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Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  826 ratings  ·  40 reviews

Designing the Obvious belongs in the toolbox of every person charged with the design and development of Web-based software, from the CEO to the programming team. Designing the Obvious explores the character traits of great Web applications and uses them as guiding principles of application design so the end result of every project instills customer satisfaction and loyalty

Paperback, First Edition, 256 pages
Published October 22nd 2006 by New Riders Press (first published October 11th 2002)
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Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
There have been many experiences over the last year and a half in my job at a user experience/interface design company where I've struggled to voice the logic and reasoning behind design choices and suggestions. A lot of what is logical to me is just that. Logical. I just KNOW it - yet, communicating the WHY and HOW of my why I think what I think has not come easily to me. Which is why I read books, blogs, and articles like this.

This book presents the reasoning behind design decisions and choice
Dennis Kardys Kardys
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend this book. It covers a lot of territory, so there was definitely a healthy dose of reminding me of things I already knew, while also continually introducing new concepts. The author writes in an extremely accessible tone, with enough personality and sarcasm to keep it from feeling dry. I kept a highlighter nearby while reading this one, and looking back, I'm pretty sure almost every page is marked up with good, quotable takeaways. If you're deep into UX already, you probably won ...more
Sep 23, 2010 rated it liked it
This should have been 3-5 long blog posts, and in style and grammar, it was. The content is good and worthy, but so fluffed to fill pages that I often had to re-read sections to get the essence, then stop reading before the fluff filled my head and pushed out the useful content.

Worth reading, but beware the fluff.
This book contains a collection of practical tips to improve the design of your user interface. It does not contain much information on the underlying design principles, or on how to test your design. That's not the focus of this book.

It is divided into clear chapters. Each chapter can be seen as a design principle, if you will. In each chapter, Hoekman provides numerous practical tips. These tips, unfortunately, are lost in the amount of text surrounding them. I could read the largest part of t
Udi h Bauman
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Useful insights & guidelines, but very detailed & long.
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ux-dev
Hoekman provides a great framework for approaching design and the continual process of refinement. Considering this text is now 4 years old, Internet years aside, some references remain true. Specifically web form design with inline validation. No matter how sophisticated applications become, data entry will always be essential for business and personal web interfaces. This book is an endless champion for simple intuitive design, creating useful applications that are powerful because their ease ...more
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
It's very good quick read and guidance to create user expereince design. The core things are requirements, reduction, and regularity of what you want to build. It's easy to say but this book explains really well how to do it. As an IA/UXD, chapter 4. Support the User’s Mental Model and chapter 5. Turn Beginners Into Intermediates, Immediately are very useful to have better sense to improve user experience. ...more
Aug 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: professional
It had some good concepts. Much of it felt like common sense, but I still found myself recalling specific pieces of the advice while at work, so it must not have been too common. I think more examples, especially visual examples would have been useful. It's one thing to say it, and another thing to illustrate it with a before/after type of example. It also seemed like he was somehow recompensed by Blinksale, as often as he mentioned them. ...more
May 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Web application designers and devlopers
A great book on making your web apps more focused, pleasant for the user, and for lack of another word... more "obvious". Lots of screenshots of good examples of web apps, tons of advice, well-organized, with bits of humor thrown in. It's slim, but it packs a punch. Definitely will be sharing this with my coworkers. ...more
Mar 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
The dedication gives you a sense of the book: "This book is dedicated to anyone who has ever used a Web application and resented the experience." I'm working on a Web-based ordering system which needs to be "intuitive" and "intuitive" doesn't happen on its own. So I'm looking for (and finding) inspiration in this book. ...more
Dan Graham
Jan 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
Although this book has a few gems in it, it is for the most part exactly what the title suggests, but too much so. Most of the suggestions in the book were either too obvious or they were too specific and categorical. Probably a worthwhile read if you’re in the business of usability but probably not otherwise.
Aaron M
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is book is a great guide and a notable resource. It really is a good entry point for developers or designers looking to improve their UX skills. Good break downs and plenty of further reading fodder.
Dec 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: design, 2009
This was actually recommended to me as a book with great ideas about design (I'm not a web designer/developer), and it is. The examples all relate to web applications, but the points he makes can easily be translated to other design/style projects. I learned quite a bit. ...more
Mar 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Very good and concise. Lots of theoretical information - zero implementation details (so if this is what you want, look elsewhere). Nothing mind-blowing, but sometimes the true talent of an author is gathering everything together in one spot so you can clearly see the patterns.
Jul 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Common sense approach to web interface and application design. Designing with the user in mind. Poka-yoke "mistake-proofing". Eat your own dog food. Create Personas. Elevation is reduction. Kaizen...eliminate waste. The 5S Approach: Sort, Straighten, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. ...more
Igor Pascoal
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book introduces some of the main things you have to keep in mind when designing web applications. It's great for beginners. It could probably have less words but it's a quick read. Seems to only be available as an ebook now. ...more
Jul 27, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: Yes
I am almost through and it has lots of little interesting things in it. Good book to read if working on the web.
Mar 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: interfacedesign
Great book for anyone willing to have a try at web-app creation
Nicole Califano
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
good read for those looking to learn about current interface challenges & smart solutions/referneces. I really enjoy the author's quirky tone. ...more
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it
Introduces some useful design terminologies towards the beginning of the book. But loses it favor towards the end... Quick read.
Jan 04, 2009 rated it liked it
A quick read that feels like a companion piece to Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think." ...more
Jan 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: usability-design
Excellent book for designers and developers.
Sep 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Quick and easy read to get your introduced to good web applicatiod design. I especially liked the hamburger analogy when asking users what functionality they would like to have.
Dec 13, 2010 is currently reading it
smart book,
lots of good information
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written, easy to understand UX book.
Feb 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: UX people
Good book, good concepts, too many extra words - padded a bit maybe to make it longer? It's a quick read though, and you'll walk away with some new tidbits, which really makes it a 3 1/2 star.
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Font of the book was sans serif, so was a bit hard to read @ times. But too the point, well-explained, and applicable to my own environment at work. Will be flipping through this again and again.
Seth Hein
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
An interesting and challenging look at designing web applications. The focus here is on simplicity and ease of use.
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended by @jasonperkowski
Aug 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Solid advice on web site design and usability
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Robert Hoekman Jr is an American writer and editor and the host of the Spillers podcast and event series. His work has been featured by Fast Company, WIRED, Huckberry, Bike Exif, and others. He has won awards for writing and podcasting. He’s currently damn near finished writing his first novel.

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