Usability and User Experience Resources
|Usability Bookshelf L - Q
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Lansdale, M. W. and Ormerod, T. C. Understanding Interfaces: A Handbook of
Human-Computer Dialogue. Academic Press: London, UK, 1994.
Landauer, T. K. The Trouble with Computers: Usefulness, Usability, and Productivity.
The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 1995.
Landauers book is a detailed study of why computers have not contributed to overall
productivity. Landauer provides great detail on productivity and then focuses on the
problems of usefulness and usability. This book provides many case history of problems
with computers. Landauer than explains how user-centered design can have an enormous
impact on productivity.
Laurel, B. (Ed.) The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design. Addison-Wesley:
Reading, MA, 1990.
This book has essays on topics ranging from the definition of user interface consistency
to the development of interfaces for human-animal communication. This book provides the
reader with an enjoyable tour of the diverse activities that comprise human-computer
Laurel, B. Computers as Theatre, Addison-Wesley: Reading, MA, 1991.
Leonard, D. and Swap, W., When Sparks Fly: Igniting Creativity in
Groups. Harvard Business School Press, 1999. ISBN: 0875848656 Amazon
Lie, Hakon Wium and Bos, Bert. Cascading Style Sheets: Designing for the Web,
Addison-Wesley, Essex, England, 1997
Lindgaard, G. Usability Testing and System Evaluation: A Guide for Designing Useful
Computer Systems. Chapman & Hall: London, UK, 1994.
Gitte Lindgaards book covers the gamut of usability activities including: cost
justifying usability work, user needs analysis, data collection and analysis,
communicating usability results, inspection methods, interview and questionnaire methods,
laboratory testing, and the integration of usability activities into the design process.
There is a lot of practical advice in Lindegaards book and each chapter has
questions and exercises that are useful for self study or training seminars (there are
answers to questions and exercises at the end of the book).
Luong, T. V., Lok, J.S. H., Taylor, D. J. and Driscoll, K. Internationalization:
Developing Software for Global Markets. Wiley: New York, NY, 1995.
Luong and his colleagues have compiled a detailed set of the rules that developers of
international software need to know. The book is clearly written, even when discusses
technical programming issues. The one drawback that I found was a lack of graphics - the
book is heavy on text and light on graphics.
Lyons, C. Essential Design for Web Professionals. Prentice Hall PTR: Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2002.
ISBN: 0-13-032161-3 Book
Don't just build Web sites: architect them for maximum usability and
effectiveness. Discover easy, practical ways to identify your users' requirements, translate their needs
into superb content and navigation -- and avoid user confusion and expensive
site retrofitting. Using a hands-on case study and live companion website, this book walks you through every step of the process: analysis, site
design, delivery, and beyond. (Publisher's blurb)
Macaulay, L. Human-Computer Interaction for Software Designers. International
Thomson Computer Press, London, UK, 1995.
Macaulays book is written for software engineers who might be designing their first
user interface. The book provides a step-by-step description of various design techniques
and follows this description with a case study.
Mandel, T. The Elements of User Interface Design. Wiley: New York, NY,1997.
(1) Mandels book covers four broad topics including: the foundations of user
interface design, object-oriented user interfaces, the user interface design process, and
advanced user interface techniques and technologies ( for example, agents, wizards, social
interfaces, and Web usability). Mandel covers many topics, like object-oriented design,
wizards and agents, that are hot issues for corporate UI designers. His book is rich with
examples and practical information.
(2) This book is an introduction to user interface design, illustrated with plenty of
real world examples and many quotations from a variety of sources. The theory and
practical application of interface design is covered within the following four main parts
of the book:
- Foundations of User Interface Design
- Object-Oriented User Interfaces
- The User Interface Design Process
- Advanced User Interface Techniques and Technologies
The book design is user-friendly. Each main part of the book (as mentioned above)
begins with a roadmap, which provides a brief synopsis of each chapter in that section.
