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An Amazon search for Interaction design turned up these ten books, most of which I do not have. […]

An Amazon search for Interaction design turned up these ten books, most of which I do not have. Any thoughts? What is *the* best book on interaction design, in your opinion.

1. GUI Bloopers: Don’ts and Do’s for Software Developers and Web Designers
by Jeff Johnson (Paperback – March 2000)
I saw Jeff talk at Bay0CHi and he was very funny and charming. i’m sure I’d enjoy this book– but what would I learn?

2. The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems
by Jef Raskin (Paperback)
Yes I’ve read it, yes it’s great. A must on all our shelves.

3. Information Visualization : Perception for Design (Morgan Kaufmann Interactive Technologies Series)
by Colin Ware (Hardcover – January 2000)
I’ve almost bought this several times. Almost.

4. Shaping Web Usability: Interaction Design in Context
by Albert N. Badre, Jim Foley (Paperback)
Avg. Customer Rating:
This is hte one I’m most likely to buy next. I’ve been thinking hard about the relation of design and usability and how they don’t sufficiantly intertwine.

5. Interaction Design
by Jenny Pree

no clue.

6. Information Appliances and Beyond
by Eric Bergman (Editor) (Paperback)

I dunno– I enjoyed “invisible computer” but do I need to go further?

7. Online Communities: Designing Usability and Supporting Sociability
by Jenny Preece (Paperback)

I didn’t think I cared much one way or another about “web communities” but Derek Powazek’s book has definately changed my mind. This might be good. (his definately is)

8. Coordinating User Interfaces for Consistency
by Jakob Nielsen (Editor) (Paperback)

Um, reissue.. is it really still relevent? And if so, just how relevent?

9. Interactivity By Design
by Ray Kristof, Amy Satran (Paperback)

I just got this at a book swap– it’s really a coffee table book. Very pretty, lots of pictures, and well written but nto that much content, and surprisignly little on interaction design. it’s more of a web design overview. But yum, meta-design.

10. Contextual Design : A Customer-Centered Approach to Systems Designs
by Hugh Beyer, Karen Holtzblatt (Paperback – August 1997)

got it, love it. Guess I never did write a proper review. must remedy that.

Anyhow, what do you think?


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  1. 2
    Ken Mohnkern

    > 1. GUI Bloopers by Jeff Johnson (Paperback – March 2000)

    The Oct 2000 issue of Interactions publishes an excerpt called “Textual Bloopers.” It’s a pretty good read, but there’s not a lot there that an experienced web designer hasn’t read elsewhere before. It’s a large assumption to extrapolate my impressions of this chapter to the whole book, though.

  2. 4

    I’d go with Victor’s recommendation, Inmates and Jenny Preece’s book of which I scanned the first few chapters. But, who knows…. my definition of Interaction Design is probably different than others.

  3. 5

    GUI Bloopers is good. While you might be familiar with many of the types of bloopers, it’s a good compendium and has very good analysis of each type of blooper. I personally got a lot out of the secion on responsiveness bloopers. Another point to keep in mind is that this book is not specific to web design — for me that was a plus since I’m not as versed in traditional GUI design as I am web design.

    Most of the material in this book is focused on page or screen level design details (use of controls, writing, errors, tool-tips, layout, etc.).

    For more info, see the book’s web site at

  4. 6

    Christina – glad you’re enjoying my (former) copy of Interactivity by Design…

    The GUI Bloopers book is good. Pretty comprehensive. Lots of examples. Will it teach you to be a better interaction designer? Tough call. I bet you’d make fewer “bloopers”, but the book isn’t really about an approach to interaction design per se.

    The Preece book is new, and seems to feature quite a few interviews, which may be a good or bad thing.

    If you’re gonna get the Schneiderman used, make sure it’s the latest edition – it’s been coming out for a while and I got a used first edition, when I wish I’d gotten a later one.

    I have the information visualization book. What can I say? It’s about visualization, looking at massive amounts of data and all that. A good book, but less about interaction design.

    My suggestions? An old one and an new one. Victor Papanek’s Design for the Real World is a great read for anyone who has designer or architect in their job title. It made me think much more seriously about my role as a designer – Papanek was a user-centered designer long before it had occurred to many others. It came out in the 70s, so it’s a neat mix of pragmatism and idealism. It’s really about industrial design, but it’s still worth reading.

    New one – I’m still working my way through Paul Dourish’s Where the Action Is, but I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s fairly high-level, philosophical approaches to interaction and all that, and you’ll want to join a research lab after reading it, but I’m fairly willing to bet that it’ll be a classic in a year or two.

  5. 7
    Joe Sokohl

    Hi Christina,

    Great list. I would definitely add “User and Task Analysist for Interface Design” by JoAnn Hackos and ginny Redish. It’s a great guide for understanding user research and how this relates to interaction design.


  6. 9

    Why does everyone like Schneidermann so much? Ok, it’s nice as a reference to sit on your shelf, but it’s truly a badly written,badly edited book that suffers the worst flaws of academic writing. Schneiderman’s frankly a bad writer–the thing often feels like nothing more than a bunch of research papers slapped together, with every data point and footnote left in place.

    Far from teaching interaction design, it is a bewildering overload of information that doesn’t cohere into a unified approach or method to _doing_ anything. It’s a good history book.

    I see this referred to as “the bible of UI”. Like the Bible, it seems as if it’s above normal criticism.

  7. 10
    Donna Maurer

    I went on a shopping spree earlier this year getting ready for a new job, and bought a few of these.

    1. GUI bloopers is very good if you are going to be doing GUI work (I’m redesigning an enormous GUI). Lots of examples, and easy to read. Very detailed. I think this one will become well-used.

    2. Humane interface is half good – the first half is interesting, the second half turns into a bit of a rant. I liked it, but I’ll probably never read it again. Good for inspiration, not much practical.

    5. Interaction Design. I have only just started reading this (it isn’t even available for purchase in Aust yet, but the leacturer I tute for has copies). As an introduction to HCI, this is fantastic. Well written, up to date and lots of good examples. It is a million times better than her previous HCI book.

    10. Contextual design. Borrowed it, read half, gave it back. I really liked the contextual enquiry part of this, but the rest was just too hard. I prefer ‘User & Task Analysis for Interface Design’ by Hackos.

    I was surprised at other people’s love of Schneiderman. I couldn’t read this – badly written and plain blah (I’m glad I borrowed it as it costs a fortune new). Maybe because I’m fairly new to the field…


  8. 11

    The Information Appliances and Beyond book is well worth the money – the case study on Nokia, Symbian (Psion) and Palm includes details that I havent seen written about anywhere else – and its not just for people designing appliances. For me it makes much more sense in a practical, realworld way than the Contextual Design or User and Task Analysis books.

  9. 12
    Melissa Bradley

    …if you want “Shaping Web Usability” by Al Badre, you can get it cheaper (12 bucks off, I think) via Al’s site, Nothing like plugging the Atlanta locals….


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