A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web

(Guest Review by Shannon Smith) Mark Boulton just saved me a ton of money on design school. His new book, A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web, is meant to help Web designers who haven’t been to design school ‘learn the basics of graphic design and apply them to their Web designs – producing more effective, polished, detailed and professional sites.’ I definitely fall into that category. (Click to enlarge – Picture: Mark Boulton Design) Of course his book...

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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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Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web

(Guest review by Steve ‘Doc’ Baty) For people who approached information architecture via Rosenfeld & Morville’s “Polar Bear” book Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, there was a gap left between an understanding of what was meant by information architecture versus how to actually do information architecture. The knowledge about IA failed to provide a starting point on the practical implementation of those ideas. Information Architecture:...

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Subject to Change: Creating Great Products and Services for an Uncertain World

(Guest Review by David Sherwin) Underwhelmed. We’ve all had this reaction when encountering a product or service that just didn’t cut it. Take, for example, the alarm clock next to my bed. There are two alarm switches side by side: one for me, and one for my wife. Invariably, every morning I hit the wrong switch and the alarm keeps sounding. By the time I’ve shut the thing down, my wife is wide awake. And she goes to work two hours after me… I kept thinking about my...

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Tangible: High Touch Visuals

“Remember the small, cheeky, hand-scribbled notes that were reproduced on a photo or poster design? Those with the simple message: “I was here!” Indicating that someone actually worked with the photo and that these are their thoughts.” – from the Preface to Tangible: High Touch Visuals. In such a digitally dominant world, Gestalten’s new book, Tangible: High Touch Visuals, is a reminder of the pleasure of the physical. Tangible is the third in a series of books...

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Designing Gestural Interfaces

Dan Saffer has a knack for writing the right book at the right time. His first book, Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices pulled together various disparate approaches and aspects to interaction design into one volume. “In general, the response has been positive and it is being used by universities and others to teach new interaction designers. But now, four years after I started writing it, I’m mostly unhappy with it. It’s too theoretical...

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Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks

I hate forms. Germany is full of bureaucrats that love them, but their forms are amongst some of the most poorly designed I have ever encountered. The ones lying under the book in the picture above have been sitting on my desk for a year waiting to find someone who can understand them. A year! What a sad indictment – whoever designed those should be weeping right now. By rights a whole book devoted to Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks should be as interesting as watching paint dry, but...

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Universal Principles of Design

Reviewed by Rob Tannen. Although Universal Principles of Design was published in 2003, I am embarrassed to admit that I only learned about it several years later via Amazon’s related books feature. Embarrassed, because it is simply the best book I have read on general design and usability principles in terms of both its content and its presentation. From its academic textbook-style cover, one might overlook this book or assume that its content would be dull and dry. In fact, it is an...

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How do you design?

Hugh Dubberly from Dubberly Design Studios is writing a book called How Do You Design?, which examines design processes that they have collected over the years. The premise is that, “Everyone designs. The teacher arranging desks for a discussion. The entrepreneur planning a business. The team building a rocket.” Like everything good online, the book is in “Beta” and you can not only download a PDF for free, but you can also add to the book by submitting your own...

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The User is Always Right

Reviewed by Will Evans – the first of several guest reviews to come on the DRB. See the end of the review for Will’s bio. The User Is Always Right: A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas for the Web is a comprehensive guide approaches user experience research like never before, and is well-written, easy-to-read, and quite user friendly. The book provides real-world examples of how user research is done in just enough detail that it can both inform an executive of the role of...

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