Each chapter contains key ideas that make it easy for you to scan the text for important
concepts or tips, and ends with a list of references for further reading. The chapters
contain examples from well-known applications or operating systems.
While Mandels conversational writing style is sure to appeal to many people, it
might not please everyone. As a novice to user interface design, I thought the last
section of the book was the most interesting. It covers interface design for online help,
electronic performance support (EPS), advisors, wizards, multimedia, social user
interfaces (such as Microsoft Bob), intelligent agents, and web interface design. (Judy
Blostein - Usability Interface October 1998)
Mander, R. Web Usability for Dummies. Hungry Minds: New York, NY. 2002. ISBN:
Lots of checklists and general information. There are virtually no references.
Marcus, A., Smilonich, N. and Thompson, L. The Cross-GUI Handbook for Multiplatform
User Interface Design. Addison-Wesley: Reading, MA, 1995.
Martin, A. and Eastman, D. The User Interface Design Book for the Applications
Programmer. Wiley: Chichester, UK, 1996.
Mayhew, D. J. Principles and Guidelines in Software User Interface Design.
Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1992.
Meyhews book is highly recommended as a reference for anyone doing GUI design. The
book lists user interface guidelines and provides research data to support the guidelines.
Mayhew, D. J. The Usability Engineering Life Cycle: A Practitioner's Handbook
for User Interface Design. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco, CA, 1999. ISBN
McBurney, D. H. Research Methods (4th Edition).
Brooks/Cole: Pacific, Grove, CA, 1998. ISBN: 0-534-35510-2. Amazon
If you want a good introduction to Research Methods or a review of methods that you
haven't used since undergrad or grad school, the 4th Edition of Research Methods by Donald
McBurney would be apropos. The book covers validity, control, non-experimental research,
survey research, true experiments, single-subject experiments, quasi-experiments,
reporting results, and ethics in research. This book, unlike other experimental psych
books, is organized around the general problems of validity and how to reduce threats to
validity. Statistics are covered in this book, but the bigger focus is on the concepts.
McBurney is an usually clear writer and you can actually READ this book (in contrast to
some of the classic stat books like Hayes). It is touted as an upper-level undergraduate
book, nonetheless, it is a useful reminder for those of us who might want a quick
refresher on counterbalancing, mixed-factor designs, and designs that are not based on
random samples. There are really good tips in this book - for example, the tip on page 155
to consider how questionnaires are to be scored and analyzed before collecting any data.
Seems like common sense, but it is rarely done. People romp out a questionnaire, send it
out, get low response rates and uninterpretable data.
McCloud, Scott Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art,
HarperPerennial: New York, 1994.
For anyone interested in visual communication, comics may be the ultimate blend of art and
narrative. Told in the comic form, this book examines the art form from the basic elements
of comics to what happens "between the panels". For anyone struggling with
metaphors in interface design, the discussion of icons and how we translate images into
perceived reality brings a fresh perspective. One of McCloud's most interesting insights
is the way abstraction allows the user to bring their own imagination into play.
"When you look at a photo of a realistic drawing of a face, you see it as the face of
another, but when you enter the world of the cartoon, you see yourself." The chapters
on narrative structure look at how the story is structured into panels, how time and
motion are expressed, and the relationship between words and pictures in storytelling.
McKay, E. N. Developing User Interfaces for Microsoft Windows: Practical and
Effective Methods for Improving the User Experience. Microsoft Press: Redmond,
WA, 1999. ISBN 0735605866 Amazon
This book has much of the same material contained The Windows Interface Guidelines for
Software Design, but with a more personal approach. The authorwas a developer at Microsoft
so the book is somewhat biased toward the Microsoft view of things. The book has a CD with
some interesting utilities like a Resource Assistant (TM) that checks for common UI errors
(field to short for allowed input for example) and "Upgrade-O-Meterā¢ [which]
monitors your PC's performance and estimates how much time you waste on an average day
waiting for your computer. It then calculates the cost of this time on an annual basis to
help you determine if an upgrade is justified." CW-11/99
Microsoft Corporation. The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications.
