Designing the Moment: web interface design concepts in action

Author: Robert Hoekman, Jr.
Publisher: New Riders
Pages: 256
ISBN: 978-0321535085
Aimed at: Web designers / developers
Rating: 4.5
Pros: Full of good ideas, well written
Cons: Sickly in places
Reviewed by: Dave Wheeler

The Web is full of plagiarism. This comes as no surprise, because the Web typically involves sending the full, plain source code for the page down to the browser. This in turn means that another developer can be using almost that self-same code within minutes. Sadly, this also means that many Web sites are developed without much consideration of the user, and the (and I hate this phrase) user experience. In this book, Hoekman tries to redress the balance. There’s no code to copy; there’s no magic CSS or JavaScript libraries to use. There’s just plenty of discussion of good UI design, and perhaps more importantly, good application flow design.

I liked this book, but, truth be told, not at first. To begin with, I got annoyed with Hoekman’s writing style; his seemingly constant references to how he saved a site with yet another great piece of design; and I disagreed with his ideas in many places. Then I warmed to his goal. He had me thinking about the user, and the user experience (shudder) without thinking about technical implementation detail. In other words, he’d got me back into design, and not coding. Moreover, he has many good design ideas to share as well.

Therefore, this book is a winner if you care about the design of the UI, and the engagement of the user, at a higher level than just the mechanical aspects of laying out forms, or creating menus. Thus, I have no trouble in recommending it wholeheartedly.

<Reviewed in VSJ>