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Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction Hardcover – 26 Feb 2009
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From the Back Cover
[Software Engineering / User Interface]
Ben Shneiderman & Catherine Plaisant
written in collaboration with Maxine Cohen & Steve Jacobs
Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction provides a comprehensive introduction to the dynamic field of human-computer interaction (HCI). An expanded author team brings unparalleled industry and academic experience to this latest edition. Practical techniques, research-supported design guidelines, and a multitude of current examples and figures illustrate good design principles and practices, effectively guiding readers through their first HCI design projects.
The Fifth Edition addresses the profound changes engendered by user-generated content and social media participation, which increase the need for compelling user experiences. Topics covered include:
• Current HCI issues, with balanced emphasis on mobile devices, the Web, and desktop platforms
• Innovations in social media and social networking
• Strategies for enhancing quality of user-generated content
• Universal usability, sustainable design, and societal transformation
• Spam, privacy, security, and other contemporary challenges
• Internationalization issues and customization of consumer electronics
• Recent research results and innovative commercial products
The Companion Website (www.aw.com/DTUI) includes quizzes, links, discussion questions, additional practice opportunities, and resources for both students and professors.
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About the Author
Ben Shneiderman is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983―2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil), and Member of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and the Institute for Systems Research, all at the University of Maryland at College Park. He is a Fellow of the ACM and AAAS and received the ACM CHI (Computer Human Interaction) Lifetime Achievement Award. His books, research papers, and frequent lectures have made him an international leader in this emerging discipline. For relaxation he likes biking, hiking, skiing, and travel.
Catherine Plaisant is Associate Research Scientist at the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory of the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. She earned a Doctorat d’Ingénieur degree in France in 1982 and has been conducting research in the field of human-computer interaction since then. In 1987, she joined Professor Shneiderman at the University of Maryland, where she has worked with students and members of the lab, throughout the growth of the field of human-computer interaction. Her research contributions range from focused interaction techniques to innovative visualizations validated with user studies to practical applications developed with industrial partners.
Maxine S. Cohen is a Professor in the Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she teaches graduate courses in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Before joining NSU, she worked at IBM in the User Centered Design department. Prior to IBM, she was a faculty member in the Computer Science department, in the Watson School of Engineering at the State University of New York at Binghamton. She has been teaching and working in the HCI field for over 20 years. She received a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Vermont, a M.S. (specialization Computer Science) and a Ph.D. (specialization Systems Science) from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
Steven M. Jacobs recently retired from the aerospace industry and is now a lecturer at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona. He was formerly with Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in Carson, California. Mr. Jacobs managed engineers developing user interface and web applications software for various government and commercial applications. He was also Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California for 17 years, where he developed and taught their graduate computer science courses in user interface design and human performance engineering. He has also taught short courses in similar topics for UCLA Extension and ACM. He received his M.S.C.S. from UCLA, B.A. in Mathematics from Monmouth University (N.J.).
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately, and astonishingly, this 600 page book has pretty much no actionable content. It is a high level descriptive romp through the subject at a superficial and occasionally facile level - for example, from a page opened at random: "Social media participation can involve 10 people in a chat room or hundreds of millions of discretionary users in an environment such as Facebook or Myspace." So what? The authors never seem to convert their rather uninsightful observations into any valid or useful recommendation for action. This is the sort of book for which the phrase "No s**t, Sherlock" was invented.
At the beginning of the book the authors list "Ways to use this book". I can recommend one more: put it on your bookshelf and point at it. That's about as valuable as it gets.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It was entirely renewed and fully updated.
I have shared this textbook with my HCI undergraduate and graduate HCI students this semester and they liked it a lot and found it touches well and thoroughly current HCI issues!
Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant present and discuss timely most key HCI theories, concepts, ideas and applications.
I strongly recommend this book for academic and professional HCI courses.
So a portion of the book is common sense that can apply to creating interfaces in any decade. Your interface needs to be easy for a brand new user to use. It should provide "training wheels" for those new to the system, and then ease them into full use. A well done design should account for both elderly users and disabled users.
Various concepts are covered, like:
gulf of execution - mismatch between user's intentions and allowable actions
gulf of evaluation - mismatch systems representation and user's expectations
On one hand you could say these are good foundations for any designer to understand. You want to create icons that users understand without a thick manual. You want users to be able to quickly get the hang of your system and enjoy using it. But on the other hand, the book almost seems to assume that the user has never seen a keyboard or mouse before starting in to the topic. Surely readers know what a menu is, and how to navigate it. I'm all for books covering the basics and then going on to more complex topics, but the book wallows a little too much in those basics.
Also, the language tends to sway between incredibly simple and incredibly dense. Where the book teaches you to identify and speak to your audience, the book itself isn't able to do that well. Sometimes it assumes the reader is a visitor from the 1800s who has never heard of a computer, never mind tried to use one. Then a few pages later the page is describing a situation with incredibly technical language that is unclear even to experienced programmers.
Still, if we assume the purpose of this book is to give an overview about what things a designer should consider when creating a design, the book does that well. It has a variety of graphics drawn from current websites, that will help the content be understandable to web-savvy users. If you complain that some of the tips are extremely obvious, you can give that same complaint about just about any book you read. They have to include obvious tips as well as the advanced ones, so they cover all the bases.
So how to rate this? As an esoteric "overview of how computers should work" I give it 4/5 stars. It has generally accurate information, with helpful graphics, and while the language is sometimes oversimplified and sometimes obtuse, it generally is quite readable.
However, know going into it that the book is meant for this type of an overview. This is NOT a book I would ever give to any web designer or interface designer as a helpful tool to use and keep on the shelf. You can't flip the book open to a section to get tips on designing areas of your application. You can't scan through charts telling you what to do and what to avoid. While many other books are laid out well for this sort of purpose, Designing the User Interface is not.
When I read my many other books on computers and design, I amassed copious notes that I would use in my programming life. When I finished this one, I had accumulated barely a page of notes at the end.
The good: It's clear that the authors have a wealth of experience in the field. I actually like the bibliography at the end of each chapter. I'm making my students read some of the journal articles from there. Book covers a broad range of topics.
The bad: This book seems like less of a textbook and more of a survey of the entire breadth of the field. As a computer scientist I often found myself wanting more data, or more details on certain topics. Many of the "findings" of researchers are simply mentioned in passing, as in so-and-so discovered this. Many times I was yearning for more details. Other areas where I didn't want a lot of detail I got more than I wanted. As a die-hard computer scientist I found the book a bit touchy-feely and wishy-washy for my tastes. There seemed to be a lot of subjective statements, and opinions stated without accurately representing the other side. For example the author comes out very strongly against anthropomorphic design (which I tend to agree with), and makes sweeping statements about how users always prefer to NOT have this sort of design. Yet, research in using anthropomorphic interfaces in healthcare has shown that most users prefer such a design (at least in the limited domains of the research.) Many of the revolutionary discoveries in the book my students saw as common sense. (Granted it's hard to see that someone had to invent or discover certain design concepts that we take for granted now.) The students felt they were being talked down to by the author's and longed for more CS heavy material.
I've read journal articles by the first author and they read much better than most of the book. Perhaps it's a bad editing job on the book?
The ugly: The PPT slides provided by the publisher are TERRIBLE. Fonts are too small, misspellings, images with text are cut and pasted into the slides and the text becomes too small, and blocky if expanded. Information that is emphasized in the text gets one slide, whereas certain paragraphs in the book that are not emphasized get 4 or 5 slides. I cannot say enough about how bad the slides are.
Strengths are the depth and breadth of coverage, rich reference list and great pictures/images.