Designing Web Interfaces

Review by David Little Theresa Neil’s and Bill Scott’s Designing Web Interfaces (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE) catalogues and describes seventy five design patterns – solutions to common problems – for building rich interactions on the Web. Not a book about visual design or particular technologies but rather about the whys and hows of interaction design for the Web; or maybe more simply, standards for Web interaction: This book is about interaction design: specifically, interaction...

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Parenthesis – Issue 16

Okay, I admit it. I expected Parenthesis, the twice-yearly journal of the Fine Book Association to be somewhat boring. I imagined dusty discussions of the nerdy joys of owning crumbling first editions and not a great deal to do with design. How wrong I was. One of the first articles in Issue 16 is a tribute to Reynolds Stone by Alan Powers. “Reynolds who?” you may be thinking, as I was. It turns out he was the man behind the work of graphic art owned by the largest number of people...

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Card Sorting: Designing Usable Categories

Review by Matthew Sanders Donna Spencer’s debut Card Sorting: Designing Usable Categories (Amazon US) distills several years experience applying card sorting techniques to web projects into a highly practical guide on card sorting. Some information architecture books take a general approach and cover a large range of topics in a single book. These books serve an important purpose of explaining what information architecture is, best practice principles, and how to communicate designs...

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The Designful Company

Review by David Sherwin “If you wanna innovate, you gotta design. – Marty Neumeier From the airy confines of interior design to the tailored minutae of the type designer, the varied disciplines of our profession continue to rush outwards like galaxies fleeing the Big Bang. And the force that drives our profession’s expansion? The universal process we call design. As designers, we have lived and breathed this process often enough to embody its power, in whatever domain we...

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The Rhetoric of Modernism: Le Corbusier as a Lecturer

(Guest review by Becky Quintal) ‘You only have to see his notes to feel the emotion of the speaker. It is evident that this kind of discourse, even if expressed only in the intimacy of his notebook on the train, reveals a therapeutic aspect of the lecture for someone like Le Corbusier. His life was a roller coaster between peaks of fame and harsh setbacks, all of which he felt bitterly.’ – Tim Benton, The Rhetoric of Modernism: Le Corbusier as a Lecturer Unlike extemporaneous...

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Designing For People

Guest review by Phillip Hunter “Design is a silent salesman… contributing not just increased efficiency… but also assurance and confidence.” So asserts American Industrial Designer Henry Dreyfuss (1904 – 1972) near the beginning of his 1955 memoir, Designing for People (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE). Those characteristics emerge again and again throughout the anecdotes and explanations filling the book. It’s a very good thing, however, that Dreyfuss is decidedly not...

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The Advertising Concept Book

What makes a good ad? What makes an award-winning creative idea? These days its easy to get distracted by fancy art direction and technological novelties, but when you strip all that away, does the idea still stand up? This is the essence of Pete Barry’s The Advertising Concept Book (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE) in which you won’t see a single glossy image. No 3D, no photography, no screenshots, just pencil sketches and thumbnails. Sketches are still a staple of the process of developing...

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UPPERCASE Magazine

I am cheating here because UPPERCASE is a magazine and not a book, but rules are made to be broken. How could a web site that bills tags itself with “books for the creative mind” turn down a review of the first issue of a magazine that bills itself as a “magazine for the creative and curious”? Exactly. So, what can one say about another magazine in such a crowded marketplace? Although it is hard to tell just from the first issue, UPPERCASE differs from most glossy...

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How to Be a Rockstar Freelancer

(Guest review by Shannon Smith) If you are a fan of FreelanceSwitch the freelancing blog started by Collis and Cyan Ta’eed, their spin-off How to Be a Rockstar Freelancer is written in the same, blog-like style. The book, which is available as a PDF or lulu.com paperback, is an easy read, written in a clear and informative style. The eleven chapters comprise helpful tips laid out in a format that feels like a series of blog posts with short topics, shorter headings, lots of bulleted...

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Cars: Freedom, Style, Sex, Power, Motion, Colour, Everything.

The car sums up the contradictions of industrialised age more than any other design object. Simultaneously a symbol of desire, design and engineering brilliance and of over-consumption of resources and destruction of the environment. The subtitle to Stephen Bayley’s Cars (Amazon: US|CA|UK|DE) comes from Tom Wolfe’s The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. “Cars mean more to these kids than architecture did in Europe’s great formal century, say, 1750 to...

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