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The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web (Voices (New Riders)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  3,818 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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.

But creating th

Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 11th 2002 by New Riders
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The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. NormanDon't Make Me Think by Steve KrugThe Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People by Susan M. WeinschenkAbout Face 3 by Alan Cooper
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 ·  3,818 ratings  ·  144 reviews

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Start your review of The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web (Voices (New Riders)
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was ok
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
Josh Lee
Jul 26, 2007 rated it liked it
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. ...more
Asia Hoe
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Haider Al-Mosawi
Mar 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: user-experience
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
Philippe Heckly
May 03, 2015 rated it liked it
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? ...more
m a r y l i z
Read for my interactive design class (aka the bane of my existence), and this textbook was basically one big snooze-fest. The only chapter that was very applicable to my career was the one about sensory design.

(No, I'm not adding textbooks to my reading challenge because I'm desperate to reach my goal. Why do you ask? *COUGH*)
Brendan Brooks
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, business
Essential reading, for almost every aspect of website development, including management, will be a book that is kept handy to my desk from now on.
Aug 03, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ux, in-my-bookcase
10/24/20 Update after 2nd reading: This book has aged well and should be required reading for developers, too.

Original review: Enjoyed this more than I expected. The author includes enough simple examples to make it a great introductory text, as well as plenty of theory to provide reference in the future. I used some of his points as starting places for further research, both online and internal to my organization, and I'm excited to see where that research will take me. For a newbie to UX, this
Mike Hales
Jan 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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)
Lucas Terra
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Davood Torabzadeh
Aug 28, 2014 rated it liked it
It's good for beginners ...more
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work-reads
If you could marry a professional book, this would be at the top of my list.
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uxd, 2018
In reality, I have probably read this book through at least 3 time using it as a guide and source through my UX practice, and never sitting down and just reading it from cover to cover in one sitting. I can imagine that that would be pretty boring. These types of books are hard to rate, given that in as little as a few months they could be rendered obsolete, and a new edition will come out within a year with how quickly things change. But, pretty sure this s the most up-to-date one since it’s fi ...more
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-ux
What it's about: Using design as a way to achieve business goals + user goals, including an important framework ("5 Planes") for thinking about user experience.

Why Read It: A foundational way to think about design strategy, helpful for approaching new projects

When to Read it: This is one of those reads that makes you step back and reevaluate your work, and the way you work.

Reading this book gives you depth. While most people spend time arguing about how UX is not UI (which is true), you see deep
Blake Williford
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: UI / UX designers
One of the classics and a must have for any designer working in UI / UX professions.

What makes this book so great is its timeless quality - Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, Skin is easy to remember and applies to software 20 years ago and will apply to software / experiences 20 years from now - Who the heck knows what we will be designing? Immersive mixed reality co-creative experiences? The same general approach applies.

While this is not a definitive source of information like some textboo
May 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: design
I likely would have rated this book higher had I read it years ago. The content is solid but dry. It reminded me way too much of sitting in core university classes. Garrett's diagram is a great place to start understanding the fundamentals of UX for web. I believe that is all this book intended to be, so I won't criticize it for lacking more practical and interesting concepts. I would certainly recommend it to someone just starting out in UX, but I wouldn't bother with a recommendation to someon ...more
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to anyone learning about User Experience or has to sell it as part of their job.

This book does a good job explaining the fundamental aspects of user experience, defining all the various, seemingly interchangeable terms, and shows how they are all related. It is not an "actionable" book, meaning you can't read it and go redo the UX of a website. It doesn't have the principle/example format of other books such as "Don't Make Me Think". I don't see it as a stand-alone book but, rather,
Christian Jensen
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design-read
I like how the author breaks down the complex field of UX design into a series of individual elements, separated into five different "planes". The five planes are Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton and Surface, stacked on top of one another to illustrate how a UX project is structured. Each plane build upon the decisions made on the underlying plane(s), while also informing the options on the plane(s) above.

Especially the first version of the book focuses on UX of websites, but I think most of
Eoghan Hickey
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent primer that covers the end to end process of UX design. Short enough to be absorbed quickly, this book is packed with great nuggets and sensible terminology. Not pretentious. Basically it comes down to understanding what the problem is, and the consequences of the solution you are proposing. Broken up as elements, this acknowledges overlap between the stages of a project, and doesn't feel prescriptive. Deserves its place as a must read. Much of this won't be new to you if you work in U ...more
Yuliana Oselska
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An essential guide to understanding the general concept of UX on different levels. The author argued there are five elements of any design - strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface, and two types of digital products - product as functionality and product as information. In his book, the author studied each element/layer from both perspectives of web applications and content websites which made this book extremely useful. Especially, I liked the visual component of presenting his unders ...more
Emily Mozzone
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An absolutely incredible book for beginner to intermediate user experience designers. If you want to know what the heck UX is, this book is for you. It mostly focuses on web design, but I prefer that side of UX so I was really pleased. Even the book had a great user experience: great pictures, color coded chapters, small text in a big page so you feel like you're reading faster, bolded key information. My only complaint is that some of the graphic design examples are outdated. Garrett walks thro ...more
Dragos Triteanu
Lacks concrete examples for actual interaction design beat practices

I think that the this is a good book, but it kinda falls short ehen it comes to concrete examples of planning interaction.

As far as I understood, the author suggest using the framework described in the book for managing software solutions as a whole. The framework itself is not bad, but the scope, strategy and stru ture planes kinda try to steal away the glory from the good old fashioned software requirement specification docum
JB Ong
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For years, this book serves as the foundation for the UX career path. Even when you learn all the processes and skills that make up UX Design, this book maintains itself as a worthwhile reference. There are many crucial pieces of advice in this book, regardless if you're

Crucial foundation for those developing a product. Especially if you're in the field of UX Design. Great to keep to referencing structure ideas for project planning.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, ux
I’d like to revisit this book sometime, when I’m able to give it some day-time level attention and note-taking. Most of the ideas presented in here were ones I’d encountered before, usually divorced from this (original?) context. (It was published in 2011, after all.) that said, his “five elements” framework feels like an excellent foundation to work from, and I’ve already tried to apply it to my work.
Emanuel Serbanoiu
This book is one of the best a beginner can read and I would even recommend it to project/product managers or anyone who doesn't yet see the value of design. A very light read with notions easy to comprehend.

I believe it will get outdated soon since the process and the way people are thinking about design is changing fast, but it should be good for another 2-3 years.
Maca Escalona
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hoang Vu
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's a good book to follow as you are the Principal Designer of the company. The book provides a broad range of UX from the Ground level (Strategy) to the top (Surface). The knowledge in this book is timeless and can be applied to the whole process of development. The downside is the details in this book were made nearly 20 years ago, even the second edition has updated a lot more new definitions and methods, it is still a bit out-dated in the fast-moving world. ...more
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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

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