About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design Paperback – May 7 2007
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From the Back Cover
When the first edition of About Face was published in 1995, the idea of designing products based on human goals was a revolutionary concept. Thanks to the work of Alan Cooper and other pioneers, interaction design is now widely recognized as a unique and vital discipline, but our work is far from finished.
This completely updated volume presents the effective and practical tools you need to design great desktop applications, Web 2.0 sites, and mobile devices. This book will teach you the principles of good product behavior and introduce you to Cooper's Goal-Directed Design method, from conducting user research to defining your product using personas and scenarios. In short, About Face 3 will show you how to design the best possible digital products and services.
About the Author
For over 30 years Alan Cooper has been a pioneer of the modern computing era. His groundbreaking work in software design and construction has influenced a generation of programmers and business people—and helped a generation of users. He is best known as the "Father of Visual Basic," inventor of personas, and founder of Cooper, the leading design consultancy.
As Director of Design R&D at Cooper, Robert Reimann led dozens of design projects and helped develop many of the methods described in About Face 3. Currently, he is Manager of User Experience at Bose Corporation and President of IxDA, the Interaction Design Association.
David Cronin is Director of Interaction Design at Cooper, where he's led the design of products for such diverse users as surgeons, museum visitors, online shoppers, automobile drivers, financial analysts, and the elderly.
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Top Customer Reviews
My only criticism would be that the Cooper Method is presented as a fairly strongly "waterfall-ish" process. However, anyone who understands agile processes (e.g., Scrum) will be able to adapt it quite easily -- its user focus and iterative approach are made for agile processes. I am looking forward to applying Cooper's method in the next phase of my current project.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The whole structure of the book is new and very close to being a complete course/textbook in the Cooper approach to Goal-based Design. All the sections have been expanded based upon reactions to the previous version(s) as well as their collective experience. The most obvious changes are towards describing in greater detail the process and how to integrate it into the large design/development cycle.
For those who have not read (about) Cooper (and his firm's) work, this book is the complete approach in detail. It is written for professional UI designer and developers and makes some assumptions about the background of the reader.
Executives, stakeholders or those needing a more general overview should pick up his other book "The Inmates are Running the Asylum" which was written for that audience. That book includes more business cases and rationale without the heavy details.
As a UI professional for over 20 years find his approach to be the most useful in creating truly useful and usable applications. This book continues to point out how get beyond mere incremental design enhancements to truly revolutionary and winning designs.
I picked up the second edition when I was just starting out as an interaction designer; it was a great primer and filled in a lot of the missing pieces for me. Now that I've been at it a while, it's still the book I go to whenever I have a question. I found the book reads well cover to cover, and also serves well as a handbook. The info you need on a topic is usually well contained in a section.
Not only does this book cover the general principles and theory behind interaction design, but also provides lots of real-world practical information. The writers call on designers not simply to follow rigid interaction design rules, but to create elegant, informative and respectful interfaces. That's a loftier goal, and this book give you the tools to attain it. The updated edition also spans new technologies and paradigms that have emerged, and covers them thoroughly.
Cooper has an unrivaled depth of experience to draw on, creating a truly comprehensive book.
However the quality of the paper is just a step above newsprint, the illustrations are all in B&W and the cover lamination peeling off after only 3 chapters read. Published by Wiley.
Compare this with Martin Evening's "Photoshop CS2 for Photographers" at the same price. Martin's book is in full color, coated papers and fine binding. Published by Focal Press.
Really makes you feel like you are getting ripped off by the publisher.
Alan... get a better publisher!
Some key points;
- These guys do a great job of pointing out and giving suggestion for designers that are challenged with the "Why do we need an Interaction Designer" question that we are all faced with.
- Second the content is extremely through, teaching you principles of how to approach the design phase all the while keeping in mind that the end users doesn't think of software like developers do.
- This book does a great job of explaining persona's, tasks and goals, as well as where to concentrate your efforts.
- This book does an excellent job of explaining the importance of interface design.
- This book explores and critiques many common standard practices (many that should not continue to be apart of modern designs).
- This book explains modeless feedback versus modal dialogs, and when and how to use each.
This is by far the most complete book for Interaction Design that I have encountered, and I highly recommend it to anyone even contemplating becoming a designer.
What the book lacks;
- Though the book contains some images and examples, in my opinion more images and more examples would have made the book much better (also bigger, yikes!).
- The book also lacks a end to end process that is practical for most fast pace software development firms.
- The book lacks information in regards to dealing with data heavy applications (common to today's RIA's), rather it speaks to application design in real general but applicable methods.
Maybe About Face 4.0! :)
Alan, Robert, and David walk you through the complete process of orienting your product to your customers' goals. They provides you with the tools to build a product that will delight, rather than baffle, your customers.
In this day and age of great application frameworks, it is fast and easy to get a web-based application up and running. But please don't do it, at least not until you have read this book!
I'm buying copies as early Christmas presents for all my software designer friends in hopes that I will see the end result as when I try to use some of these products.
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