Microsoft Press: Redmond, WA, 1996.
The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications is a comprehensive usage manual
for Windows 95 software and documentation. This style guide contains lists of technical
terms and examples of appropriate usage, acronyms and abbreviations, and special
Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft Windows User Experience: Official Guidelines
for User Interface Developers and Designers. Microsoft Press: Redmond, MA, 1999. ISBN 0735605661 Amazon
This book updates the guidelines found in The Windows Interface Guidelines for Software
Design (MIcrosoft, 1995). There are updated or new sections on input conventions, common
dialogs, new controls, Help support, multiple monitor support, and system integration.
This book is recommended for any Windows developer or user interface designer. It is a
good set of guidelines for traditional Windows applications, but like any set of
guidelines, it is only the starting point for good design. CW-11/99
Minasi, M. Secrets of Effective GUI Design. SYBEX: Alameda, CA, 1994.
Minnaert, M.G.J. (Translator), Seymour, L. (Translator). Light and Color in the
Outdoors, Springer Verlag, 1993. ISBN: (hardback) 3-540-97935-2, (softcover)
This is a science book for lay people. It's about observation, and could be filed under
Optics, Astronomy, or Physics -- or Photography. What is it doing in a list of books for
technical communicators interested in Usability? Well, for expanding your mind or helping
you to open your eyes, I can think of few books that would do more. As Dr. Edward Tufte
says in his well-regarded workshops, once you have read the Minnaert book, you'll never
look at dappled sunlight the same again. There are also very interesting paragraphs on
horizon effects (why can you see a ship upside down sometimes? what is that green flash at
sunset? why does the sun sometimes seem to come apart just as it sets?), light at night
reflected in raindrops or canals, and so on, with photographs illustrating many of the
observed effects. Who knows, once we're better at observing nature, maybe observing humans
becomes easier as well. And this is delicious mind candy. (Alice Preston)
Monk, A., Wright, P., Haber, J. and Davenport, L. Improving Your Human-Computer
Interface: A Practical Technique. Prentice Hall: New York, 1993.
This slim paperback gives practical advice on "Cooperative Evaluation", a
technique for uncovering potential usability problems in early prototypes. Appendix 1 is a
procedural guide to Cooperative Evaluation containing checklists for preparing and
conducting test sessions.
Morrell, R. W. (Ed.). Older adults, health information, and the world
wide web. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, 2003
Mullet, K. and Sano, D. Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication Oriented
Techniques. SunSoft Press: Mountain View, CA, 1995.
Mullet and Sanos book provides clear examples of some of the elusive concepts of
visual layout and design of GUIs. There are good descriptions of design concepts like
unity, scale, proportion, grouping, balance, and cohesiveness. The book is heavily
illustrated with good and bad visual designs.
Murray, Janet H Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace,
The Free Press: New York, 1997.
Computer games from the interactive stories from Infocom to free-form multi-user dungeons
(MUDs) are explorations in bringing storytelling into cyberspace. This book is an engaging
overview and analysis of the new narrative forms. The author looks at the types of
interactions, from text-based entry to virtual reality devices and the relationship
between the 'interactor' and the story. She is particularly interested in the computer
characters: how realistically they are portrayed, how autonomous their actions and how
they relate to the human interactors. There is a long journey from the early experiments
like Eliza to the characters on the Star Trek holodeck. How far is the distance from the
Microsoft Office Assistant to the computer-based entity, Jane, in Orson Scott Card's Speaker
for the Dead (TOR Books, 1986)? (Whitney Quesenbery - July 1998)
Newman, W. M. and Lamming, M. G. Interactive System Design. Addison-Wesley:
Interactive System Design is a good textbook for a general course on human-computer
Niederst, J., Web Design in a Nutshell. O'Reilly & Associates,
1998. ISBN: 1-56592-515-7 http://www.oreilly/com/catalog.wdnut/
Nielsen, J. (Ed.) Designing User Interfaces for International Use. Elsevier:
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1990.
