Designing the obvious, book review.

Published on Apr 09, 2010

I just finished reading Designing the obvious by Robert Hoekman, Jr. This is a book about how to design good web applications. The subtitle, a common sense approach to web application design, it’s also a good synopsis.

The book was written in 2007. There is nothing really revolutionary in it, but it summons up lots of good advices and examples on how to make your web application interface easier to use.

As a developer I really liked to read it, no so much for the content but as a way to get into the mind of a designer (a good one) and what things he considers unacceptable.

I confess that I did commit some (maybe all) the interaction sins that are mentioned in this book in more than one occasion.

Chapter 6, Handle errors wisely is, in my opinion, the best part of the book. There is a long discussion on how to use what he calls Poka–yoke devices. Poka-yoke is the Japanese term for “mistake-proofing”.

Once again as in the rest of the book, there is nothing “new” in this chapter, since Robert site examples from very well known sites as examples of good and bad error handling. It’s the way he explains the why are either good or bad what makes it good and help me to internalize these concepts.

I recommend you read this book if you are involved in any UI design or interaction programming in any way.