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The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web Paperback – Oct 21 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (Oct. 21 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0735712026
  • ISBN-13: 978-0735712027
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 17.8 x 0.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #440,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marc Poulin on Nov. 20 2009
Format: Paperback
I got a EUREKA moment when I first saw the Jesse James Garrett's diagram "Elements of User Experience". I had been trying for years to put in a diagram the various elements of web site design that start with web objectives and finish as the completed web site. Just for that, I had to thank the author by buying his book. The book is both great and average.

I will start with the average part. The book is a little boring. Thankfully, it is short (174 pages). It is made up mostly of flowing text without the use of bulleted lists or boxes of text to draw attention to important stuff. He writes about elements of user experience but gives very few examples. Those not familiar with the subject will find it too theoretical. The web professionals will find the content of limited value.

What is great about the book is how it organizes the elements using a two dimension structure. The first dimension is from abstract (strategy) to concrete (visual). The other dimension is that some elements relate to information and others to tasks.
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Format: Paperback
6 Years later and still relevant...
Breaks the process down into sizeable bits that are understandable to all members of the organisation... Clearly states some of the biggest mistakes made : "Avoid jumping ahead to identify solutions when we don't yet fully understand the problem."
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Format: Paperback
Like many negative Amazon reviews, some detractors of this book seem to object to the fact that it is this book and not something else. In this case they may not be entirely unfair. If you are looking for advanced techniques in web design you won't find them in Garrett's book. If, however, you are looking for a good framework for thinking about design strategy--for your own thinking, for explaining things to clients, or for students--you will find this book indispensable. It is short, sweet, and straightforward. Whether that's good news of bad is something each reader will need to decide.
Some complain that The Elements of User Experience does not go deeply enough into a range of user experience issues. This may partially be the fault of the author and the publisher. The value of this book goes well beyond web projects and the "user experience" world. Much of it applies to a variety of design projects. If I were to make a major objection to the book it is not that it is too shallow but that it is conceived of as too narrow.
Much of the audience that would find this book to be an important breakthrough would never pick up a book that crams the word "User" into the title twice then gets in two buzz words and says "Web." I don't think this is one of the most important books about user experience or user-centered design. It is, however, a great basic book on design strategy. I hope disappointed people rating it poorly for not being the book they hoped for will not detract from this book finding the wider audience it richly deserves.
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Format: Paperback
Not worth the paper it is printed on. A superficial treatment of analysis, design and implementation of web sites. After reading 73 pages of content-free material I finally gave up trying to find anything amid the fluff and chucked this one in the trash.
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Format: Paperback
The book is an introduction text to the field of user interface design.
What I found useful in the book is thinking about the user interface as a number of layers and this reminds me of the layer approach used when explaining communication technologies. I've been using a simpler 3 layer model to communicate what is a user interface to non-professionals and that works.
However, even knowing that a user interface contains several layers does not help you build a user interface. From my experience, building user interfaces requires synthesis. This is where I found this book lacking, it tells you about the required parts but unfortunately doesn't really help tell you how to put them together. Using a cooking analogy, you have the ingredients for the meal but you are missing the quantities and cooking times.
Therefore this book is great to understand what a user interface but it is of limited help to build a user interface.
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Format: Paperback
Not to diminish the value of this great book, but, it is very basic. Establishes a good basic overall process to efficiently manage user interface development. Takes you through step by step. Essential to have this approach before looking at other aspects in more depth. Not technical, so you don't need to be a developer to understand concepts. Good value and a quick read.
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Format: Paperback
First off, the author is reportedly disdainful of "design education" (ie, scholarly programs that foster legitimate inquiry and exploration of critical issues in user experience) so it's no surprise that this book, mildly sufficient for beginners puzzled as to how to even start a web project, lacks the necessary conceptual foundations of design thinking for examining complex, application oriented, "beyond the web" design problems: interpretations, perspectives, etc. to enable a designer/IA to step "beyond" the immediate problem and extrapolate principles and patterns. Fundamental issues of cognition, social interaction, drama, emotion, etc. are not even hinted. Also, the core diagram, while visually interesting, has many gaps and simplifications. The fact is, the areas of interaction design and information architecture are quite dynamic in practice (and theory) to be declared with such an "easy" diagram. And the false dichotomies between UI, IA, ID, etc. reveal a unhealthy temptation to simplify and codify, leading to false perceptions by newbies about design practice.
So, while the book offers the rudimentary basics of web projects (which are quite useful), the array of techniques and over-simplification of process/forethought can be a disservice for someone truly trying to understand "user experience" elements. Instead, I'd highly recommend Clement Mok's "Designing Business", Veen's "Art and Science of Web Design" (especially the last chapter), HIllman Curtis' "Making the Invisible Visible", and Shedroff's "Experience Design" (though it is hard to "read" his book :-)
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