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The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  2,538 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
From the moment it was published almost ten years ago, "Elements of User Experience" became a vital reference for web and interaction designers the world over, and has come to define the core principles of the practice. Now, in this updated, expanded, and full-color new edition, Jesse James Garrett has refined his thinking about the Web, going "beyond "the desktop to inclu ...more
ebook, 190 pages
Published December 16th 2010 by New Riders Publishing (first published October 21st 2002)
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Jan 07, 2011 Tamara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: web, web-content, work
This book essentially dissects the process of website creation, clearly defining every element that goes into planning and implementing a website. This would have provided an invaluable visual map during our last website redesign. Rather than a tangled ball of yarn, I can now see all of the wheels and cogs fit together in a logical manner.

It seems that, of the five planes of the user experience development process (the surface plane, the skeleton plane, the structure plane, the scope plane and
Eric Phetteplace
Jul 20, 2014 Eric Phetteplace rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lis-web
Somewhere, Nietzsche has a quote (probably directed at Kant) dissing philosophers who, rather than introduce new ideas or vectors of exploration, simply schematize already existing terms. That is, they take a bunch of signifiers and try to ground them in reality or each other.
Jesse James Garrett takes schematization to a new level in The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web, unfortunately. See, the problem with user experience is we haven't defined its constituent terms
Asia Hoe
Jul 03, 2013 Asia Hoe rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: User Experience Designers, Business Analysts, Etc.
Recommended to Asia by: General Assembly
I read this book in preparation for a class at General Assembly on User Experience Design. Excellent resource on User Experience for both designers and everyone they meet in a product's life cycle. The methodologies herein are invaluable and worth revisiting at the start of each project, and at each phase of a project. You won't find specific examples, as the book is more about methodology than application. This is helpful if you're trying to wrap your mind around what UX is, and how to go about ...more
Aug 03, 2008 Kelley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Web developers and designers who want to understand UX
I just finished Andy Clarke's Transcending CSS and deciding to delve into The Elements of User Experience which I picked up because, skimming, I realized it was giving me names for what most of us are already doing.

So far, it's concise and Garrett does a nice job of making sure that a web developer doesn't leave a reading of the book with impression that user-centered design isn't connected to a much bigger discipline, human factors design. Garrett hasn't used that word -- or Computer Human Int
Haider Al-Mosawi
This is a must-read book for anyone involved in web development.

It takes a holistic look at the subject of user experience and provides a very useful vocabulary for all the elements involved in user experience design.

The author provides a model that consists of 5 planes that cover the abstract as well as the concrete aspects of the user experience.

The 5 planes are:

1- Strategy (why you're building the site for you and your users)
2- Scope
3- Structure
4- Skeleton
5- Surface (the visual elements of th
Josh Lee
The diagram that lies at the heart of the book, a layered view of user experience design, is solid. The book itself feels kind of padded, though, and I found myself skimming a lot. You might be better served by simply meditating on the diagram itself ( ), and only referring to the book if you need more explication.
Philippe Heckly
A basic of UX it didn't impress me as much as others. That websites have layers of meaning, interactivity and can trigger various emotions is something that perhaps more than 10 years after the book was written we now take for granted?
Lucas Terra
Jan 03, 2016 Lucas Terra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jesse James Garrett exposes in a very clear way the essence of user experience for the web. He breaks down the ux for the web into five different planes going deep into the vocabulary and strategy for designing better experiences for our digital world.
Mike Hales
Jan 15, 2010 Mike Hales rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely essential reading if this is an area of professional or personal interest.

I try and reread this book once a year as a kind of grounding and to re-establish the key processes and steps involved in considered and effective UX design.
Jun 13, 2011 Minah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book defines each phrase of user-centered designs well.
Strategy(user needs, site objectives),
Scope(functional spedifications, content requirements),
Structure(interaction design, information architecture),
Skeleton(information design), and
Surface(visual design)
Mar 25, 2009 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-reads
If you could marry a professional book, this would be at the top of my list.
Bayu Amus
Nov 10, 2009 Bayu Amus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design, uxd
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Graham Herrli
Perhaps the most pleasantly surprising thing about this book was realizing part-way through that it's a theory book. For the most part, I can't abide theory. I prefer writings that demonstrate their ideas with concrete principles, so I was pleased to realize while reading this book that I hadn't even noticed I was reading theory. The prose style is clear and concise enough that the pages fly by despite their abstract content.

Garrett considers five overlapping planes in website design: the surfa
Moayad Taibah
Feb 04, 2014 Moayad Taibah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ux
This is an interesting take on UX. The author explains the ux process starting from stating the business objectives to building the user interface. I appreciated that the author went for a more general process overview rather than techniques and tools of UX, specially for someone like myself who has been checking out these techniques and learning about them but without any proper structure or skeleton that addresses the utility and complementary nature each one provided to the other. It also she ...more
Sean Fishlock
Having read Garrett's blog and been familiar with his elements chart, I was looking for something a bit more in-depth.

Garret goes beyond the simplified way that most companies traditionally approach web design, and introduces elements of usability and user-centred design conceptually and as processes. To be honest, I really was expecting something a bit different, and for me, the book doesn't really break new ground. Though its benefit comes in its explanation of the processes and concepts in a
Momoko Price
Dec 23, 2013 Momoko Price rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully concise and logical fundamentals book. Was a bit disappointed — although not at all surprised — that the chapter on "sensory design" didn't mention even one basic heuristic or guideline for effective content/copy.

