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on February 11, 2000
I am a professional Information Architect; However, I picked up the book without any preconcieved notions or superficial expectations. I found especially illuminating (and actually empathisized with) the comparisons between IAs conceptualizing Information Design and Traditional Architects conceptualizing "wayfinding" through building structures. For those of you who are looking for a Home Deopt style "How-To" manual on creating intuitive interface design for software applications; you simply have to surf the web for 1001 lessons on HOW NOT TO do it. Seriously, the only effective Information Design training program is years of experience in software development. A "blueprint" or plan is key to useful execution, but there is a lot more to good Information Design than a pile of flowcharts. The best an author can do is to share some of his/her insight on ergonomic design with the rest of us. While many of the reviewers found this book's exposition of visionary and philosophical approaches to design impractical; I found it to be both informative and refreshing. Information design is not about how rigidly organized the branching structure is; instead, it's about how the user "moves through" an application (hopefully with pleasure and ease of use). This calls for a combination of clever engineering and artistic design, and cannot be accomplished simply by "keeping all your ducks in a row" The most significant aspect of good Info Design, in the end, is clear, intuitive, useable interface.
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on June 9, 2001
This book consists of a series of cross-disciplinary articles on information design. In the concluding chapter of the book, Jeff Raskin summarizes the volume by saying "I find that [the articles] accurately represent the diversity of the field - - from fuzzy New Age touchy-feely rantings to thoughtful studies." I'm inclined to agree, but fortunately, the thoughtful studies outnumber the rantings. I was fascinated most by Whitehouse's article on architectural signposting for the blind. However, many of the other articles were also exceptionally thought-provoking. Before I read this book, I thought "information design" had something to do with drawing effective graphs. But after reading these articles, I would say it is making meaning by revealing the relationships between data through planned presentation. Or something to that effect- -the field is much wider than I had ever thought before.
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on August 4, 1999
Unlike the previous reviewer, I actually read the book and especially its introduction. INFORMATION DESIGN fulfills its promise: it reveals what it means to be an information designer at an ethical, even emotional level. I was especially impressed by the diversity of the contributors and their willingness to express doubts as well as hopes for this emerging profession. INFORMATION DESIGN isn't exclusively a how-to book. More importantly, it helped me to understand what information design is and why it's done in the first place. This is a must-read for those of you who aspire to become or already are information designers. You have your work cut out for you!
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on August 6, 1999
Aside from a wonderful dustjacket, this book unfortunately lacks real design and visual style. But don't let that put you off. This book travels a lot of time and space, most of it well -- from the history of Egyptian scribes to the future of online virtual worlds!
I'd have preferred two or three volumes to one try-to-be-everything text. Also, I sense a need for a magazine or online journal, to bring things up to immediate date. But overall, I was plenty impressed and satisfied with this book.
Clement Mok, a personal fav rave, on the dustjacket calls ID the "design of understanding." This book does a good job of it.
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on January 20, 2000
This is a mixed-bag of articles on (of course) information design, in which every author defines the field differently. It would have been nice if the editor had set up a single definition and had authors work within that. But you'll end up skipping whole chapters which discuss left-field topics. I'm also amazed that a bunch of people writing about information design can't produce clearer illustrations.
The best of the bunch is by Nathan Shedrof, who comes up with a decent definition and gets into the details of it gracefully and eloquently. Ask a colleague who bought the book to copy chapter 11 for you.
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on August 7, 1999
This book questions several so-called practicing experts on information design. Although some responses are sensible, most of the book's entries fail to stand by solid and structured ideas. Instead, most of the authors in this book ramble on about some rather horrible theories, while trying to prevent any criticism by including in their answers a lot of ifs and buts (Brenda Dervin: Chaos, Order, and Sense-Making.) While almost the entire book was a waste of time to read, the section by Romedi Passini (Sign-Posting Information Design) was enough to keep me from tossing the book. Read that section if any.
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on October 24, 1999
Don't read this book with the wrong expectations. This isn't a book about how to do information design. This is a book about being an information designer: theories, ethics, political and cultural issues, etc. I agree, the visual design is less than eloquent: standard MIT Press "academic." But the writing is exciting, so long as you're not looking for a how-to book. In fact, it's one of the lessons of this book that, so far as information design goes, our understanding of ID is still evolving and an how-to ID book would be premature.
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on September 15, 1999
Too much touchy-feely, and not enough science. There's some interesting stuff in here, but you have to look too hard to find it. It seems odd to me that a book on information design has so few graphics. Further, there is at least one article that could be edited to 1/3 its original length without losing a shred of meaning (what little it has). Sorry -- I just wasn't impressed, and I had hoped to be.
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on July 26, 1999
It's a very bad sign when a book on information design is completely lacking in good design itself. With the exception of one chapter (Whitehouse, "The Uniqueness of Individual Perception"), this book is of no significance. The articles are far too academic and there is very little here that relates to the practice of information design. Skip it.
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on September 14, 1999
many of the other reviewers have captured the problems that this book suffers from. It is a crazy www of poor design and problematic realisation. This is not information design. spend the time you would have wasted reading, thinking quietly. I have read contextual design which thinks through integrating design with users and it is much more provoking
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