Review of Designing Interfaces, Second Edition by O’Reilly Publishing

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Designing Interfaces, Second Edition (2010) by Jenifer Tidwell


Jennifer Tidwell presents an essential guide to how to plan the User Interface of your project, whether it be for a website or mobile. Presented in a consistent sequence, the book adds a great wealth of knowledge to the why and what sort of layouts to design, and for someone like me who is a keen mobile developer, being able to supplement Apple’s Human Interface Guide with the reasoning is 
gold. The author identifies the patterns and best practices, an evolution of common problems into a complete useable framework.
The transference of patterns of interaction that are most common in the usability engineer’s toolkit is composed into the entire UI canvas, decomposed into visual components, along with the actions that support it, to allow a developer to break down the interface problem into a cookbook for various customisations. 

For example, the author first identifies the patterns based on human behaviour, followed by organisation of the content and information based on whether the requirement is a single task/thing, list of things and whether it is a time-sensitive problem (such as news streams). She then further breaks down the patterns according to What, Use When, Why, How along with Examples

The book even presents Use Cases throughout some of its patterns, and the book is very thorough, detailed and lengthy but it allows you to refer to certain elements you are working on, from the general layout to specific positioning of buttons and input fields, progress indications and so forth.

I normally do not go for UI books, I find them quite inessential but after looking at the benefits of having a UI that is easy to use and matches the intuition of the users (rather than myself), this book is what will be the difference between a good app and a great application. In a competitive app selling environment, reducing negative feedback is based on how well you respond to your customers and this book will get you there.

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