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The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems Paperback – Mar 29 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (March 29 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780201379372
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201379372
  • ASIN: 0201379376
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.8 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 481 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #100,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Logan Murray on Aug. 29 2008
Format: Paperback
Jef Raskin was truly a visionary in the field of human interfaces and this book is a culmination of everything he learned over his lifetime. Jef was one of those who really cared about his work, and the fact that he was still involved in human interface design in his later years is only proof of this.

I would consider this book necessary reading for anyone who wants to think "outside the box" and look at human interaction at the simplest level of human thought--things not bound by windows and GUIs. I found the book delightful and easy to read, and many of the insights provided have stayed with me as I've continued to think about the future of user interfaces.

IMO the ideas and more importantly the very way of thinking in this book is still relevant in 2008, 8 years after it was published, for the very reason that it is not tied to any specific technology. In fact, Jef uses an example from a 1979 throughout the book.
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Format: Paperback
This 'new' book arrived with 6 price tags stuck on top of one another and worn corners. Had obviously been 'passed around' more than a little before Amazon found a buyer. Not sure this feedback is über-helpful or relevant to future purchasers but it is making me feel better to leave it. :)
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By A Customer on Oct. 5 2004
Format: Paperback
With the kind of know-how and credentials that Jeff Raskin has, this should have been the DEFINITIVE book on modern interface design.
However, I have to agree with some of the other reviewers who believe that this book was a missed opportunity. Although it contains some great content, especially in the first few chapters, Raskin too often turns his book into an advertisement for the Canon Cat (never heard of it before this book) and a forum to work out some truly half-baked notions.
For example, at one point in the book, Raskin suggests that software publishers should offer their products on a "command by command basis". Can you imagine trying to edit a document and being told that you can't format your text in a particular way because you haven't bought that command? Under his proposed model, this type of thing would happen all the time. And don't even think about sharing documents, because there would be no ability to standardize the application's feature set across computers. Unfortunately there are quite a few of these kinds of ideas advanced in this book.
The book starts very strong and I don't think that there is anyone better at covering the fundamentals than Raskin. Sadly he couldn't help himself from turning what should have been a great book into a scratchpad of ideas.
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Format: Paperback
I do not know who edits books on interface design but all too often the books are more about "look at how great I am" than thoughtful insights. The beginning of the book offers some good interface guidelines and metrics but around chapter 5 it becomes more about Raskin's ideas than interface design itself. The most laughable is chapter 6-4-3 where he advocates the removal of usernames from login systems to rely simply on passwords. He obviously doesn't understand security and never talked to someone who did before publishing it. He contradicts himself in later chapters with points he makes in the beginning, but if you can look past his constant references to how great his systems are, there is good content in there.
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Format: Paperback
I scoured numerous texts to support a college seminar course in human/computer interaction design. My hunches led me to select this book from among many other excellent books. In retrospect it is one of the best textbook selections I have ever made. The book covers fundamentals of simple human psychology that are both key to good design and that will stay with students for life. It provides practical techniques, design approaches, and measures that students can immediately apply in real life. And it provokes the student (and the professor) to think about programming--not just interface design--in refreshingly radical new ways. In short, this book does everything a great textbook should do, and more. I've been a programmer for 20 years, and it changed *my* view of programming.
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Format: Paperback
This book provides some simple rules to apply to almost any situation in interaction design. Like Design Patterns, it's very text-editor-centric. Also like Design Patterns, though, that's incidental to the fact that it has a ton of wonderful information to provide within that example that apply much more broadly! It should be required reading for anybody whose code interacts with the user.
Unfortunately, it can be a little tough to get a good idea of the tradeoff between habits that the user has already gotten and habits that would be better for the user. It's clear there's a tradeoff there, and while the book acknowledges it, it fails to provide much guidance on making designs choices about when you can actually try to 'teach the user something new'.
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Format: Paperback
At first, I was really disappointed with this book. The "thick" writing style hides the presentation of straightforward concepts in long paragraphs and dense text. Be prepared to mull through the page looking for italics.
Additionally, the "God complex" attitude conveyed by Jef really should have been caught by an editor. The didactic tone is a real turn-off. And, as other reviewers have pointed out, there is little practical advice, beyond Jef's "this is what I did" anecdotes.
After saying this, there are many valuable concepts presented in the book (for a list, see the table of contents). If the book goes to a second edition, an editor and a technical writer should be part of the writing team. This would make it more readable and referenceable; making it easier to recommend.
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