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.
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
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.