Most helpful critical review
nice starter for newbie but not much depth...
on March 26, 2003
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 :-)