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Pavel Gokin (Colchester, VT United States)
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Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook, Second Edition
Kaplan GMAT Verbal Workbook, Second Edition
19 used & new from CDN$ 2.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive review with tough questions, Oct. 28 2003
Pros (in the order of personal preference):
- #1 by far is the questions: tough as nails, at least as difficult as the ones in the GMAT 800 book (also by Kaplan);
- Idiom reference and their GMAT-specific usage (i.e.: "consider to be" will never be correct on the GMAT, but "consider" will be);
- More comprehensive discussion of strategies for all of the questions types. In fact I would skip the verbal section of Kaplan's general GMAT guide (the one with the CD) in favor of this workbook.
Con:
- A couple of questions on the sample verbal section test appear in the other Kaplan guides.
Overall, the best guide to the verbal section of the GMAT I have seen. Highly recommended.

Stealing Beauty (Widescreen)
Stealing Beauty (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Jeremy Irons
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 45.09
9 used & new from CDN$ 2.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Movie: 5 stars; DVD: 3 stars, Oct. 9 2003
This review is from: Stealing Beauty (Widescreen) (DVD)
This is just a comment about an unfortunate omission on the DVD: no English subtitles for any of the lines spoken in Italian. Having seen the movie on VHS, I really miss the bits of conversation among the Italian-speaking characters. They do add enough to the movie to be missed.

The Design Of Everyday Things
The Design Of Everyday Things
by Don Norman
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.51
22 used & new from CDN$ 13.21

5.0 out of 5 stars The classic text on ergonomics, July 19 2003
Don Norman's POET (this book was initially called Psychology of Everyday Things) is a required text in many human-machine interaction programs around the world for a good reason: it is a wonderfully accessible (to novices), yet comprehensive primer on ergonomics covering topics ranging from conceptual models and mappings to memory and errors.
Don applies a plethora of cognitive psychology principles to explain why some devices just don't work well for us, humans, while others--those designed with the human in mind--do. If you are a student of human-computer interaction you can easily apply Norman's concepts in designing more usable GUI's. In fact, I have used this book as a foundation for the first chapter of my own web interface design book, at Paul gokin dot com, in which I have applied many of Norman's design principle to web GUI design.
What makes this book special, however, is that Norman supports his points with vivid real world examples, transforming what could be a dull, scholarly treatise into a page-turner. In fact it is the examples that had stayed with me for years after I put the book down.
Regardless of what your design challenge is, if you're designing it to be used by a human, this book is a must read.

Designing Web Usability
Designing Web Usability
by Jakob Nielsen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 36.53
74 used & new from CDN$ 0.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and insightful, July 24 2002
Based on six years of observing about 400 people use the web, "Designing Web Usability" is Jakob Nielsen's definitive guide to what makes a web site easy to use. Even though many sections in the book are sourced from Nielsen's alertboxes written years ago, the advice they contain remains solid.
The book contains insightful and comprehensive treatments of page, content, and site design that include topics like creating written and graphical content, navigation, search, etc. It is basically a list of guidelines (rather than a step-by-step how-to), much like my own UI design book available at my site. Jakob also mentions a few technical issues, but only insomuch as they affect usability.
As are most books, this one is not without its drawbacks. Ironically, the biggest drawback of this book has nothing to do with the book itself (which speaks highly of it), but rather with the fact that a lot of its content can be found in Nielsen's alertboxes on his web site. In addition, the chapter on accessible design is a little light on concrete, useful advice (beyond relative font sizes and alt text): there are better resources available free on the web.
In conclusion, if you're new to the field of web design and haven't read Nielsen's alertboxes you should definitely get this book. And if you're a seasoned designer, well, chances are you already have it.

Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
by Steve Krug
Edition: Paperback
55 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great sections on navigation, home page design, & usability, June 18 2002
What makes this book valuable:
- in-depth treatment of navigation design. The sections on tabs and breadcrumbs are excellent;
- great section on effective home page design. Get this book along with Nielsen's "Homepage Usability", and you're set in this department.
- wonderful primer on usability testing. If your web team is small, this could be all you need to get started with informal user testing. My own experience supports Steve's: you don't have to have Ph.D. in human factors to facilitate fruitful usability tests;
- last, but not least, the book is very easy to read due to its witty tone, short paragraphs, and tons of bullets.
One thing this book could do better:
- have more informative headings, saving "the liberal doses of wit" for the body copy. This would have made it a better reference.
Conclusion:
The book scores a perfect 10 with its target audience: the designers, developers, project managers, producers, marketers, business owners, and those who "sign the check". However, if you are a seasoned designer looking for a little more in-depth treatment of interface design topics check out either my own book at paulgokin dot com or Eric Eaton's "Designing Web site Interactive Elements."

Designing Web Sites That Sell
Designing Web Sites That Sell
by Shayne Bowman
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 4.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent primer but lacks depth for experienced professional, June 18 2002
While breaking little new ground, the book manages to present the variety of issues surrounding the design of highly interactive ecommerce sites. Seasoned professionals, however, will likely stay away from this one, opting for more specialized works.

Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
by Jakob Nielsen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 33.39
51 used & new from CDN$ 4.79

4.0 out of 5 stars The definitive guide to home page design, June 18 2002
The value of this book comes from the sheer volume of insight it contains: Jakob and Marie leave no stone unturned listing all the things that make for well-designed home pages.
A few downsides:
- The home page reviews are comprehensive, but the "problems" the authors find get somewhat repetitive after a while. In fact, after reading through about 20 reviews I was able to find more than half of the "problems" before reading the review (simply by looking at the screnshots).
- Another thing the authors could have done to make the reviews more useful: separate serious problems from trivial ones instead of listing them all in a single list.
Conclusion:
While the book does have its quirks, it is a solid reference overall and will make a great addition to any web designer's library.

Designing Web Sites That Sell
Designing Web Sites That Sell
by Shayne Bowman
Edition: Paperback
15 used & new from CDN$ 4.75

4.0 out of 5 stars Decent primer but lacks depth for experienced professional, June 18 2002
This book is great for designers who are new to commerce design and interactive design in general. It focuses on usability more than most other books aimed at designers and that is refreshing.
Topics covered:
- knowing the customer (good treatment for those who didn't read Siegel's "Secrets..." or Kelly Goto's redesign book);
- a short primer on the technology behind ecommerce sites;
- information architecture basics (decent treatment, with a quite few useful bits of information even for who read Lou Rosenfeld's IA book);
- user-centered design and prototyping basics;
- components of an ecommerce site (one of the best sections overall);
- presentation guidelines for different parts of an ecommerce site (good section, too);
- a little about usability testing and QA;
- a handful of very short case studies (I would have liked to see a more in-depth analysis here).
All in all, a broad, if not deep, design manual in the context of ecommerce site design.
Conclusion:
While breaking little new ground, the book manages to present the variety of issues surrounding the design of ecommerce sites. Seasoned professionals, however, will likely stay away from this one, opting for more specialized works like Nielsen's "E-Commerce Use Experience", or my own book at paulgokin dotcom. While there are better references for almost all topics covered, this book manages to pull out many useful nuggets of wisdom from the current literature, making it a good primer of ecommerce design, especially for designers coming from the print world.

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