Most helpful positive review
Very useful checklist for your apps
on December 5, 2001
Johnson did a good job in compiling this checklist for all developers out there. I think most of his points are valid and it is not something that requires a PHD to figure out. However, compiling a list alone requires a lot of effort and it well worth your $40 bucks to have a professional done it for you.
Like most other readers, I was disappointed in the rather dry writing style (which the cover of the book suggests otherwise). It's bad not because it's dry, it's because this topic really *can* be written in more enjoyable style (and less lengthy).
The other bad thing is that this book can be used more efficiently if the illustration and its explanation were combined (with arrows and textbox to point out what's wrong).
I found that while I spent the past two days skimming through the text, in the process I marked each picture in the book so that later on I can use them as a list to check my own apps. I understand that the author might need to put in days/weeks/months to fix this "bug" but it'll save all of its readers' time and make this book worth more than $30 (that's what I value it, with the "bug" fixed, $40)
BTW, I found that it's not the UI mistake that's hard to correct. Rather, the problem in GUI development is social one.
If you tell your fellow programmers that something should be done this way and explain all the rational behind it (even he understands it afterwards), he'll still be rather reluctant to correct it because that implies he did it wrong in the first place (or he is not knowledgeable in UI design).
The point that the author raises is very valid, that programmers, in the average, are lousy designers and amateurs in preparing presentation and layout.
In summary this is definitely an educational book in UI design. But someone might as well publish all these ideas in a website with less words and more illustrations and accomplish the same goal more efficiently. And I would pay for it as it saves my time and I can educate the whole team (it's hard to ask your fellow programmer to read a 600 pages book with a topic that he would care less otherwise) and ultimately makes our product better.