Designing Interfaces (Second Edition)

Whenever a user wants to interact with an application, they have to use an interface to do it. Users won’t care how fantastic the underlying algorithms of your application are, if they can’t easily interact with it.

Designing Interfaces provides rules, tips and design patterns in order to help both novice and experienced designers build interfaces which are both stylish and easy to use. This updated edition contains information related to desktop and web applications but also discusses designing for mobile users and integrating social media into applications.

While Designing Interfaces could be read in order, it is organised into distinct sections so that information on, for example, navigation or lists or aesthetics can quickly be referenced. Each design pattern is briefly summarised along with expanded ‘Use when’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ sections along with visual examples to illustrate the point. This makes it an excellent quick reference source. Examples are provided by popular software such as Microsoft Office & Adobe Bridge and successful websites including Google and Amazon.

The reader may think they already know many of the design patterns provided (some are very simple or obvious), however many will be new, especially to the novice interface designer such as the overstretched programmer tasked with creating a GUI on top of the business logic. These readers will find Designing Interfaces especially useful, particularly Chapter 11 – Making it Look Good: Visual Style and Aesthetics which does exactly what the name implies.

Overall, Designing Interfaces is a great book for anyone who has to design or implement interfaces that allow people to interact with machines. It also provides a good starting point for coding and testing interfaces. However, the price being just shy of £40 may be off-putting to those less serious about interface design; the exact people who should be reading this book.

Score: 9/10

Jonathan Hammler


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