Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Rules Paperback – 12 Jun. 2010
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- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 012375030X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0123750303
- Dimensions : 19.69 x 1.27 x 24.13 cm
- Publisher : Morgan Kaufmann (12 Jun. 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 943,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
"Take fundamental principles of psychology. Illustrate. Combine with Fundamental Principles of Design. Stir gently until fully blended. Read daily until finished. Caution: The mixture is addictive"--Don Norman, Nielsen Norman group, Author of Design of Future Things.
"This book is a primer to understand the why of the larger human action principles at work―a sort of cognitive science for designers in a hurry. Above all, this is a book of profound insight into the human mind for practical people who want to get something done."-- Stuart Card, Senior Research Fellow and the manager of the User Interface Research group at the Palo Alto Research Centerfrom the foreword
"If you want to know why design rules work, Jeff Johnson provides fresh insight into the psychological rationale for user-interface design rules that pervade discussions in the world of software product and service development."--Aaron Marcus, President, Aaron Marcus and Associates, Inc.
"As anyone who has taken a course in human-computer interaction (HCI) will attest, cognitive science textbooks tend towards the drier end of the literary spectrum. The achievement of this book in making the material easily accessible is therefore nothing short of magnificent. It discusses the relevant scientific findings without any lack of scholarship, but always with an eye to how those findings can be put to practical use."--BCS, British Computer Society Online, November 2010
"Rather than simply presenting another list of rules, it discusses the cognitive psychology research findings which underpin the principles identified previously by the author and others. In other words, this is a book about people, and what we know about them as users of interactive systems."--BCS, The British Computer Society Online
"Anyone who designs or implements software user interfaces will benefit greatly from this book. Whether you create desktop software, websites, or mobile apps, this book will improve the quality of your work. Johnson makes the psychology and physiology understandable and seamlessly combines it with software engineering… Designing with the Mind in Mind is informative, fascinating, easy to read, and, most importantly, highly practical."-- ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering
Top reviews from United Kingdom
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Unfortunately Jeff seems to suffer from his books being a bit mis-described and mis-sold, the rather over-excitable description above suggests the book is for everyone from the cognitive psychologist to the milkman's gran ... it isn't, in the intro Jeff is quite clear it's for a subset of the development community, those of us involved in various aspects of designing and assembling user interfaces, but not the HCI professional, who should be beyond this stuff.
In terms of level, I think the content was taking me a little beyond what I covered (and mostly forgot since) on an HCI module in an engineering degree. So if you have a degree focussed on usability, or a masters in software, this is probably beneath you now.
That isn't to say it is inaccessible to others, I think you'll understand and benefit from it even if you don't code for a living, you just need to be interested in human behaviour and why we respond in certain ways to certain stimuli. The book steps through the various aspects of cognitive psychology that are relevant to humans interacting with devices, breaks them down into laymans terms and shows how they apply to a user interface. He uses a combination of real world, software and web examples to illustrate the principles. It actually ends up quite an exciting and engaging read. I got through it in a week, which is unusual for me.
I think Jeff has made a real effort to use a good spread of examples across different sectors, different types of interface and environment. Unlike many other books it doesn't suffer from being too web-specific, or too US-specific, although I will say it didn't render too well on a Kindle (tables truncated, colours, etc!). Sometimes you might disagree with the examples, or feel they are a bit quirky, but I still felt I understood the message, and pondering on the appropriateness of, say, chasing a rabbit for dinner as a metaphor for resizing a window is probably a good exercise in processing the subject matter.
The book refers you elsewhere for full usability guidelines, design guides etc. This is about why those lists are what they are, and thus will help you choose and apply (or reject) the rules for your domain. It also doesn't deal with "selling" usability to a client within a team, I find the biggest problem is everyone (I mean everyone) thinks they can design an interface and trying to steer managers and analysts away from crashingly naive errors is hard work (programmers, at least, tend to know they have a peculiar outlook). I guess that would be a different book, but I did feel I wanted a little more.
My feeling is 4.5 stars, so I'll be generous and round it up.
I certainly pitch this at beginner to intermediate. The glossy pages and typeset are nice to read, and it's not an overlarge tome like some computer books. Follow it and you will improve the design of your sites, and along the way know why you're making those changes.
Of note, it cites the studies where the bits of information it talks about came from. Whilst it is good to know that this book is thoroughly based in fact, I didn't personally see a need to know up front about them, in an index would've been fine. This makes me wonder if the psychology/HCI Comp Sci. crowd might get more out of it because they get citations really easily!
I have detected a problem, though: to illustrate the Gestalt principle of proximity the author should not have used different colors, but only the spacing to suggest the two groups of objects. It's not exactly wrong, but it's a bit misleading.
I just wish I had read the review more carefully, when they say: "provides designers with just enough background in perceptual and cognitive psychology that UI design guidelines make intuitive sense" they really should have underlined "just".