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Defensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points
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Defensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  254 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Defensive design is like defensive driving brought to the Web. Good site defense can make or break the customer experience. This book shows the right (and wrong) ways to get defensive, offers guidelines to prevent errors and rescue customers if a breakdown occurs.It also shows you how to evaluate and improve your own site's defensive design.
Paperback, 246 pages
Published March 2nd 2004 by New Riders Publishing (first published January 1st 2004)
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Smart, practical guidelines for designing web sites and web applications.

The book is broken down into structured guidelines that are both easy to read and reference. While this book was written in 2004, the guidelines hold up surprisingly well.

It's uncited and does little to refer to their own end user and A/B testing, which is odd for 37signals-- but the insights are easy to agree with, while in a few instances you'll note that the web has moved into a contradictory direction (it's odd seeing
- Good, would be handy to have on bookshelf as reference material
- Covered everything you'd need for contingency design - comprehensive, whilst being concise
- Plenty of examples but it did get a bit repetitive at times
Mikulas Dite
Although this book tries to be easy to comprehend and the main rules are repeated all over the book, it would be a lot clearer if the examples were in color. Even a little experienced UI designer will learn nothing new from this book, I've however found a nice tip or two. Examples are sometimes quite old and many recommended solutions were outdated.
All of these guidelines seem so simple to follow and I can see how these would really have a positive impact on customer experience. Every guideline was backed up with examples of websites that were doing things right or wrong. A great read for anyone working with websites!
Straightforward book on making sure a website user can get out of bind through well-categorized, to-the-point guidelines, supported by good and bad examples. Great as a design reference.

Ates Goral
Usually giving redundant examples to emphasize simple points. A seasoned web developer would be aware of 80% of what's mentioned in this book. But it's a good refresher after all.
Easy to read with many examples (same as Letting Go of the Words). Some of the reading is cut-and-dry, though, so can be boring if you're not familiar with the terms.
Ryan Parman
Very useful, very impactful. Not nearly enough people pay attention to contingency design, and this book brings it all to the forefront. Highly recommended.
Interesting dive into interaction design challenges; a good companion guide for example when defining and testing use cases.
Dec 21, 2011 Bryan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: web professionals
Breaks down an often overlooked part of web design and development. What do you do when things on a site go wrong...
Good book on how to surface errors, how to prevent them, and how to avoid lost $$ from bad web design.
Alwyn Velasquez
Reading this in conjunction to the Web Anatomy book-a full comment will follow once I finish it.
Christopher Winslett
Great. Not flashy, but great.
Marcus Lira
Yet another good book on usability.
simple and effectively timeless points
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  • Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design
  • Prioritizing Web Usability
  • Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions
  • Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks
  • Designing With Web Standards
  • Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning
  • Bulletproof Web Design: Improving Flexibility and Protecting Against Worst-Case Scenarios with XHTML and CSS
  • Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites
  • Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior
  • Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices
  • Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests
  • Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner's Guide to User Research
  • The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web
  • Designing Web Navigation
  • The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems
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  • A Practical Guide to Information Architecture

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