Re: User Interface Design book recommendation

Subject: Re: User Interface Design book recommendation
From: merrill -at- HYPERION -dot- PDIAL -dot- INTERPATH -dot- NET
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 1996 01:28:05 GMT

> SANDRA CHARKER <scharker -at- ozemail -dot- com -dot- au> writes:

> > I wish I could say this book is for user interface designers and let it go at
> that. Most user interfaces are still designed by programmers, an increasing
> number of whom are growing uneasy as they glimpse the gulf between the skill
> set needed for software construction and the skill set needed for software
> design. Documentation writers, trainers and technical support people
> increasingly share this same worry. It is for this growing community of
> design-aware developers that this book is written. <

It is a mistake to suppose that "software construction" and "software design"
are distinct in the manner implied.

> Discussions I have found particularly interesting include metaphor in software
> design, cross-platform software consistency, errors and error message dialogs,
> window sizing, standards, online help, and 'undo' facilities. Some made me
> laugh, some made me splutter, all made me think. In a book for an emerging
> discipline, what more could you ask?


These are all good topics, and I think I will seek out this book. Even books
of this sort that are flawed (and I am not suggesting that this one is) can still
contain valuable lessons. The issue of cross-platform consistency, for example,
is fraught with complexity. Do we strive to provide the same interface on all
platforms (thus ensuring that the Windows user who sits down at his colleague's
Mac will know just what to do)? Or do we strive to provide, on a given platform,
consistency of our program/interface with those of other products? For a while,
the former was thought to be the approproiate goal. But more recently, it
appears that the latter is more desireable.

-----
Gary Merrill


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