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5.0 out of 5 stars Two words: Exceptionally useful
If I could keep only one of the dozen or so User Interface-related books I purchased in 2003, this would be the one.
I haul it along to most of my clients (I'm a user interface designer). The design patterns in the book actually do help us to design more effectively. The patterns describe recurring issues and trade-offs in relation to specific design problems. Each...
Published on May 4 2004 by UI dame

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Might be OK for some beginners, but wordy, and lacks depth
I bought this book so it would provide me with domain-specific pieces of usability knowledge, but it failed at that. Althought there are concrete examples, there's nothing learn from them, as the explanations are so general they almost seem canned. It just takes basic usability concepts and applies them to popular domains, without going into any depth. And you don't need...
Published on Feb. 14 2004 by Egor Shipovalov


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5.0 out of 5 stars Two words: Exceptionally useful, May 4 2004
This review is from: Design of Sites, The: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience (Paperback)
If I could keep only one of the dozen or so User Interface-related books I purchased in 2003, this would be the one.
I haul it along to most of my clients (I'm a user interface designer). The design patterns in the book actually do help us to design more effectively. The patterns describe recurring issues and trade-offs in relation to specific design problems. Each pattern also describes a solution to its specific problem. Instead of starting from square one, we can start with something known to work and modify or refine it as needed for our specific site.

Yes, I knew a lot of this already, but it's still a big help to have it all written down, illustrated and organised at my fingertips. And it really helps my clients who are working on a first, second or third system and who don't have a personal database of tens or hundreds of projects. Or the ones who are caught in an endless discussion loop.

The book itself is easier to use than any other reference book in my collection. The patterns are organised and cross-referenced so that I can easily pick out just what I need for a given project. The book has a clear and pleasant visual organisation with color-coded sections. It is heavily illustrated with examples and sketches. And the resources section at the back is truly thorough, not just an afterthought.
This is one of the books I especially recommend to software developers, since many of them are already familiar with the use of patterns in designing code. And I've found that developers on the whole are a pragmatic bunch, always looking for a way to get better results with less effort. That's exactly what the Design of Sites is good for.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Book, Aug. 26 2003
By 
Craig L. Howe (Darien, CT United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Design of Sites, The: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience (Paperback)
It is a rare privilege to spend time with masters of their profession. It is rarer still to read a book written by them.
The Design of Sites: Patterns, Principles and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience. Creating a website is easy. Creating a website that connects with your audience is not so easy. It takes planning, experience, an intuitive understanding of your audience and skill.
The authors have done much of the work. They have taken the time to reduce their knowledge to writing. Their book distills the practices that result in sites that draw repeat visitors to simple patterns, principles and processes. The book is comprehensive and easy to use. It can be read front-to-back. It can be read in snippets. It provides design solutions to common web design problems. Follow the patterns and you will shorten your development cycles and reduce your maintenance costs.
If you are in the Web Development or Design business, buy the book. I promise it will be dog-eared from use in a short period of time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable resource, July 1 2003
By 
Stephen Parker (Darnestown, Md United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Design of Sites, The: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience (Paperback)
This is the first computer related book that I have bought and thought - "Perfect, just what I needed." What I like most about this book is that it spends so little time explaining why building user centered web sites is a good idea, and tells you exactly what techniques are used to create them. You can open the book up to almost any page, read a paragraph and get something out of it. It is clear that the authors spend alot of time laying out the book to make information retrieval easy.
Dont let "look inside" pictures that amazon has posted fool you - they are probably the only boring sections of the book. In part 2 (about page 100), the book gets really really good. For the next 500 pages they cover almost every area of of web design imaginable and present the areas in a problem - solution format. Many books dont offer concrete techniques, just tell you - "design for the user", "users hate poorly designed pages" etc etc. Each problem/solution is about 2 pages long, and they are web techniques that can be applied to almost every web site. They literally say to solve X problem do Y solution. Very specific, very useful.
The book also is good from cover to cover. I have found that alot of books are good for the first chapter and then loose quality. They present each "nugget of information" with the perfect amount of description - enough to explain why its useful, but not too much to drag on.
