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Designing a good interface isn't easy. Users demand software that is well-behaved, good-looking, and easy to use. Your clients or managers demand originality and a short time to market. Your UI technology -- web applications, desktop software, even mobile devices -- may give you the tools you need, but little guidance on how to use them well.

UI designers over the years have refined the art of interface design, evolving many best practices and reusable ideas. If you learn these, and understand why the best user interfaces work so well, you too can design engaging and usable interfaces with less guesswork and more confidence.

Designing Interfaces captures those best practices as design patterns -- solutions to common design problems, tailored to the situation at hand. Each pattern contains practical advice that you can put to use immediately, plus a variety of examples illustrated in full color. You'll get recommendations, design alternatives, and warningson when not to use them.

Each chapter's introduction describes key design concepts that are often misunderstood, such as affordances, visual hierarchy, navigational distance, and the use of color. These give you a deeper understanding of why the patterns work, and how to apply them with more insight.

A book can't design an interface for you -- no foolproof design process is given here -- but Designing Interfaces does give you concrete ideas that you can mix and recombine as you see fit. Experienced designers can use it as a sourcebook of ideas. Novice designers will find a roadmap to the world of interface and interaction design, with enough guidance to start using these patterns immediately.

Published: O'Reilly Media, Inc. on
ISBN: 9780596519087
List price: $39.99
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Availability for Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell
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Great reference that collects common interface patterns for different types of interface issues.more
This is a UI design version of the OOP design patterns book by Erich Gamma, et al. The book is beautifully laid out and contains a ton of detailed screen shots (as a book about visual ui design should be). Like Erich's book, this one can be read as a reference book that talks about the "what", "use when", "why" and "how" of each design pattern.Although seemingly complete with over 94 "patterns", I felt this is a bit overwhelming. While most patterns are commonly known UI controls/constructs (e.g. breadcrumb, property sheet, tree table), features (e.g. multi-level undo, skins, preview) and concepts (responsive disclosure, good defaults), there are other minor/obvious items that I felt should not be called "patterns" (e.g. escape hatch, liquid layout).The goal of a good "patterns" book should be to discuss as few patterns as possible that covers the vast majority 80-90% of the problem space. Erich's book had about two dozen patterns which well covers the world of the object-oriented programming. This book, 94! Some "patterns" dubiously overlap each other not just by a little: escape hatch, cancel-ability, forgiveness, undo... They are all the same thing to me.I felt this book would have been so much better if the author could have taken more time to distill the "patterns" down to fewer core ones and talk about each a little more in depth. Alternatively, just talk about purely visual controls and leave feature/concepts out of the picture. "Completeness" is not always a good thing.more
This book gives a broad tour of various interface elements and principles of interaction design. Discussions cover both software graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and web interfaces. Among other things, Tidwell covers many mechanisms in detail using patterns, which are a way of representing a prototypical solution to commonly encountered design problems. This book contains hands-on information and is well-suited for practitioners.more
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Reviews

Great reference that collects common interface patterns for different types of interface issues.more
This is a UI design version of the OOP design patterns book by Erich Gamma, et al. The book is beautifully laid out and contains a ton of detailed screen shots (as a book about visual ui design should be). Like Erich's book, this one can be read as a reference book that talks about the "what", "use when", "why" and "how" of each design pattern.Although seemingly complete with over 94 "patterns", I felt this is a bit overwhelming. While most patterns are commonly known UI controls/constructs (e.g. breadcrumb, property sheet, tree table), features (e.g. multi-level undo, skins, preview) and concepts (responsive disclosure, good defaults), there are other minor/obvious items that I felt should not be called "patterns" (e.g. escape hatch, liquid layout).The goal of a good "patterns" book should be to discuss as few patterns as possible that covers the vast majority 80-90% of the problem space. Erich's book had about two dozen patterns which well covers the world of the object-oriented programming. This book, 94! Some "patterns" dubiously overlap each other not just by a little: escape hatch, cancel-ability, forgiveness, undo... They are all the same thing to me.I felt this book would have been so much better if the author could have taken more time to distill the "patterns" down to fewer core ones and talk about each a little more in depth. Alternatively, just talk about purely visual controls and leave feature/concepts out of the picture. "Completeness" is not always a good thing.more
This book gives a broad tour of various interface elements and principles of interaction design. Discussions cover both software graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and web interfaces. Among other things, Tidwell covers many mechanisms in detail using patterns, which are a way of representing a prototypical solution to commonly encountered design problems. This book contains hands-on information and is well-suited for practitioners.more
Totally awesome book on user interface design.Easy to absorb information, presented in beautiful way.What I liked about the book is that it does not cover the very basic stuff that is usually obvious, but dives deeply into the principles of good UI design.more
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