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Designing Interfaces

Jenifer Tidwell
Published by O'Reilly Media
ISBN:0-596-00803-1
352 pages
£ 35.50
Published: 2 Dec 2005
reviewed by John Collins
   in the September 2006 issue (pdf), (html)
bookcover  

This book is a pretty comprehensive review of various kinds of interface styles. It gives an excellent study of various interface choices and a guide to the pros and cons of various ways of doing things for example as lists versus drop-down boxes and why you should choose one rather than another. It's most orientated towards web site design but there is plenty of material about user interfaces for applications. There are plenty of examples of what the author is saying from web sites that she approves of.

I think this is a book you need to read through rather than dip into to get the full thrust of what the author is driving at. I think it has a very good style and will encourage a people like me to rethink their approaches in places.

One caveat however -- it doesn't say a word about how to actually achieve some of the more subtle interface tricks -- and some of them, popup windows and such are quite hard to achieve with some toolkits and particularly websites without resorting to Java applets. Likewise there are problems getting things to work in every possible browser. But it will give the programmers a target to aim for.

This is a definitely good book to study before you set out to design some new application or website and maybe an inspiration to revisit existing material.

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