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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars

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".
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on 31 May 2011
This book is definitely a must-buy when you're doing anything related to designing interfaces for software. Why? Because it contains a thoroughly researched and very complete list of about all of the design patterns for interfaces that you will need at this moment.

In Designing Interfaces Tidwell describes everything that is necessary for designing an interface. She starts with the canvas, tells what lay-out is and then moves on to the numerous elements that make up an interface, such as how to get input from a user, how to present (complex) data, how to present lists, et cetera.

Each of the interface patterns is illustrated by a few example color screenshots and a set of answers to the following questions:
- What is it?
- When to use it?
- Why use it?
- How to use it?

This is not a book you read once and then put on a bookshelf. It is a book you flip through once, to take in the complete picture of the available interface design patterns. Then, whenever you have to design a interface (which comes around about every few weeks in my work as a SharePoint administrator and designer), you pick up the book once again to check if you're making the best decisions with regards to the data you have to present or the user input you need.

I did not give this book a 5 star rating, because although the book is comprehensive and clear, it lacks innovative user interface ideas. It describes what is current, but it does not lead the way towards new design patterns.

However, if you're not looking for something new, this book containing a good overview of the available user interface patterns is for definitely for you!
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VINE VOICEon 7 February 2011
This book considers and gives practical, useful advice on designing practical, useful interfaces to websites, web and desktop applications, mobile apps and so on, covering what the author refers to as 'interface idioms' - different styles and types of interface and giving clear direction on how users interact with them.

The patterns themselves are broken down into the what, where used, why and how the patterns are used - each section followed by great, clear screenshots with commentary on the good and bad of each design.

New sections in this edition include integrating social media into your site or app, and also looking at patterns for designing for the mobile web.

The section for mobile I found particularly interesting - it gave a comprehensive range of design patterns appropriate to mobile websites and apps, which gave me some really useful information for a new project.

Overall, a fascinating read, one you can dip into as necessary. Highly recommended
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on 25 August 2007
It has to be said that this is a nicely presented book - glossy, colourful. Curiously for a book about interaction/usability i found parts of it hard to read - i actually got lost on one page as to which was the next piece of text to read. (Bit ironic!)
My real dissatisfaction with the book lies in its lack of meaty content. I have been designing and coding UIs for many years but i expected to pick up some insights. I don't think i learned anything - it is all mere common sense. I had hoped for more. If this is the best UI book at the moment, then I'll save my money and not buy another. Maybe if you are new to the subject you will find it informative.
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on 22 August 2012
This book is a collection of some of the most common user interface patterns found in contemporary software and web applications.

The major advantage of this book are the clear explanations of each pattern and that do a good job at showing the design decisions behind them. It makes you think beyond the pattern and more on the interaction and navigation issues that you must identify within your widget, piece of software or webpage.

The book lacks some of the patterns found in web applications and mobile interfaces nowadays. Though there are other titles dedicated to these, I didn't find one yet that is as clear and informed about interface design as this one.

A book on interaction and interface design might be a good help before heading to this one. A background on these disciplines might help you take the most from this book, as well as this book will be a good hands on approach to the concepts learnt from those disciplines.

Although this is a reference book, I think it must be read through before it can be used comfortably. The text however is very clear and you can pick three patterns per day.
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on 26 July 2011
Patterns are present within IT industry for quite some time. Typically, books related to patterns application refer to particular language and present patterns either using either the language they refer to or using UML. Jenifer takes a different approach. Instead of providing reader with technology specific solution she shows how different UI related aspects can be organized and turned into reusable patterns. In first chapter, you will find description of various motives that drive users. This is the entry point for the rest of the book. How to react correctly to user's requirements (expectations) is a leading motive of the book. Following chapters focus on various aspects of UI design (e.g. navigating, retrieving user's input, presenting data, listing data). What is worth mentioning here is that Jenifer doesn't bind solutions to a particular technology or operating system. She tries to diversify and cover most common user environments. Of course, she shows examples that are based on real applications but these are used rather as an example instead of being one and only one proper solution.

What I like in the book is the way Jenifer presents the patterns. She goes with them, one by one, using structured schema: what will be covered by particular pattern, when is it used, why is it used, how should you use it, how does it look like (by example), and the reference to other sources mentioning given pattern. In general, this is good book, however I think that some conclusions are not solidly proven (especially related to user's behavior). On the other hand, UI efficiency is not something that you can easily prove.
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on 26 September 2014
Great literature. I use it in my education in Web Development.
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on 26 May 2011
Sitting down to design a form: this is the book to use. A palette of varied options with their pros, cons. Concerned with input options, data presentation, navigation, form layout... (see TOC).

This book is a list of ideas. Read it once to know the options. Skim trough it periodically not to overlook alternatives. The alternatives are varied, well illustrated, with a number of examples. Descriptions as long as they merit.

The book describes the current state of the art when designing functionality. In this it is quite complete. It doesn't concern itself with the general philosophy, process or tools.

A great book, highly recommended.
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on 3 August 2006
Jenifer has been asking for pattern contributions on the various special-interest lists since 2002. This book is the brilliant culmination of her work. Not only can she write, she talked O'Reilly into including hundreds of color illustrations to help clarify the concepts and techniques. A beautiful and thoroughly useful book that should be on every web designer's bookshelf.
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on 10 April 2007
I found this book extremely difficult to read. The typeface was not easy on the eye. It's sans serif, slightly wider than standard and not quite black. Coupled with this, the pages are a bit wider than usual so you have to follow the line further. I was looking at the words rather than reading, which proved such hard work that I gave up.

Dipping into the book randomly suggests that it contains pearls of wisdom but I'm amazed that a book on designing user interfaces has been too poorly presented to be easily readable.
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