Cooper's original "About Face" book was excellent, and his revised edition is even better. Littered with excellent advice, axioms and discussion, it is no joke to suggest that every software house that designs interfaces, be it for entertainment or business applications, needs a copy of this book.
It shows everything that is wrong with todays software, but not from a complaining standpoint, but rather a pro-active "how do we solve this?" position.
If you do software engineering, if you are a designer, a tester or involved in anyway in the production of software, you need this book.
on 15 December 2005
Being interested in HCI, I read this book following a recommendation, but ended up more irritated than illuminated. There are a few good observations on common features of computer interfaces that actually cause difficulties to users, and some obvious points, that could conceivable be helpful to poor souls who have grown up subjected to the interface anarchy of the Microsoft platform, but the book is overlong, uneven, full of jargon, inadequately updated for the second edition and prone to presenting dubious opinions that justify their own practice as facts without any discussion, never mind supporting evidence. (For example the assertion that new users learn a program from the menu items, and the toolbars are for more experienced users.) Ultimately, despite having sound ideas in some areas, the authors seem wedded to a cluttered interface with too many items for the user to comprehend. I suppose they make a living producing Windows software, where such clutter is the norm, but they seem to be completely ignorant of the perceptual aspects of interface design.
on 17 July 2003
The original About face was an excellent book but with the advent of the internet, handheld devices etc. was becoming a little dated.
About face 2.0 deals with how to's of interaction design for the new age. It details how to create software which solves the users goals rather than the developers technical fancy, with practical steps on how to go about it.
This book should be a permanent fixture on all designers (and dare I say it developers) bookshelves. I certainly recommend buying it.
on 1 August 2003
Thoughtful, deep, practical, well-written, comprehensive, and without a trace of padding. This excellent book is at once the deepest guide to the principles of user interfaces and a hands-on guide to GUI design. I'd recommend it for programmers, designers, managers, and more than usually streetwise academics.