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Contextual Design: Defining Customer-Centered Systems (Interactive Technologies) Paperback – 1 Sep 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (1 Sept. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558604111
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558604117
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 2.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 691,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"If necessity is the mother of invention, then if you don't know what the users need you can't invent. Karen and Hugh present a step-by-step way to uncover, understand, and use those needs. If developers are not already using techniques like those presented here, they should read this book carefully to see what they are missing."
―-Dan Bricklin, co-creator of VisiCalc

"Hugh Beyer and Karen Holtzblatt are widely recognized as the foremost experts on contextual inquiry, and they have packed what they know into a book of both substance and intelligence. It has been a long wait but worth it. The book lucidly shows how to capture the real requirements of customers and how to tailor designs to fit their needs. If you care about your customers and want to create products they as well as want, then you need to understand contextual inquiry and contextual design. You need this book."
--Larry Constantine, Principal Consultant, Constantine & Locwood, Ltd.; Professor of Computing Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney (Australia); Author of Constantine on Peopleware and Software for User

"For many years, Beyer and Holtzblatt have been pioneers in the field of human-computer interaction, showing how the context of computer use can be (and needs to be) the central focus of analysis and design. This book conveys the understanding and wisdom that they have gained from their experience in contextual design in a form that is accessible to students and design practitioners. It will serve as a guide and handbook for the next generation of interaction designers, and as a result we can expect the usability and appropriateness of computer systems to be greatly improved."
--Terry Winograd, Stanford University

About the Author

Hugh Beyer is a co-founder of In Context Enterprises, Inc. a firm that works with companies, coaching teams to design products, product strategies, and information systems from customer data. Hugh Beyer has pioneered the link between the customer-centered front end and object-oriented design.


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Format: Paperback
I've been searching all over for good guides to the *process* of human-centered design as opposed to the techniques for good UI: This book is excellent on two counts
1. The principles and methods you advocate
2. The lack of competition, but this doesn't distract from the quality of the book.
There are lots of books on how to do UI, but they all concentrate upon the widgets. This is the only one I have seen that really tells you how to go out and collect customer data, and then, what to do about it. I also like the way it deals with UI design -- do it only after the analysis -- resist the temptation to start the design too soon.
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Format: Paperback
The book offers a fantastic guide to project teams for creating excellent software. If any group follows the design practices prescribed by Contextual Design, their users are likely to find the resulting software actually enhances their work practice, rather than gets in their way.
The book works on the level of processes that project teams should follow to understand their users work and then to build the software to enhance that work practice. Someone wanting to focus on the level of GUI interface guidelines should look elsewhere.
What is amazing to me so far as I read and use the book is how often these authors are saying something that is not only novel but also simply right.
Great job by Holtzblatt and Beyer!
-- Joe Grant
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book changed my life. It showed me the power of creating software, more specifically, how you can change the world if you really understand the context in which your creation will be used. The more you understand the context, the more you can change it by revolutionizing it with a new way of doing things.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Content good, editing bad 31 July 2012
By M. J. Downey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Kindle edition is laden with typos and editing errors. Looks like they converted an early draft rather than something that'd been copy-edited. The content is good; but it'd be nice if the obvious errors weren't so distracting.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars explains the customer's role in product design 7 July 2001
By Steve Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Contextual Design explains the customer's role in product design to high-tech product teams. It gives techniques and procedures on how to integrate customers (and potential customers) into the development cycle. The most important section for product managers is the chapter on techniques for interviewing (called "Contextual Inquiry" in the book's lexicon) details how to conduct an onsite interview, what to watch for, and which follow-up questions to ask. While geared to the systems analyst, the book is valuable to anyone responsible for gathering prospect problems at an onsite meeting.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 23 Jun. 2009
By R. Parthasarathy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I will review this product from its material standpoint and not from an implementation standpoint. The book was part of a class I took in Carnegie Mellon. It makes for a fascinating read. Some of the topics are excellent food for thought for human/user centric design of software products. The class assignments involved mock implementations of the concepts described in the book which was fun.
Coming from an embedded world, I haven't had a chance to implement these ideas in my day to day work but if I ever work on a user centric product, I hope to try some of the ideas.
Good read.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If only more software was designed this way! 19 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The book offers a fantastic guide to project teams for creating excellent software. If any group follows the design practices prescribed by Contextual Design, their users are likely to find the resulting software actually enhances their work practice, rather than gets in their way.
The book works on the level of processes that project teams should follow to understand their users work and then to build the software to enhance that work practice. Someone wanting to focus on the level of GUI interface guidelines should look elsewhere.
What is amazing to me so far as I read and use the book is how often these authors are saying something that is not only novel but also simply right.
Great job by Holtzblatt and Beyer!
-- Joe Grant
12 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Useless 27 Nov. 2001
By Michael D - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is quite a useless book about an otherwise interesting subject. The writers give redundancy and repetition new meaning as they repeat themselves by saying the same thing over and over innumerable ways.
That said, the examples scattered throughout the text are the most interesting part.
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