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

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  4,007 ratings  ·  159 reviews
A site that really works fulfills your strategic objectives while meeting the needs of your users. This book aims to minimize the complexity of user-centered design for the Web with explanations and illustrations that focus on ideas rather than tools or techniques.
Paperback, 189 pages
Published October 21st 2002 by Peachpit Press
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Valentin Hi Reed, I draw most of my knowledge and inspiration from the design guides published by big tech companies. I found the ones on Windows 7 and Windows…moreHi Reed, I draw most of my knowledge and inspiration from the design guides published by big tech companies. I found the ones on Windows 7 and Windows 8 particularly good, but there's also Material Design and Apple Human Interface Guide. It's not good literature, but it is good learning because of it.

Design books rarely go into the details, which is where the actual design is, and are happy to just tell a good story with pictures.(less)
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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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
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: business, non-fiction
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.
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: in-my-bookcase, ux
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.
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.
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
Shelves: design
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
Jun 27, 2021 rated it did not like it
So vague about everything. Page upon page of passing mentions. At one point he talks about user research methods without listing the methods, or at least the methods he used most often… I understand you can't cover everything in a book seemingly about anything :)) but that bit of information would actually qualify as useful.

I did find the levels of design—so beautifully illustrated in this book and the reason why I even started it—to be just the map I needed to draw the boundaries between me, in
Sep 27, 2021 rated it liked it
A good introduction to the famous six planes of user experience, but minus many real-world examples, case studies, and weirdly enough... a whole lot of humanity. I came to this book after reading Steve Krug's terrific "Don't Make Me Think", which is written in a fun, conversational style and chock full of real examples (including screen shots of real websites, examples of navigation menus that do and don't work, etc.)... Coming to this book afterward, I am walking away feeling disappointed and j ...more
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
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
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
Julian Moreno
Jul 25, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the fundamentals! Although the book has been published for quite some time, Jesse James Garrett's main model is still very much in force. It will help you have a holistic view and a solid foundation in user-centered design.

As far as my professional experience is concerned, the model of the five planes has given me a solid foundation, while at the same time it has provided me with a systematic basis to address different situations around the design of products/services.

In other words, the
Apr 25, 2022 rated it really liked it
Jesse James Garrett's "The Elements of User Experience" is a relatively difficult-to-find playbook for UX that's as relevant two decades later as it was upon release. Garrett's introduction of the five planes of user experience -- and their corresponding layers of abstraction -- continues to be a game-changer in web design and other disciplines. Full of useful diagrams, the book covers everything from how to treat edge cases to incorporating eyetracking data to defining functional elements. This ...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: ux, 2018
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.
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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