Nielsen, J. Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity. New
Riders Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. 2000. ISBN: 156205810X Amazon
Nielsen, J. Hypertext and Hypermedia. Academic Press: Boston, MA 1993.
Nielsen, J. Multimedia and Hypertext: The Internet and Beyond. AP Professional:
Boston, MA, 1995.
Nielsen has compiled a detailed reference book on hypertext and multimedia systems. The
book does not focus on any one system (like the World-Wide-Web); it deals with a wide
range of applications and provides guidelines for choosing the most appropriate hypertext
implementation for a particular context. The chapters most relevant to usability
specialists deal with hypertext architectures, techniques for navigating large navigation
spaces, and hypertext usability. Chapter 10 (Hypertext Usability) describes usability
attributes for both users and authors of hypertext systems.
Nielsen, J. Usability Engineering. Academic Press: Boston, MA, 1993.
(Note: There is a paperback version available. The paperback version has additional
references and some updated material.)
Nielsens Usability Engineering is highly recommended. The book describes the
process by which development groups can create usable applications. The book details how
usability issues must be considered throughout the development process and provides
techniques for gathering usability data. There is excellent information on low-cost
usability testing techniques.
Nielsen, J. and Mack, R. L. (Eds.) Usability Inspection Methods. Wiley: New
York, NY, 1994.
Nielsen and Mack describe the experiences of usability engineers who have applied
inspection techniques to user interfaces. User interface inspections are conceptually
similar to code inspections and are becoming a serious tool for finding
"problems" with user interfaces.
Nielsen, J. and Tahir, M. Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed.
New Riders Publishing: Indianapolis, IN, 2002. ISBN: 0-7357-1102-X.
Norman, D. The Design of Everyday Things. Doubleday: New York, NY, 1990.
The Design of Everyday Things provides hundreds of examples of good and bad product
design. This book is especially good as a catalyst for getting people to think about
design. There is a paperback version of this book in many good bookstores.
Norman, D. A. The Invisible Computer: Why Good Products Can Fail, The Personal
Computer Is So Complex, and Information Applicances Are the Solution. The MIT
Press: Cambridge, MA, 1998. ISBN 0-262-14065-9
Don Norman is the latest industry guru to look at why computers have not lived up to their
promise. As he puts it, the purpose of this book is to take a realistic look at the world
of technology, the better to understand why good products can fail and inferior products
succeed. Although there are some interesting points and a good summary of some of the
current thinking on the subject, the book meanders somewhat repetitively as though it was
collected from a series of lecture notes. In the end, it gives short shrift to a
description or analysis of the information appliances promised in the title. Several
chapters of this book are available online at http://www.jnd.org/
Norman, K. L. The Psychology of Menu Selection: Designing Cognitive Control at the
Human/Computer Interface. Ablex: Norwood, NJ, 1991.
Normans book is a compendium on menu research before 1991. He covers types of menus,
cognitive issues in menu selection, formatting and phrasing in menus, learning and
training, depth versus breadth, search behavior, prototyping menus, and guidelines for
good menu designs. While the book is a bit dated, there is still much useful information
on common questions such as: How long should a menu be? How do I organize menus? How can I
test menu designs?
Olsen, Dan R. Developing User Interfaces, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, San
Francisco, 1998 ISBN: 1-55860-418-9.
If you need a present for your favorite programmer (the one who goes the extra mile to
make the interface actually work right), this book might be it. Olsen says "Unlike
most of the other books on the market
its primary target is those who must actually
program the user interface." One area where this book is particularly useful is in
its discussion of the difference between a functional design specification and an
implementation design, which can give interface designers and usability experts insight
into the process creating the architecture of the program. In its description of how
interactive behavior is handled in the interface, it identifies all of the elements that
must be defined for a complete specification. As a bridge between the worlds of user
interface design and system architecture, this book can help a designer understand the
issues programmers face in implementing a design. (WQ - Usability Interface October
Paciello, M. Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities.