They also use these hand drawn pictures that I liked to show how a generic web page would function, instead of only pictures of pre-existing web pages ( which they also have ample examples) So you can actually apply it to your project instead of saying, I understand why hotmail looks the way it does. I would recommend this book to anyone, hands down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!, March 12 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Design of Sites, The: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience (Paperback)
I literally have not been able to set this book down for the past three days. As a professional web designer with years of high-end design and development experience for all types of sites, I have been humbled by simple reminders and glad to experience a reiteration of thoroughly great design sense. You know, kinda like common sense? that thing we hopefully assume people have, but they seemingly rarely do. Keep it real man, then go outside the lines if you need too.
This book will give you an excellent outline to get creative with. I am recommending this book for my Clients as well as Designers, Creative and Executive Directors, CEOs, Artists, Developers, Animators or anybody else that has anything at all to do with creating, or managing any sort of interactive experience- not just e-commerce. That also includes beginning Designers. Believe you me- if your new at this, and you start off with absorbing the knowledge in this book (and no, it's not that complicated or dry), you'll have a leg up on everybody else in your league, that's for sure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!, March 12 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Design of Sites, The: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience (Paperback)
I literally have not been able to set this book down for the past three days. As a professional web designer with years of high-end design and development experience for all types of sites, I have been humbled by simple reminders and glad to experience a reiteration of thoroughly great design sense. You know, kinda like common sense? that thing we hopefully assume people have, but they seemingly rarely do. Keep it real man, then go outside the lines if you need too.
This book will give you an excellent outline to get creative with. I am recommending this book for my Clients as well as Designers, Creative and Executive Directors, CEOs, Artists, Developers, Animators or anybody else that has anything at all to do with creating, or managing any sort of interactive experience- not just e-commerce. That also includes beginning Designers. Believe you me- if your new at this, and you start off with absorbing the knowledge in this book (and no, it's not that complicated or dry), you'll have a leg up on everybody else in your league, that's for sure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a "Page Returner", March 10 2003
By 
Gary W. Wheeler (New York) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Design of Sites, The: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience (Paperback)
Have you ever wondered why you return time and time again to certain web sites yet there are others you wish not to return again?
One of the measurements of site success is customer retention. In order to retain your customers, you must know and understand them. Not all web sites have the same customer requirements but they do share some of the same principles. Van Duyne, Landay, and Hong provide the guidance to explain the differentiation of site categories, what they have in common and what customers expect out of them. They reveal how the top benchmark sites are developed from the customer viewpoint. They explain how a customer should know where they are on a site and to navigate, even if they enter the site 5 layers down.
The authors define eleven site genres and then discuss the various patterns that best fit specific type of site or general to multiple types of sites. There have been many books written on web usability and design ... but this book provides the reading experience that can be applied to any site.
Have you ever wondered why you return time and time again to certain books yet there are others you wish not to return again? This book is a "Pager Returner."
This book is highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review: "The Design Of Sites," Van Duyne, Landay, Hong, 2002, March 8 2003
This review is from: Design of Sites, The: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience (Paperback)
"The Design of Sites" is Pattern Language for Graphic User Interface Architectures, GUIAs - please make more! Soon!
Like most good references, it is not necessary to read front to back right away. One does out of interest anyhow and finds a manual of common functional web styles. This is the kind of book that empowers the first timer and the 100th timer.
Thorough reference organized by Patterns and Pattern Groups is the structure of most of "The Design of Sites." Professionals are wise to scan it all now. Having it close makes me feel a little more prepared as it may come in handy as both an info source and a model for future manuals like it.
E-Commerce through better online customer service is a message that surfaces when reading about the granular breakdown of e-commerce concepts in relevant paradigm that everyone can appreciate. Search, navigation, site performance, and usability, all are factors when designing on the web. Developers and managers at all levels can benefit from specific parts of this book of collected, common web experience.
By demystifying common and complex web processes, plus all the standard material and easy organization one comes to expect from thorough reference, "The Design of Sites" is a valuable text for students of web design. That is, in business as in art, learn the rules of the road or keep off the highway.
