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Designing Interfaces Paperback – Jan 9 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 578 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; Second Edition edition (Jan. 9 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449379702
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449379704
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.4 x 23.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #157,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Book Description

Patterns for Effective Interaction Design

About the Author

Jenifer Tidwell has been designing and building user interfaces for industry for more than a decade. She has been researching user interface patterns since 1997, and designing and building complex applications and web interfaces since 1991.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

By Pat on Nov. 2 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I needed this book for a class on designing interfaces and ergonomics. The book's approach into splitting each technique into a usable pattern is smart. It makes the book a very useful one to keep on your shelf for quick reference. For example, it takes two minutes to look-up patterns on how to "List items" and select one that qualifies for the task at hand.

Each pattern has a "Why, How, Where" way of explaining them so if you know you want to use a specific pattern, but don't know how it should be presented then it's very easy to get an answer.

There are many pictures in the book so it makes learning patterns visually very efficient and it gives a clear idea on some of the patterns that may have unusual names. I did not read the previous edition, but I can safely say the pictures and some of the patterns are updated to today's technology. All of them are real-world examples of the latest trends so it's a decent pick-up if you want to get updated.

My only gripe with this book is that since it tends to be more of a reference reading it is pretty boring and static. I mostly skimmed over the patterns and only took interest into the ones I didn't know. Most of the elements in the book are very obvious for anyone who follows technology so it might be more useful if you are someone that started working in the 90's and need an update on the current trends.

Lastly, 99% of the interfaces covered are composed of regular widgets that come with any good UI toolkit. There's barely any mention on building custom interfaces such as the ones that would be used in a planes cockpit or in video games, so I can't say I've learned much about building exceptional interfaces for custom needs(Chapter 1 kind of gives you input on what you should do before drawing a prototype).

Overall good concise book that goes to the point. A great reference.
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By Mathieu Parent on Oct. 17 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent livre. Il est clair. C'est un livre parfait pour un débutant en design d'interfaces ou plus précisément, en design Web.
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By Christine on Oct. 11 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Au niveau de mes attentes. Je suis satisfaite de cet achat et je le recommanderais à toute autres personne qui désire mieux s'informer sur le design d'interface web ou d'applications.
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Format: Paperback
It's just full of wordy descriptions of patterns. I feel like it doesn't offer much (if anything) beyond what you'd find on web sites like ui-patterns and others. I guess it's handy to have a reference book on your shelf, but these days I find it easier to keep online references than actual, non-searchable ones on shelves. Still, it's good for newbies to become familiar with what's being done these days, and does have tips for each pattern on what to focus on and what to avoid.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 22 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Not for Implementors & Developers (2nd Ed.) March 20 2011
By Clint Pachl - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

This book is a complete overview of about 100 UI patterns. Each pattern is given 2-5 pages where the "What", "Use When", "Why", "How", and "Examples" are discussed and illustrated. The presentation is very elementary. For example, if you know when and why to use pagination, alphabet scrollers, toolbars, date pickers, progress indicators, local zooming, multi-selection trees, or sharing widgets (a new pattern in 2ndEd), you probably won't find much value in this book.

The physical quality of the book is excellent. You will most likely be disappointed if viewing this title on a B&W Kindle. Literally, half the book is loaded with full-color, real-life examples of every pattern. The paper pages are thick and heavy.


This book will not provide implementation details or overall design concepts (i.e. effectively combining patterns to achieve some targeted overall user experience).

I primarily purchased this book for Chapter 8, "Getting Input from Users: Forms and Controls." I'm currently in the process of redesigning our shopping cart and checkout forms and thought this book may provide some value in my research. As a web developer (front-end & back-end), I was disappointed. I found much more useful information on modern, standards compliance, UI design blogs.


I believe the author accomplishes her goal of documenting, with several examples, every conceivable UI pattern in use today, thus the 4 stars. The book is great for the right audience. However, and I quote the author from her own References section, "If you're looking for more depth than this book can provide, the following list can offer some good starting points." She then lists 24 titles, several of which I own. My favorite title in her list is Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The quint-essential UI Guide Jan. 23 2011
By Doron Katz - Published on
Format: Paperback
Jennifer Tidwell presents an essential guide to how to plan the User Interface of your project, whether it be for a website or mobile. Presented in a consistent sequence, the book adds a great wealth of knowledge to the why and what sort of layouts to design, and for someone like me who is a keen mobile developer, being able to supplement Apple's Human Interface Guide with the reasoning is gold. The author identifies the patterns and best practices, an evolution of common problems into a complete useable framework.

The transference of patterns of interaction that are most common in the usability engineer's toolkit is composed into the entire UI canvas, decomposed into visual components, along with the actions that support it, to allow a developer to break down the interface problem into a cookbook for various customisations.
For example, the author first identifies the patterns based on human behaviour, followed by organisation of the content and information based on whether the requirement is a single task/thing, list of things and whether it is a time-sensitive problem (such as news streams). She then further breaks down the patterns according to What, Use When, Why, How along with Examples.

The book even presents Use Cases throughout some of its patterns, and the book is very thorough, detailed and lengthy but it allows you to refer to certain elements you are working on, from the general layout to specific positioning of buttons and input fields, progress indications and so forth.
I normally do not go for UI books, I find them quite inessential but after looking at the benefits of having a UI that is easy to use and matches the intuition of the users (rather than myself), this book is what will be the difference between a good app and a great application. In a competitive app selling environment, reducing negative feedback is based on how well you respond to your customers and this book will get you there.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Designer Resource Oct. 14 2013
By Mr. Word Sponge - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Detailed, articulate and full of stellar examples. This book should be on every designer's bookshelf. Very good value. Author provides alternative names to patterns, history of patterns that have evolved and ample links to the work of other authors. She did a great job researching these patterns and was consistent in her presentation. Highly recommend this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Not "Just" Patterns July 14 2013
By Paula Abilheira - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an invaluable resource. Before the pattern examples, there are not only descriptions, but best practices. It isn't limited to one application. All possible applications are discussed—web, web applications, mobile, etc.

The first two chapters before getting into the patterns themselves are also invaluable for those new to UI/UX.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book on (user) interface design... Sept. 27 2011
By Rob Wehrli - Published on
Format: Paperback
When I first saw this title, I was thinking programmatic interfaces and not user interfaces. As I browsed through the pages of this book, I was pleasantly surprised that it presented me with a lot of ideas for presenting data besides the various bar, line, pie and scatter charts/plots that accompany a popular spreadsheet application.

One of the most useful features is a summary of controls and their pros and cons for using them in your own UIs. Having this for a new UI designer or as a constant reminder for veterans easily simplifies the task of selecting the right data presentation and selection model for your specific needs based on the merits of the control versus simply the available space or aesthetics.

I like the book, the logical organization of content and the writer's depth of experience in designing UIs, both in conventional applications and web-based presentations. Something that you don't get from this kind of review is the depth of content in such well-written and concise sentence structures that strip away the fluff (often over-used in the UI design world) and delivers the meaningful package of data that a practiced, mentally-organized and prepared author delivers where others often fail. This is an artful blending of the medium and the information without simply promoting the salacious simply because it is so compelling.