Designing Interfaces

Designing InterfacesThe subtitle of this book says it all: *Patterns for effective Interaction Design*

The book uses a familiar style by presenting problems with pattern like solutions. While it is a very good style for a reference, it is prohibitive to a full cover to cover read. Now I am not saying this book is bad or anything. It simply is a treasure trove. Knowing how to implement which UI mechanisms is one thing. Knowing when to use which UI mechanism is more like a form of art. There are factors at play which are not based at cold hard logic. It’s about user perception, expectations and experience. Depending on the kind of user and the level of skill among the users, different solutions should be chosen.

For instance, take PhotoShop. I am in no way an avid PhotoShop user. I can get along with a lot of searching through documentation and online tutorials. But I can still remember my feelings when I first started PhotoShop with the intent to do a simple edit. A sheer and utter feeling of being overwhelmed. Now PhotoShop is like it is for a reason. Lots of people work with this tool all day long. Imagine having to work all day long having to go through piles and piles of wizards and dialogue boxes, I guess you wouldn’t be a happy user anymore. This little bit of information was sort of footnoted next to one of the patterns.

Each of the 94 patterns are thick with useful titbits and examples of when and when not to use a particular pattern. If you’re a interaction designer, I think this book is a must buy. If you’re a developer doing any serious UI related work, I’d say this book is a must read. Just having read this book will change your perception of the way users look at your user interfaces.

Just one question left: What’s with the duck?