Douglas van Duyne is senior director of customer experience products and design at Keynote Systems, the worldwide leader in Web performance measurement and management systems. He was the cofounder, president, and CEO of NetRaker, a leader in customer experience management solutions, prior to NetRaker's acquisition by Keynote in April 2004. Doug has more than twenty years of entrepreneurial, management, and software design experience.
Doug's management experience includes positions at GO Corporation, an early portable computing developer, and software product design at KidSoft, a pioneering e-commerce company before the advent of Web-based shopping. As principal of Dune Design Group, Inc., he consulted on major Web site design projects for Intel, Safeway, Cooking.com, and healthshop.com.
Doug studied computer science, physics, visual arts, and music at the University of California, Berkeley, and he has a B. S. in computer science.
James A. Landay is a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches courses in human-computer interaction. He is also the CTO and cofounder of NetRaker.
Jason I. Hong is a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked at IBM Research, Fuji Xerox Palo Alto Laboratories, and Xerox Research, and is a consultant for eDealFinder.com.
The book begins with a short chapter on the foundations of good design, which provides principles, dispels myths, and stays focused on customer-centric goals. The heart of the book is Part II, which consists of 12 different design patterns based on real life examples. It leads you through each example, showing you how a particular design or design concept works and why. This is akin to the Rosetta Stone for the non-professional designer because the authors do not assume any talent of skills in design, and subtle points are highlighted and clearly explained. Because of this approach I finally understood concepts that had eluded me in the past. In addition to the clear explanations that distill design into patterns, the book is lavishly illustrated, using copious full color examples and a structured format that gives the background, frames the problem and provides a solution to each of the 12 design goals.
Material in the appendices is also invaluable, including advice on running usability evaluation, and associated plan outlines and forms. For a development group this is an extra bonus that will make it easier to incorporate the principles in this book into a quality process that gives customer-focused usability the same weight as technical quality criteria.
I'm so enthusiastic about this book that I've recommended to the company for which I work that a copy of this book be provided to each of our developers who are programming wizards, but who stumble when it comes to the user interface.
Dont let "look inside" pictures that amazon has posted fool you - they are probably the only boring sections of the book. In part 2 (about page 100), the book gets really really good. For the next 500 pages they cover almost every area of of web design imaginable and present the areas in a problem - solution format. Many books dont offer concrete techniques, just tell you - "design for the user", "users hate poorly designed pages" etc etc. Each problem/solution is about 2 pages long, and they are web techniques that can be applied to almost every web site. They literally say to solve X problem do Y solution. Very specific, very useful.
The book also is good from cover to cover. I have found that alot of books are good for the first chapter and then loose quality. They present each "nugget of information" with the perfect amount of description - enough to explain why its useful, but not too much to drag on.
They also use these hand drawn pictures that I liked to show how a generic web page would function, instead of only pictures of pre-existing web pages ( which they also have ample examples) So you can actually apply it to your project instead of saying, I understand why hotmail looks the way it does. I would recommend this book to anyone, hands down.
I don't want to know how to make what's hip and hot...I can figure that out for myself. What I want is to see how I can implement proven strategies that help users (my users) get things done as they use the product. And that's the true strength of this book; it's what it's all about. With almost 100 'patterns' of website design, this book breaks it down in simple, easy-to-get terms, that I, a technical usability specialist can understand and then turn around and reproduce. It's almost like a cookbook, in the sense that the book shows me:
1) What the patterns is, how it's used in the real world, and different flavors of it
2) Why the pattern is good, how it's been successful, and in some cases how it's been refined.
3) How the pattern works, what are it's components, and what does it need to be successful
4) And finally, what other patterns it's like, and how by incorporating parts of other patterns, I can strengthen my users' experience.
I want this...I don't have time to be reinventing the wheel every time my employer or a client wants a site. I need to be able to pick up a reference book and see exactly what a `community' site (or one of a hundred other types of sites) is like, so I have a good starting place to work from as I delve into what the project sponsor wants. This book helps me by already doing the leg-work of research into best practices, common features, and pitfalls. By giving me that already, I don't have to spend time doing figuring that stuff already out, and rather can spend time doing what's important...listening to my client, employer, and user base to figure out how to meet their specific needs, and make them all happy.
That's easily worth the price of admission.