The arrangement of each pattern heavily borrows from the design philosophies of Alexander, for those that appreciate his work, and are arranged as web design scenarios divided into 6 Factors of: Name, Background, Problems, Forces, Solutions, and Other Patterns to Consider. TDOS is an advanced reference and choose your own adventure of sorts.
By studying patterns these authors have struck on the great lesson of design which is not always reinventing the wheel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review: "The Design Of Sites," Van Duyne, Landay, Hong, 2002, March 8 2003
This review is from: Design of Sites, The: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience (Paperback)
"The Design of Sites" is Pattern Language for Graphic User Interface Architectures, GUIAs - please make more! Soon!
Like most good references, it is not necessary to read front to back right away. One does out of interest anyhow and finds a manual of common functional web styles. This is the kind of book that empowers the first timer and the 100th timer.
Thorough reference organized by Patterns and Pattern Groups is the structure of most of "The Design of Sites." Professionals are wise to scan it all now. Having it close makes me feel a little more prepared as it may come in handy as both an info source and a model for future manuals like it.
E-Commerce through better online customer service is a message that surfaces when reading about the granular breakdown of e-commerce concepts in relevant paradigm that everyone can appreciate. Search, navigation, site performance, and usability, all are factors when designing on the web. Developers and managers at all levels can benefit from specific parts of this book of collected, common web experience.
By demystifying common and complex web processes, plus all the standard material and easy organization one comes to expect from thorough reference, "The Design of Sites" is a valuable text for students of web design. That is, in business as in art, learn the rules of the road or keep off the highway.
The arrangement of each pattern heavily borrows from the design philosophies of Alexander, for those that appreciate his work, and are arranged as web design scenarios divided into 6 Factors of: Name, Background, Problems, Forces, Solutions, and Other Patterns to Consider. TDOS is an advanced reference and choose your own adventure of sorts.
By studying patterns these authors have struck on the great lesson of design which is not always reinventing the wheel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oustanding, Jan. 19 2003
By 
This review is from: Design of Sites, The: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience (Paperback)
The Design of Sites is an outstanding reference on a number of levels. The individual patterns each offer great practical advice, although the most powerful aspect of this work is the development of inter-connected web design patterns.
The development of pattens, based upom the seminal work of architect Christopher Alexander, are a series of "best practice" web design patterns that are cross referenced to create a very powerful and usable book. As a particular pattern, or problem, is defined and resolved the useful relationships to other patterns are noted. For example, as the reader works through "Sign-in/New Account" related patterns including "Process Funnel", "Personalized Content", "Meaningful Error Messages" are noted, each of which have their own descriptions and resolutions. The excellent examples and consistent formatting of individual patterns strengthen the connection between the patterns and result in a highly usable book.
This important work is highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore this advice at your own risk, Dec 18 2002
By 
Charles Ashbacher (Marion, Iowa United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Design of Sites, The: Patterns, Principles, and Processes for Crafting a Customer-Centered Web Experience (Paperback)
In computing, a wrong repeated often enough can become a right, or to use the proper term, a convention. Everyone is now so familiar with the standard layout of a main menu with the File entry on the left and the Help entry on the right that no one even thinks about constructing a user interface any other way. Such expectations lead to the structure of patterns, which in this context are just fundamental ways of doing things. Whether they are right or wrong, once a pattern becomes ingrained in the expectations of a large segment of the user community, you either do it that way or lose out to those who do.
This book is a collection of the patterns that users expect to find when they encounter a web site. Presented almost exclusively via screen shots of sites with the proper layout, the demonstrations of the patterns are clear and unambiguous. The patterns are also numbered for categorization, so that they can be easily referenced from other patterns. They are refined into enough categories so that few patterns stand alone, most are used in combination with one or more other patterns. I have read some of the books by Jakob Nielson and other web usability gurus, and consider this one to be as good as any of the others.
If you design web sites, teach the design of web sites or teach those who teach those who design web sites, then you cannot afford to ignore the lessons in this book. After reading it, my whole thought process was different when I was working on the web. I kept thinking back to the patterns in the book and contrasting them to the sites I was visiting. Granted it was an interesting intellectual exercise and a tribute to the book that it got me thinking, but it also slowed me down in the completion of the work.
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