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Developing User Interfaces Paperback – Jul 1 1998


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From the Back Cover

In the early days of computing, technicians in white coats controlled refrigerator-sized computers housed in sealed rooms, far from ordinary users. Today, computers are inexpensive commodities, like television sets,
and ordinary people control and interact with them. This new paradigm has led to a burgeoning demand for graphics-intensive and highly interactive interfaces.

Developing User Interfaces is targeted at the programmer who will actually implement, rather than design, the user interface. Most user interface books focus on psychology and usability, not programming techniques. This book recognizes the need for programmers to collaborate with usability experts and psychologists, so topics such as the principles of visualization, human perception, and usability evaluation are touched upon. Yet the primary focus remains on those tools and techniques required for programming the complex user interface.



  • Focuses on advanced programming topics

    • event handling
    • interaction with geometric objects
    • widget tool kits
    • input syntax

  • Useful to programmers using any language-no particular windowing system or tool kit is presumed, examples are drawn from a variety of commercial systems, and code examples are presented in pseudo code

  • The basic concepts of traditional computer graphics such as drawing and three-dimensional modeling are covered for readers without a computer graphics background.

About the Author

Dan R. Olsen, Jr. is the director of the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and a professor of computer science at Brigham Young University. Dr. Olsen earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer science from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. in computer and information science at the
University Pennsylvania in 1981. He is also the author of User Interface Management Systems. Dr. Olsen has considerable expertise in user interface mangement systems (UIMS), computer graphics, and the construction of compiled and interpreted languages

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Computer scientist, programmers, and other computing professionals are increasingly asked to improve the usability of their products. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A useful text for computer scientists Nov. 8 1998
By J. Landay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Most existing UI/HCI books ignore the details on how to implement user interfaces and are thus inappropriate for courses in many computer science departments. Olsen's book steps into this vacuum and provides a text that covers how to go about determining the tasks an interface should support as well as how to implement the resulting design. The bulk of the book is on the implementation side and thus students will also come to understand how toolkits, which practitioners generally use, work internally.
This text can be used in a quarter long course on UI development or in a more comprehensive semester long HCI course when supplemented with additional material on human abilities, design, and evaluation. We have found this book quite valuable in three offerings of our course on UI Design, Prototyping, and Evaluation here in the EECS Department at UC Berkeley.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Best book on how user interfaces actually work June 12 2001
By Jason Hong - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A great book for computer scientists that need to know how user interfaces work from top to bottom, including basic graphics, widgets, interactor trees, and event models. In fact, it's the only book I know of on the subject, as most of it was scattered throughout dozens of research papers. The first chapter is also a pretty good introduction on the need for good user interfaces.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Not funny enough Jan. 23 2001
By Jeff Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I took an undergraduate user interface class from Dr. Olsen. May have even got an A in it. He has a good sense of humor in real life. I think the book would be better if it incorporated more of his personality.
The book is well written and will help you understand how to develop user interfaces (as the title implies). I enjoyed reading it and still refer back to it from time to time. It's not an advanced book (nor is it a "for dummies" book), but it gives you a foundation for understanding topics like computer graphics, design patterns (in particular MVC), and graphics toolkits like Swing. It has added to the collection of skills that helped me get my current job, so how can I not love it?


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