An excellent book for anyone who wants to understand why so much software is so poorly designed -- and an even better book for anyone who wants to DO something about the problem. Must reading (and doing!) for programmers of any level.
From the Back Cover
About Face The Essentials of User Interface Design Cooper Interaction Design Dear Reader, This book has a simple premise: if achieving the user's goals is the basis of our user interface design, then the user will be satisfied and happy. If the user is happy, he will gladly pay us money, and then we will be successful. To those who are intrigued by the technology which includes most of us programmer types we share a strong tendency to think in terms of functions and features. This is only natural, since this is how we build software: function by function. The problem is that this isn't how users want to use software. Developers are frequently frustrated by this, because it requires us to think in an unfamiliar way. But after the initial strangeness wears off, goal-directed design is a boon it is a powerful tool for answering the most important questions that crop up during the design phase:
- What should be the form of the program?
- How will the user interact with the program?
- How can the program's functions be most effectively organized?
- How will the program introduce itself to first-time users?
- How can the program put an understandable and controllable face on technology?
- How can the program deal with problems?
- How will the program help infrequent users become more expert?
- How can the program provide sufficient depth for expert users?
In About Face, you'll explore new ways to look at what you work with every day, learning how to create workable designs in the real world, on a real deadline, inside a real budget. Sincerely, Alan Cooper President Cooper Interaction Design "Alan Cooper is the Miss Manners' of software design
My advice is to buy two copies autograph the second and send it to an engineer at Microsoft." Paul Saffo, Director, Institute for the Future "About Face defines a new interface design vocabulary that speaks to programmers in their own terms. We have come a long way from the time when there were just modal (bad) and modeless (good) interfaces, and this book reflects that progress." Charles Simonyi, Chief Architect, Microsoft Corp.