About Face 2

15 Mar 2004 - 11:35am
10 years ago
1 reply
559 reads
Matthew Goddard
2004

Donna Maurer (http://www.maadmob.net/donna/blog/) was asking for book
recommendations to give "someone new to large site design... a good
grounding in how to find out what people wanted to use the site for, how to
create a usable site, and how to make sure that it would be accepted by
management." (see http://www.maadmob.net/donna/blog/archives/000315.html for
full post)

I suggested About Face 2 and Ron Zeno (http://ronz.blogspot.com/) replied
saying;

"With recommendations like "About Face 2" you could very well accomplish the
exact opposite of what you set out to do. It's an embarrassment - a reverse
compass."

I'm not trying to get at Ron, I think his blog is great and generally
respect his opinion which is why I'm wondering if this is the general
consensus of a book I rate quite highly.

Can anyone enlighten me?

Matt

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Comments

15 Mar 2004 - 1:03pm
Nick Ragouzis
2004

I don't have time to read Donna Maurer's original question, your recco, or Ron Zeno's reply, so this is not in reference to those
specifics ... especially since Donna's request is for a recommendation on three very different topics.

But I do have time to say that I think About Face 2.0, The Essentials of Interaction Design, is an exceptionally great value for
folks interested in extending their interaction design craft.

If you've practiced much you will find much familiar in the book. Its greatest attribute is that while it presents these
now-familiar methods the authors, Cooper and Reimann, have managed to build in, both, an expanded perspective with which to gain
further understanding, and the principles ready to serve as a foundation for working out even better methods for yourself.

This latter aspect, a richness in extensibility, is important since although the methods are familiar they are rarely practiced
well, and even less often with any of the depth necessary for effective customization. It is more often the case that practitioners
seek recipe books (or 'visual' tastings of complete finished designs) from which they want to copy -- sometimes copy well and
extend, mostly not.

The revised book is written in a way that makes that intellectually difficult; for all but the naïve will notice the cautions,
extended perspectives, principles, and just basic "do you know your goals?" that surrounds the prescriptions (which are very
modestly presented indeed). And these aspects are where the power in extending craft is seated.

While I'm at it I'd like to mention one *earlier* book with these laudable characteristics: Information Architecture for the World
Wide Web, Second Edition. Rosenfeld and Morville's greatest accomplishment in their 2nd edition was of this kind -- embedding the
questions, the related theory, and staying true to the motivating problems at each step.

These are two books that every interaction designer should know well. For everything you would wish to do different than prescribed
there -- and there are many things, in my view -- should be reconcilable to the non-prescription discourse found there.

Best,
--Nick

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-interactiondesigners.com-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Matthew Goddard
Sent: Monday, March 15, 2004 08:35 AM
To: discuss at interactiondesigners.com
Subject: [ID Discuss] About Face 2

Donna Maurer (http://www.maadmob.net/donna/blog/) was asking for book recommendations to give "someone new to large site design... a
good grounding in how to find out what people wanted to use the site for, how to create a usable site, and how to make sure that it
would be accepted by management." (see http://www.maadmob.net/donna/blog/archives/000315.html for full post)

I suggested About Face 2 and Ron Zeno (http://ronz.blogspot.com/) replied saying;

"With recommendations like "About Face 2" you could very well accomplish the exact opposite of what you set out to do. It's an
embarrassment - a reverse compass."

I'm not trying to get at Ron, I think his blog is great and generally respect his opinion which is why I'm wondering if this is the
general consensus of a book I rate quite highly.

Can anyone enlighten me?

Matt

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