Top critical review
It's full of useful advice... in theory
on 28 August 2015
This book is full of useful information and reliable best-practice guidelines for IXD. It's great in theory... however, in practice, I struggle to actually use the book as a UX designer.
It isn't really suitable to just sit and read cover-to-cover, as it's basically just a catalogue of patterns and there's no particular flow. The tidbits of interesting information are scattered throughout. For every pattern, there are examples, explanations and sometimes a short description of why they should behave a certain way. This is great, but if you're trying to just get a general idea of usability principles, you have to go through an awful lot of "a lightbox is this..." and pages and pages of screenshots to get to each paragraph of useful text.
So the book is really more of a reference guide to be dipped into as and when a UI design issue becomes apparent. You need to design a search results filter? Check the book and see exactly what works or doesn't work, why it works, and real-life examples of how it has been implemented on other sites and software.
However. And this is a big "however", the majority of the time when I am faced with an issue of "how do I design XYZ functionality?" the book does not have any relevant information about the exact pattern I need. Or if it does, the information is so short and vague, that it doesn't really tell me anything useful. An example is when I was creating a dashboard for an interface. This is a pretty major UX pattern, and thankfully the book contained a section outlining it. However there was only 4.5 pages in the book about it - mostly images - with about 100 words of text. No good for me.
It's also a royal pain trying to actually find certain patterns in this book, partly due to the organisation structure of the tome. This isn't a fault of the author or the editor - it's very difficult to put together a single architecture for conceptual, subjective subjects such as design patterns.
For finding this information, you would be better off simply googling your idea and the word "UX".