The just-won't-die convention of keeping copy / content removed from UX design processes is a perpetual point of frustration for me. I love content strategy, but I am getting really tired of being brought in at the point of web-project crisis and expected to resolve strateg
Jan 29, 2011 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I read this a year ago, I would have awarded it 5 stars. It's still a great book and explains the basic principles of UX really well but overall, nothing was really fresh to me. It's rewarding to notice my knowledge progression from novice to competent in the academic arena of UXD.

Garrett touched on the importance of success metrics early into the book and it sparked my interest. With so much to cover in such a small time, this subject wasn't discussed in my curriculum. When applying learned
Apr 18, 2016 Skate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ux
A little light on content. Basically breaks UX Design info five 'planes' building from the bottom up (with each plane split into 'product as functionality' and 'product as information'):
5. The Surface Plane (Sensory / Design) - images, buttons, controls, etc
4. The Skeleton Plane (Interface Design / Navigation Design) - placement/arrangement of elements.
3. The Structure Plane (Interaction Design / Information Architecture) - Site Mapping/Card Sorting/Categorizing and how things fit together.
2. Th
Apr 17, 2010 Sergey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Мнение сугубо личное, но думаю, с ним согласятся специалисты со стажем.
Книга будет интересна только новичкам или узкопрофильным специалистам. Большинство рекомендаций из области "здравого смысла", которые приобрели популярность с распространением IT технологий в массах.
Очень трудно было читать на русском - во первых, перевод если и без грубых ошибок, то все же написан слишком формальным языком и, как следствие, воспринимается в большим трудом; во вторых - мне лично очень редко приходится читать
Pete Meyers
Mar 04, 2011 Pete Meyers rated it really liked it
Concise, commensensical roundup of how to develop great user experiences. Garrett mainly focuses on websites, but in this editions pays a bit of attention to other products (mobile apps, e.g.). There's no one bit of advice in here that will strike digital veterans as revelatory; instead, the value of this book lies in the way he puts all steps of the develop process into a unified framework (from strategy to visual design). It's a great refresher for anyone about to get started on a new project.
Sep 12, 2012 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarianship
This was one of the texts for my Information Architecture class. I really liked it both as a textbook and in general as a resource on web design. It's straightforwardness and pure usefulness are its biggest assets. Garrett is clear, direct, and concise throughout the the book, and the diagrams were truly helpful in illustrating and explaining concepts. His framework and approach is logical and practical - it would be relevant and useful for just about any type of website or other such projects.
Christopher Stella
Though digital design has evolved dramatically since this book was first published, every element still rings true.

Like the well designed products for which JJG is providing a blueprint, the book is beautifully structured, its messages clearly and succinctly articulated - providing readers with an enjoyable experience that educates and entertains. This is a must read for any designer or marketer.
Jun 17, 2013 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: web-design
This book was incredibly painful for me to read. It's well written and really spells everything out. It would be great for someone just getting into web design or getting into Web project management, but for someone who's done multiple Web redesigns and has a career in the field, it was just TEDIOUS. I did learn a few terms, so I'm glad I made it through, it just took me over a year to read 160 pages.
Sep 16, 2013 Alyssa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book that walks you through the stages of designing a good user experience. It focuses on websites, but it has applications for client software as well. Loved how he explained how each stage builds on the next, and his explanations of how various disciplines such as info architecture, visual design, interaction design, etc. work together. A must-read for anyone in web or software development.
Feb 05, 2016 joke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Smart organizations recognize that Web design is more than just creating clean code and sharp graphics. A site that really works fulfills your strategic objectives while meeting the needs of your users. Even the best content and the most sophisticated technology won't help you balance those goals without a cohesive, consistent user experience to support it.
Fritz Desir
Great book and what I'd recommend to people seeking to cross the UX chasm (yeah I made that up but it exists). Recommended ESPECIALLY to colleagues that you may work with who just don't *fully* get it. Gripes: More of a bibliography is needed and more mobile would've been appreciated. All in all. ABSOLUTELY WORTH READING...
John Wargo
Not what I expected, but still interesting. I think if I was starting a major web design project (rather than being in the middle of one) I'd find this book useful. Still, it reinforced things I thought I already knew and will help me have a better dialog with the Marketing folks I'm working with right now.
Dave Emmett
Read for the April UX Book Club.

This is a good grounding in how to do user experience design, though I didn't find much new here that I wasn't already aware of before.

I expect that this would make a great introduction to the field for people who want to get into it, or who need to work with UX people.
Chris Aylott
A slim book with plenty of food for thought. I don't know how useful Garrett's schema really is, because a lot of the elements he describes are subject to the whim of (ahem) other stakeholders in the process. But it's an interesting way to organize your thoughts about a design, and a good reminder of how all the decisions relate to each other.
Jan 06, 2017 Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: computer-nerd
Succinct, but with all the necessary information to get consensus among a group of stakeholders because of the 5-element approach. Five questions to answer, with some study and designing to do in each question. For most websites, this would do just the trick nicely, particularly in institutions where design has been an afterthought with more and more links and pages just added over time.
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Question? 1 5 Sep 10, 2014 05:38PM  
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Jesse James Garrett is a user experience designer as well as a co-founder of Adaptive Path, a user experience strategy and design firm, and of the Information Architecture Institute. His essays have appeared in New Architect, Boxes and Arrows, and Digital Web Magazine. Jesse attended the University of Florida.

Garrett authored The Elements of User Experience, a conceptual model of user-centered des
More about Jesse James Garrett...

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