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on 1 March 2006
This book is very good. With a very clear design (which helps when you read a book about user experience), you get a continuous and progressive flow of the different layers you should think about when designing applications. Mainly focused on the final user experience, it is a resource full of practical examples based on experience.
The concepts, though, are based on the presumption that you are the designer of a big application and that you have the mighty power to get what you want. Even though it's a pretty good tick-list of things you need to think about when designing an application, it is often only completely applicable if working with more than 5 people in the development team.
Excellent for technical/design managers that need to ensure an application will be designed wisely.
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on 29 March 2007
Like the other reviewers I thought this was worthwhile read. It's worth pointing out it's deliberately not a scholarly text, (similar in tone to Krug's Don't Make Me Think) so it's an easy read on a train journey or similar. I liked the way it's very business focused - I can see that this is couched in genuine experience of working within small to medium design projects. As an example, it is probably the only book I have read on usability which both acknowledges the existence of, and the risks associated with, UAT - an exercise which has probably wasted more of my time than any other. I also like the requirements focus, and the acknowledgement of "site objectives", other than just user requirements, having a place in design. In theory it should extend out to large projects, but I think that scenario presents a whole new set of problems, only some of which are touched on.

Where I think it falls down is that, while I like the bones, there's not much flesh. I think you actually need to be trained in the arts and magics of UCD beforehand to know what technique you would apply or what design principle is relevant at any given point (and, on behalf of the graphic designers and information scientists out there, I think it is equally light on what their work involves). Yes, it talks about lab tests and contextual enquiry but it needs some expertise to know exactly which method to apply, or which design choices to make. So, if you were a newcomer without an experienced UX professional on hand, you will need to do a bit of follow up reading. And also there is not a single mention on accessibility which, for a book on web user experience, is a shocking omission.

For me, as a UX professional working in an organisation, I can see its real value as part of practical training - for instance, giving non- or junior UX people this book to read (particularly other stakeholders in the design process such as BAs) and saying to them "Have a read, and then we can discuss which methods, techniques, design principles are the best ones for your product"
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on 27 February 2008
Since the day I got this book, my outlook on the process of designing for the web has changed entirely.

Regardless of the examples, the guidelines and advice in this book can be applied to any design for the web. The book is very manageable, starting off explaining Jesse James Garrett's 'Elements of User Experience' diagram in summary, so that you can grasp the concept, and then going into much more detail of how to plan the elements of a project in an effective way.

It isn't written in an academic tone, which makes this an interesting and easily-digestible read in a few hours and, if you're anything like me, you'll end up dipping into it for advice whenever you're broaching user testing or any similar exercise.

I am only currently a student, but I have the 'Elements of User Experience' diagram on my wall and I use it to help plan all of my projects. This book opens your eyes to so many aspects of user experience that it would be difficult coming away from reading it without learning something new.
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on 15 December 2009
I initially wanted this book because I thought it would give me actual research insight into user experience for the web. In fact it's much more general, there are no specifics at all except an example of implementing a search engine, which is in itself only discussed in very general terms. But I still found the overview interesting and readable. A lot of it just reads like common sense, I can't say I learned much new when reading this - and I'm no expert - but it's useful to have all the processes, terminology and layers involved in building a website set out in an organised way for you to refer to. For more specific advice about each step in the process, there's further reading given. Agree with the reviewer who points out that the processes JJG advocates are really aimed at large organisations with big budgets.
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on 8 July 2009
This book acts as both an excellent introduction and a roadmap into the field of user experience. It covers the process of creating a user centred website; all the way from gathering needs through to production of the website interface design.

As it leads you through the, now famous, conceptual model the key skills required to produce a user centric website are introduced. It carefully avoids the trap of going into great depth on each skill. Instead it suggests other books and media that focus on particular skills. This allows the book to focus on the high level process.

This book won't make you a UX professional but it will set you on the right road. It will also have the added benefit of improving your design process. I recommend it to all web designers and website managers.
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on 6 November 2009
I believe this book is directed towards absolute beginners in the area of online plannning and production. Anyone who has previously been involved in any sort of web project would perhaps find this book too light-weight. I certainly did. Usability is a technical discipline, with deep foundations in HCI (human-computer interaction). It is not pragmatic either, and there is no sign of a single real-world example.

I bought this book in light of fine-tuning the user experience of an interactive online application still in development. The elements, e.g. scope, strategy, skeleton, sounded appealing. Instead the chapters dedicated to each of these elements were half-baked and strangely lacking. I can't exactly justify my disappointment. Maybe this quote from the book will clarify:

"For resource constraints, technological or organization changes can sometimes - but, importantly, not always - reduce the resource burden, enabling a feature to be implemented. (However, impossible things will remain impossible. Sorry.)"

That marks my turning point, and giving up with it altogether. That's after 80 pages of similar torture. I just felt slightly insulted, perhaps. But again, this might be perfectly suited to someone who, for instance, has just leapt from an avid knitting, scrapbooking or crafts career into the online production world.

My 11 and some pounds could have been spent on a third of a decent book.
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on 18 February 2010
It is without any doubt a very well written book, but if you are somewhat trained on usability it is not the must to read item.
If you are instead a newbie to user experience and want to have a basic overview you can not miss it.
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on 12 November 2013
Absolutely essential reading if this is an area of professional or personal interest.
It made me think differently about some of the projects I was involved with over the past 10 years.
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on 5 August 2004
Really good, creative source of knowledge and wisdom. You always know when book is bad, middle or excellent. This one is excellent. From the illustrations to the content, it's full of creative ideas, tested in real world environments.
Book is written in friendly style and can be read and understood quite easily. Highly recommend it to professionals and students.
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