CMP Books: Lawrence, Kansas, 2000. ISBN 1-929629-08-7.
Pande, P. S. Neuman, R. P., & Cavanagh, R. R. The Six Sigma
Way: How GE, Motorola, and Other Top Companies are Honing Their Performance.
McGraw-Hill: New York, NY, 2000. ISBN: 0-07-135806-4 Amazon
There are some pop-methods and fluff in the "Six Sigma Way," but the book
also has some good summaries of methodologies from the quality, management, and design
areas. There are some good Do's and Don'ts about how to improve quality and examples of
simple charts to indicate if process improvements are really improving things. The book is
one that stimulates thinking and provides some good ideas and tips that you can try out in
your design process.
Parker, R. C. Guide to Web Content and Design: Eight Steps to Web Site Success. MIS:Press:
New York, NY, 1997.
Roger Parker describes a process for designing a business Web site that attracts and keeps
clients coming back. He starts out by talking about marketing on the web and different
ways to use the Web. Then he outlines a process for designing and evaluating a Web site.
There are practical tips on topics like choosing a Web site address, chunking content,
getting visitors involved with the site, choosing colors, and promoting Web sites. Most
chapters have detailed worksheets that can be used as an aid for planning, designing, and
reviewing Web sites.
Parsaye, K. and Chignell, M. Intelligent Database Tools & Applications:
Hyperinformation Access, Data Quality, Visualization, Automatic Discovery. Wiley: New
York, NY, 1993.
This book is a good reference for designers working on methods for accessing large
databases. The authors discuss data visualization, hypermedia, executive information
systems, and architectures for designing intelligent databases.
Payne, S. L. The art of asking questions Princeton University
Press, Princeton, N. J., 1979
Pearrow, M. Web Site Usability Handbook. Charles River
Media, Inc: Rockland, MA, 2000 ISBN: 1-58450-026-3 Amazon
Pfaffenberger, B. The Elements of Hypertext Style. AP Professional: Boston,
The goal of this book is to teach useful and usable communication strategies for Web
publishing. This book provides guidelines for designing useful, aesthetic, and usable Web
sites. Pfaffenberger notes that the focus of this book is on smaller Web publishers who
may not have the resources of Fortune 500 companies. The book is well-written and
illustrated and a good addition to the user interface designer who is being asked to
design and evaluate Web pages and sites.
Picard, R. W. Affective Computing. The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 1997.
Affective Computing is a book about how to imbue computers with emotion. The authors
thesis is that emotion can have a positive effect on decision-making. This book reviews
the literature on theories of emotion and the impact of emotion on decision making. Picard
notes that "emoticons", those little faces made of text characters, are already
used to help people understand the meaning of text and that new technologies will soon
allow computers to express emotion. Picard describes work by Daniel Goleman who wrote the
book Emotional Intelligence, Patti Maes, a strong voice for agent technology, Reeves and
Nass, authors of the Media Equation, and other prominent psychologists delving into the
importance of emotion in human-human and human-computer interactions.
Preece, J. Online Communities: Designing Usability, Supporting
Sociability. John Wiley & Sons, 2001 ISBN: 0471805998
Preece, J., Rogers, Y., Sharp, H., Benyon, D., Holland, S. and Carey, T. Human-Computer
Interaction. Addison-Wesley: Reading, MA, 1994.
This is a textbook that covers many aspects of HCI. The book opens with a
discussion of the goals of HCI work and goes on to cover topics in human cognition,
technology, interaction design, and evaluation.
Preiser, W. F. E. & Ostroff, E. (Ed.). Universal design handbook.
McGraw-Hill, New York, 2001