About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design, 4th edition
By Cooper, Alan
Book – 2014
Many years ago in the mid-’90s, Alan Cooper wrote the first edition of this leading UI design book. Its revelation for me was the concept of automatic save. When you are using, say, a word processor, you normally want to save before closing. So that is automatic, and if you want otherwise then you have to ask for it via some menu or control. There are never confirmation dialogs saying “are you sure you want to …”. Instead, there is an undo function which can reverse any action when you want to go back.
Cooper got his ideas while designing the original Microsoft VB. But ten years later, users of Word still need to save their work manually. It brings to mind a horror story I witnessed when an inexperienced senior was closing a word processor and asking with concern why it was asking ‘do you want to replace your existing file’. For someone who does not know the difference between volatile memory and permanent storage, this is a hurdle.
Of course, Google got the right idea, so you don’t have to tell Doc to save your work.
About Face discusses all aspects of interaction design in great detail. It has advanced with the times and covers touch-screen tablet devices. But in a world which is rapidly moving to do everything in the browser, perhaps Cooper should devote more of the book to web apps. There is a great but short section on web search UI which I find to be the high point of the book.
This edition, at 650 color pages, is much bigger than the original. That is good because there is so much to discuss.
Designing for Performance –
Weighing Aesthetics and Speed,
By Lara Callender Hogan, O’Reilly, 2014
Web designers will like this book written by a top designer at Etsy. You can read it online at
The links below might not be very useful.
Photoshop for Designers Book
By Barker, Corey
Book – 2016
This is a user guide for Adobe Photoshop. The racy style of this book will appeal to many people who learn visually and like Hollywood-style effects. Here is the author’s web site.
150 pages, with illustrations on most pages.
Lynda has video courses to help you learn web design. More recently they have added other learning topics, generally related to technology.
The OPL has a ‘proxy’ for Lynda, so OPL pays for you when you view the courses (otherwise you would pay $25 per month for the basic plan). You will have to register here at Lynda:
HTML5 & CSS3 for the Real World By Goldstein, Alexis Book – 2015
Creating A Website – The Missing Manual By MacDonald, Matthew Book – 2015
Responsive Web Design by Example By Firdaus, Thoriq Book – 2014
Responsive Web Design With Adobe Photoshop By Rose, Dan Book – 2015
Photoshop CC contains many new features that help streamline the process of converting a static page design to a set of components for a responsive web page.
This book balances coverage of conceptual issues (how to fit tools like Photoshop to the design workflow) with practical design exercises.
The New Web Typography Create A Visual Hierarchy With Responsive Web Design By Teague, Jason Cranford Book – 2015
Responsive Web Design Toolkit – Hammering Websites Into Shape, Ken Tabor, 2015
Web designers and developers will want to read this book. It has many good ideas, but is poorly organized. Everyone has their personal toolkit and modus operandi; this book tells about Tabor’s.