

Firstly, the book has a tendency to go over the same points several times. I often found that the briefest of paragraphs or summary table would have sufficed and got their point across just as much as the pages preceding that to me felt like rambling.

In many respects, the book reads like a diary of the authors' experience in the role of consultants to others, which is not necessarily a bad thing, and I certainly appreciate the use of case studies, but some of the situations really didn't seem like they were worth including as they either had nothing of value to add to the chapter, or simply repeated aspects previously mentioned.

One thing to definitely bear in mind is that UX design is an organic philosophy. It changes all the time as different ways of interacting with digital mediums arise with every generation of technology. For a book such as this to be on the bleeding-edge of technology would be impossible. References are made towards the back of the book about how mobile design has changed from preferences of producing an "App" to making a Mobile Site to using Responsive design. This is an area of great interest to me as my Analytics show that our own site's non-standard desktop audience has increased over the past 6 months from 8% to 12% in some areas, so it would have been beneficial for me to have seen some examples or pros and cons or caveats of these approaches to design instead of just a casual mention.

The pictures and illustrations I thought also missed the boat. A picture of a person sat at a computer showed "Visual Design in Progress". A different person sat at a different computer on the opposite page showed "Development work in Progress". They hardly seemed worth it. Perhaps they were merely used to break up the masses of text.

One thing I was looking to find as well which this book fell short of, was visual examples - such as poor UX elements in existing designs, and then the improved versions, together with reasoning and methodology.

But enough of all that. Taking a step back and looking at this book as a point of reference on certain techniques or stages in UX design review is probably more useful than doing a cover-to-cover read. This way, you can zero-in on a particular section and reflect on the ideas and suggestions that they put. You will also become less aware of the repetition of various aspects that are re-visited in each chapter.

Taking that on-board, my rating of this book sits around the 3.5-4 mark. I'll let it ride at 4 rather than be too harsh. My own personal preference would be around more use of case-study material, and more detail within those case-studies - such as particular granular elements that might be worthy of note or lessons learnt in themselves. Better use of illustration and an a less wordy approach to the book would also have been an improvement in my opinion.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideal for novices just setting out or experienced professionals wanting to brush up., 2 Feb 2013
By 
Danielle (Port Talbot, Neath Port Talbot United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This book was recommended to me by one of the most talented UX experts I've met when I expressed an interest in learning more about UX and user interface design.

As the world of commercial web-design becomes an increasingly competitive world, so the importance of a positive user experience becomes increasingly important. Long gone are the days of static websites and basic functionality, today's successful websites have to leave the user feeling like they have been at a five-star spa. Designing this user experience is what this book aims to teach you.

The book is broken down into four main sections such as tools and processes with each section further broken into subsections for each topic. Plenty of coverage is given to each topic, though as others have said the book does at times feel 'waffly' and over-written.

As a newcomer to UX design you'll find a wealth of information here which while it won't make you an expert it will give you the breadth of information on the subject to really get to grips with the subject.

A seasoned UX professional will find interesting perspectives and perhaps more detail on topics you've only skimmed before.

In summary then, a good if not brilliant book that earns five stars for the wealth of information and breadth of the topics covered, though almost only got four because of the places few where the book feels forced.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Smashing Magazine do not disappoint, 12 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
This is a fantastic book. If there was a 3-year degree course in UX, I can't imagine it would teach you any more than this book. I read it once through, bookmarked and drew all over it and now revisit it regularly for my work (web design/basic development/project management). The first half focused on tools and methodologies for establishing your audience, assessing your effectiveness and dealing with the relevant people involved. The second half is a reference guide to web pages with different goals and how best to achieve those.
I have so many design books, dev books, UX books; if they were all lost in a house fire, this is probably the only one I'd need to buy again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
Covers the bases.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great - recommend this, 21 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
I recommend this book as it outlines the UX - clear layout, good use of images and description on the book - worth buying
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous book, 14 Jun 2013
By 
Gsp "gsp100677" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
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Smashing Magazine has always been a great design resource, and this book lives up to that reputation in the field of user experience design.

It's beautifully laid out, bound (the softback), and presented - and also goes into great detail and depth on every topic on UX design for a newcomer, right through to more advanced level for those with experience in the field.

Covers the need for UX design right through all stages of projects, mainly focused on software project as expected.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Useful broad coverage, 14 Jan 2013
By 
antom "antom" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
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If you have been involved in the development or design of any systems requiring user interfaces, or indeed in any Agile projects recently, you are probably already familiar with at least some of the techniques under the UX umbrella. Such techniques include: product boxes, storyboards, personas, usability testing, usage analytics, competitor benchmarking, workshops, sketching, wireframes and prototypes.

Smashing UX Design does a good job in explaining such techniques, but it also offers insights from the authors' experiences in using UX techniques. The authors also describe how they actually plan and run their workshops, overcome problems and ensure the clients are kept engaged in the workshops and projects. All this is very helpful.

The first two-thirds of this book offer advice about the process and techniques of user experience design. The last third also offers tips and guidance for the design of web pages, focussing on a typical web site containing product pages, information pages, shopping charts etc.

The book gives a comprehensive coverage, but don't expect a quick read or a book that you can quickly skim through - the book has over 400 text-heavy pages.
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5.0 out of 5 stars UX design laid bare, this book is a goldmine for web site builders, 17 Oct 2012
By 
Mr. P. HAIGH (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences (Smashing Magazine Book Series) (Paperback)
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Smashing Magazine are known for informative articles on web design and, more recently, informative books too. Smashing UX Design is not the first of their books to cross my path and I've learnt that, much like O'Reilly books, they are about providing solid value ahead of pushing out book after book regardless of the quality of the content.

So with Smashing UX Design you have over 400 pages devoted to user-centric techniques for perfecting web site design. These guys are the experts and if you have the budget to do it properly this book gives you all the information you need to get it done - or enough to tell you that you should hire the authors in.

Alternatively if, like must of us, you don't have budget to blow, this book gives you enough information to work out what to prioritise and how to get the maximum benefit from your investment.

I've not read the entire book - yet - but I've read enough to know that it is going to be extremely useful over many projects to come.
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