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am 26. August 2004
Der Author ist einer der Pioniere bei der Entwicklung von Benutzerschnittstellen. Mit seinem Buch gibt er Richtlinien und Anleitungen auf diesem Gebiet. Manchmal verliert er sich dabei in Details, indem er beispielsweise mit statistischen Beweisen für den einen oder anderen Fall aufwartet.
Der Schreibstil ist so gehalten, dass man das Buch sehr gut lesen kann. Bisweilen ist es sogar ausgeprochen kurzweilig. Man erfährt nebenbei viele andere interessante Begebenheiten. Allerdings zum Preis der Übersichtlichkeit. Als Nachschlagewerk oder Referenz ist das Buch nur schwerlich zu gebrauchen. Die Informationen sind zum Teil tief in den umschreibenden Text eingebunden.
Die einzelnen Kapitel kann man jedoch unabhängig voneinander lesen ohne das Gefühl zu haben, durch überspringen einiger Kapitel etwas nicht verstehen zu können.
Bei dem von mir gekauften Exemplar handelt es sich um die 3. Neuauflage, worin Schneiderman auch auf die Schnittstellengestaltung im WWW eingeht. Leider habe ich hier kaum etwas zum Thema barrierefreie Webseitengestaltung gefunden.
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am 18. Januar 1999
A text search of using 'User Interface' returns this book as the first choice. So I bought it. I also thought Schneiderman would be a good case study because people who bought his book also bought Jakob Nielsen's Usability Engineering. I just hoped after 638 pages I wouldn't be left with the conclusion, "I like top navigation and left-side navigation."
This book is presented as a textbook and some people may have a problem with this approach. The fact is most of the people studying User Interface are PhDs and they need to sell these things to their students so they can continue making their bar tab in the faculty lounge.
'Designing the User Interface' covers as much human-computer interaction as you could hope to fit in a textbook. You may be left wondering why anyone would bother writing a book about the same subject again. It's already covered. Unfortunately, most of the textbook will be too 'academic' for our purposes. If you want to know about computer science, psychology, information science, business systems, education technology, communications arts, media studies, technical writing, research agendas, you'll find it. But just flip to the obvious throw-in Chapter 16, titled: hypermedia and the worldwide web on page 551. That's what I did. In fact, the other obvious throw-in titled 'Afterward' has some great sections such as 'Ten Plagues of the Information Age' and 'Between Hope and Fear.' Shneiderman waxes philosophical here on the big picture of human-computer interaction. He covers subjects such as universal access, fear of technology, professional responsibilities, alienation, unemployment and displacement.
My personal viewpoint is that text is much a part of user interface as graphics and navigation. Unclear text makes it just as hard for a user to interpret a site as mauve navigation buttons on a brown background. So why do User Interface experts present sentences such as:
"In the last 40 years, the cathode ray tube (CRT), often called the visual display unit (VDU) or tube (VDT), has emerged as an alternate medium for presenting text, but researchers have only begun the long process of optimization (Cakir et al., 1980; Grandjean and Vigliani, 1982; Heines, 1984; Helander, 1987; Hansen and Haas, 1988; Oborne and Holton, 1988, Creed and Newstead, 1988, Horton, 1990) to meet user needs." (Page 412)?
Yikers! That's hard to read. Where's the usability in that sentence?
Schneiderman takes an obvious academic approach to Chapter 16. He starts off with the history of the web going back to the 1940s. Don't ask. Then we learn what hypertext is. I think we know where this is going. There is, however, a great photo of Sophia Loren wearing a bathing suit circa. 1955.
He analyzes task-oriented and metaphor-oriented design. This is a good thing because we seem hooked on metaphors without looking at tasks. Perhaps tasks are obvious to us. Maybe task-oriented design means usability But then you have to bring in intuitive response and that opens a whole can of worms.
The pages between 575 and 579 cover general design themes such as clustering, sequencing, navigation and usability testing. They're probably the five most important pages in the book.
Another good section of the book is chapter four. It covers user acceptance testing and offers a great sample assessment survey on page 136. I'd be very interested in running this survey on some of our sites as a test.
I don't want to say the rest of the book isn't valuable to us - it is. It just isn't necessary. Most of it deals in theories predating the web -- possibly predating the mouse.
Shneiderman offers a website companion to the book . It's jam packed with updates, study guides and errata such as: "Page 486, first line Gertude should be Gertrude." At least he's trying to practice what he preaches. But how can I fault a man who's Honorary Doctorate of Science comes from my alma Mata?
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am 27. September 1999
This is the third edition of an unavoidable book for anybody involved with human computer interaction (this should include librarians like me who are command-line impaired and completely intolerant of faulty human factors design as well as the techie types who sometimes tolerate "cool" but ill designed interfaces) directly or indirectly, as a end user or a design participant.
The only major problem with it is that it is a textbook, written to fit into a given number of pages. This means, alas, that a lot of good stuff from the second edition had to be taken out to fit in new stuff. So, one solution is to buy both the third and the second editions, and while you are at it get your hands on his "Sparks of innovation" which is most interesting despite its old age. The sections on touchscreens are incomparable, to give but one example. Another solution is to get Shneiderman to write a real big fat book on HCI!
There are enough textbooks or collected readings available for all the courses. There are also so many web design books around that sometimes I want to scream ENOUGH! What is missing is a recent reference book and an introductory text. I wish Shneiderman would delay the fourth edition for a few more years and get a _real_ HCI introduction and reference out.
In the meantime, this third edition is the next best thing, but it has to be coupled with "Sparks of innovation", Don Norman's books, Jakob Nielsen's books, and a dash of Tognazzini, Tufte, and Tex Avery.
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am 13. Oktober 1998
Now in its third printing, this book has served the students and practitioners of user interface designs for almost a generation. The book covers virtually every aspect of HCI and provides a comprehensive set of discussions regarding alternative presentation styles, different types of interaction devices, acceptable response times, windows management strategies, social impacts, and much more. Those readers familiar with Shneiderman's work will appreciate the extensive amount of real-world experience (with supportive examples) that has gone into producing such a book. For me, the most important revisions to this edition are his discussions on information visualization. - a mainstream HDI (human data interface) technique which is clearly presented in Chapter 15. This book is a staple and a "must have" for those involved with designing user interfaces.
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am 14. Juli 1998
This is one of those books every serious programmer should have.
Instead of being a book about MFC, or a book about programming a specific platform, this book concentrates on the important philosophies and principals behind programming an efficient and well formed user interface.
A book about programming MFC, X-windows is like a book about chess pieces legal moves. This book is just like a book of how to play chess, not the chess tools themselves.
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