Designing Interfaces

Patterns for Effective Interaction Design (2nd Edition)
New edition focuses on designing interfaces for mobile.

Designing Interfaces was first published in 2005. As explained in the preface, the new edition adds coverage of mobile and social media as well as adds or expands on patterns while removing some older ones.

The purpose of an interface is to convey information to a user and usually allow them to perform actions. The parts of the interface are sometimes grouped as “nouns” (things) and “verbs” (actions), and many of these interface elements started on desktop systems, migrated to the web and are now being found on mobile devices. The patterns presented in the book are solutions or best-practices to common challenges encountered when designing an interface.

Designing Interfaces starts with a chapter, ”What Users Do”, that covers some of the theories and ideas behind good interface design before three chapters the big picture of interface design: page design and navigation. The sections that follow focus on individual interface parts; for instance, chapter 5 “Lists of Things” deals with ways of displaying lists of data ranging from simple lists to emails, images and other cases. Plenty of real examples are presented in colour screen-shots so readers can see how designers have handled specific problems. While there is a separate chapter on mobile, examples from the iPhone are also found in this and other sections.

Interestingly, while most of the chapters deal with how colour, placement and alignment of interface elements can convey information to the user, aesthetics are only covered in the last chapter.

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Chapters 9 and 10 are on social media and mobile design. These start with a bit about what the goals are and are followed with some patterns with examples specific to social or mobile design.

Overall, this is a good book to read if you’re looking into designing an interface. The authors are up-front that this is not the definitive book on designing mobile- being that it is still a fast-evolving medium, that’s a given. The

While there are plenty on how to design an attractive website or how to implement one using the usual suspects, as you might have guessed, there isn’t any JavaScript, C# or PHP code in this book. What this book is about is principals.