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About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design Paperback – Mar 14 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd.; 1 edition (March 14 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764526413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764526411
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 3.3 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 885 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,457,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


“…very informative and challenging…ought to be read by any one who makes any claim to design user interfaces. Highly recommended..” (ACCU, 13th February, 2005)

"...provides detailed and easily readable information on interaction design..." (M2 Best Books, 23 July 2003)

"developers have a lot to learn from this book..." (Managing Information, April 2004)

From the Back Cover

Dear Reader, In the eight years since this book was first published, the ideas that seemed do radical at first have become standard models across the industry. Many practicioners have adopted them and seen dramatic improvements in their products. This book would not have been possible without the commitment of the many organizations over the past decade that hired Cooper, my design consulting company. They demonstrated a great measure of self-confidence to break from the pack. By the same token, the many brilliant and talented people who have worked at Cooper have pushed the limits of my original thinking far beyond where I started. They have put their professional reputations on the line to prove that there is a higher standard and better ways to achieve it. In this significantly revised and expanded edition of the book, Robert Reimann and I have rewritten and reorganized every page. Together we have: Updated examples to reflect the current state of the art, and included more examples from Cooper design solutions Included references to recent technology and industry developments Added an entirely new section covering Cooper's Goal-Directed Design methods such as personas, goals, and scenarios in detail Added new chapters on visual design, as well as interaction design issues for embedded systems and the Web Added a bibliography of design reference sources Thanks for joining me in the pursuit of better software, happier programmers and designers, more successful businesses, and extremely satisfied users. Sincerely, Alan Cooper Founder & Chairman of the Board Cooper 'About Face 2. 0 is one of the very rare design books that's fun to read, even though it rocks fundamental beliefs and packs the page with useful information. It's a must-read for anyone who wants to understand what the software design process should be (but usually isn't). The perspective is unique: intellectually rigorous enough for academics while remaining focused on helping practitioners. I'd recommend this book to anybody in the business. ' - Harley Manning, Research Director, Forrester Research

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Our book has a simple premise: If achieving the user's goals is the basis of our design process, the user will be satisfied and happy. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Personas and goal-directed design are great techniques for putting together a quality product and really making sure that you're building the right things for your users. In particular, this book provides a process for doing design that would help most teams do a better job of being more customer-focused.
Unfortunately, this book has a few bones to pick with the current ways that users work. In many cases, while I may agree with statements such as that the File menu is not strictly necessary, users of many programs already understand how things work under the hood and want to know about it directly. He sometimes preaches design as if all customers of software are and should be ignorant of the system they're working on. I write software for other developers, so a lot of the tips and advice he gives are actually things that would cause my customer to become quite angry -- they understand the system, want to work in terms of it, and want to be able to to understand how your program deals with it. There are a number of commercial software tool failures to prove the mistakes of those who've tried to force a model the designers thought was superior on developers who knew better (ever used Visual Age Java?).
There's also a lot of material duplicated from his earlier book, _The Inmates Are Running the Asylum_. If you're only going to read one of the two, I'd advise reading that one, and skipping this one.
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Format: Paperback
The main goal of usability engineering is creating the right interface for the right audience.
The target field (cf. the users) of this book are developers, every programmer should have a copy, is not?
A software package, which is unfriendly, laughing and bashing to its user, such a package would be considered as a computer program with a bad design. The user would not like to use it.
Now, I'm wondering why the so self-declared software design god of the modern times is bashing, laughing and unfriendly against the users of his product.
Mister Alan Cooper does not have a clue how a company works and what the background of a developer is all about. He is bashing the wrong people. Bad software interfaces are not the fault of the developer but the management and the methodologies that are used in most companies.
Developers are trained in schools and universities to produce code and to design the internal architecture. Few of them receive cognitive psychology courses, which is needed to create five star interfaces.
The average management in a company, small or big just allows that developers do the graphical interface design, a task for which they were not prepared. The outcome is indeed bad software but don't shoot the pianist, instead turn the spotlight on the choirmaster.
The content-worth of the book is average. It is heavily focusing on one aspect of creating better software interfaces: design guidelines.
While these guidelines are important, it is not enough to create excellent interfaces. The risk is that a developer, after finishing reading the book will think he or she knows everything about the job and this is not his or her fault but the author.
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By A Customer on Dec 20 2003
Format: Paperback
I loved "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum", and bought "About Face" looking for some concrete examples of how to implement its ideas. Unfortunately, all of Cooper's concrete ideas are just awful. Half of them would require strong AI in order to implement, and many of them would actually require the computer to have psychic powers.
For instance, he spends a lot of time explaining that programs need to be written to assume that users will make mistakes (because they will), rather than considering mistakes to be a break in the workflow. Sure, sounds good. But then later on, he suggests that if the user of an accounting system enters a record with an invalid account number, the computer should just assume that it's actually a valid account number that the user just hasn't told it about yet. And worse, he suggests that the system should accept it *silently*, and not tell the user that anything at all odd happened until it gets around to generating the end-of-month report and there's still no matching account number. Can you imagine the user of such a system, when the computer finally tells him that *a month ago*, he made a typo while entering a record, and now he has to go digging through paper records (assuming he still even has them) to find the correct information?
It's the same thing with many of his other examples. He suggests ways for the computer to be "smart" that are clearly smart in the very specific cases he's thinking of, but often dumber than before in every other case.
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Format: Paperback
When Alan Cooper wrote the first edition of About Face in 1997, the software industry was in the midst of its biggest change ever. Just about every new user interface was being created in the context of a Web browser. Cooper was the leading advocate to persuade software developers, graphic artists, usability designers, and interaction designers to avoid bringing the mistakes that got baked into desktop application software developing into Web development. His impact has been profound, but not very easy for most software developers.
Key to this book is to understand that it challenges software developers to consider a user's goals first. And the book means "a user", not all of the users, but a single user. I've been to Alan's presentations and you can see the software developers in the audience squirm in their seats. "Don't I have to build my software to work for the largest group of users?" they ask. Alan's book says "No. Instead, build for a single user, and make sure your work accomplishes their one goal." About Face might be better titled "User Goal Oriented Software Development."
The book's focus on "interaction design," as opposed to user interface design, matches the key theme of user goal oriented development. For example, when my printer runs out of ink a dialog box appears on my computer asking for me to put more ink into the printer and then click one of the following buttons: Finish and Continue. As the user, my goal is to Finish, but the software wants me to put more ink in the printer and then to Continue. Interaction Design addresses this problem, where user interface design would more likely tell the software developer where to place the buttons in the dialog box. Interaction design keeps the focus on user goals.
I loved the original book, and find the new release to be refreshing.
-Frank Cohen, [...]
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