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Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,931 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Designing a good interface isn't easy. Users demand software that is well-behaved, good-looking, and easy to use. Your clients or managers demand originality and a short time to market. Your UI technology -- web applications, desktop software, even mobile devices -- may give you the tools you need, but little guidance on how to use them well.

UI designers over the years hav
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 28th 2005 by O'Reilly Media (first published November 1st 2005)
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Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Designing Interfaces is one of the few books every designer should have and read, note: get the print version, this book will not translate well to ebook.

It does a great job laying out the common patterns of software design and establishing a common nomenclature for referring to each one. Given its scope, Tidwell only superficially tackles each topic-- however she provides the foundational elements of each one (going over Gestalt principles for example) to ensure even those unfamiliar to interac
Feb 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Another gorgeous design book. But not quite what I was expected.

The book is basically an encyclopedia of UI design patterns, or maybe "mini patterns". Broken into categories like form design, editor design, etc. Covering areas like individual, concrete patterns like tabbed containers, referred to as "card stack" to general, abstract notions like "diagonal balance". Each pattern is cross-linked with related patterns. I assume an online version of this book would work quite well, particularly if t
Dec 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
The domain of the book is very well defined by its title. Its primary focus is to educating the readers about Interaction Patterns, its use and context of usage. The book encompasses certain aspects of Interfaces but leaves the readers craving for more patterns. So after reading this book you might want to look into Yahoo! pattern library.
All in all, a nice read for someone who has a decent knowledge of Interface designing and interface usability. Will not recommend this book to someone looking
Alper Çuğun
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Nice book with explanations and examples of most of the common user interface elements and idioms. An excellent reference with thoughtful and in most cases very recent examples illustrating the patterns.

As with any design book this is not complete but covers most of the bases extensively and a lot in it has been motivated thoroughly but remains discutable. Let neither of those put you off.

Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a book for designers to think about "common sense" that might not be as commonly distributed as the name would suggest. For me it was just a fun little dip into an area where I don't go swimming, almost never. On the other hand, after parsing through the patterns, it makes you appreciate correct usage a tiny bit more, I feel.

First edition of this book was written 2005 and the second one after the smartphone revolution 2011, but main parts are so called "common sense" in any situation. Bu
Graham Herrli
Aug 15, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: design-related
I can only assume that one of the reasons some people don't believe in the value of UX design is the existence of books like this.

In over 500 pages it says absolutely nothing.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although the book was written back in 2005, it mostly discusses basic principles of UI design that are timeless, avoiding to get in details that are related with the seasonal trends. This approach makes the book modern even after 12 years.

The writer managed to present and analyse most aspects that someone needs to consider in order to create a user-friendly UI, while most of the analysed principles can be also applied for web-design or even poster-design. It is easy-to-read and written in a sim
Jun 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was super useful when I was working on my project. When I did not have much ideas how to start with creating a certain element I could always find ideas. What I really like about this book is also how much material you can find. Today we have websites such as Material Design and many others who share the component specifications with the rest of the world. So even though I think it's a good book, it's not as practical as a direct website and some of it's cases are pretty old - but it c ...more
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tech
(Review for 2020 edition)

Very nice encyclopedia/showcase of common design patterns. Each pattern is explained - what it does, what are users' expectations, what are its states and capabilities, and where you should use it. It is, perhaps, not what many readers are looking for, but I find this kind of book useful for:
- teaching interface designers about states (empty, selected, error etc)
- giving developers a glimpse of the meaning behind the interface and human factors in web dev, not just dry c
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, uxd
I was given this as a supplemental resource for a new job, particularly for Chapter 7, and think it’s an excellent guide. It doesn’t go very in depth, but she lists pros and cons of different design decisions that helps, IMO, when making UI decisions. I think this is a great reference for anyone in a HCD field, especially those who are new to UI design. I don’t think it’s the best resource for people who have been working in the field for a while though, and much better for novices like myself. ...more
Sep 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
Designing interfaces can be very difficult. The proof is the majority of applications that are hard or unpleasant to work with. Yet the author has no idea what designing interfaces takes. Tidwell only wings it by making up reasons why the Apple interface is great. Well the Apple interface is great and sales would prove it. And? Reading this book you would be able to do a Mac application interface. Something you would be able to do by simply using a Mac and paying attention to the details, instea ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although written in 2011, this is still a valuable resource for talking about and designing applications of all types (desktop, web, mobile). Trends come & go (as evidenced by the numerous examples) but the building blocks remain the same. A great reference!

My only quibble is with the book design. There are so many examples (a good thing) it's hard to pick the major heading out sometimes (a bad thing). If there was more whitespace and maybe a more striking section level style for each pattern it
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice overview of UI patterns (typical ways interface is out together, controls you would use etc) with some coverage of usability and interactions. Definitely worth giving an user / client so they know what's possible / feasible whilst working on a new app / website. Since 2nd edition Google Material design and iOS 'Human Interface Guidelines' moved the domain a bit. Time for a reviewed 3rd edition? ...more
Summa Smiff
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: ux-ui
A good overview of common UI elements and their best use cases. If you have been an interaction designer for long, most of it is likely to be familiar if not obvious, but the clear explanations still make this a valuable read. If you are new to interaction design, Designing Interfaces will get you to start thinking about the relationship of form to function and put you on the right path for further development.
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book highlights classic design patterns in desktop user interfaces and is helpful broken down into specific topic areas. It’s a good resource but one that I feel should be updated to reflect changes that have happened to interfaces since it was originally written. I was torn between giving it 3 or 4 stars as some of the illustrations and examples are a bit dated, but I ended up giving it 4 because the explanations were very clear and helpful as a resource.
Nguyen Huu Anh Vu
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: computer-science
This book contains many mini UI patterns, from UX point of view. Each with its own what, why, when, how and examples from well-known Desktop Application, Website, Mobile...

This serves as a good reference book, not as a thorough guide for Designing Interfaces
Nov 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very good book with basic knowledge about designing interfaces. Must read if one is interested in ui/ux design. One big minus – unfortunately it’s a bit outdated. It definitely should be updated with new design patterns.
Kristen Byers
Not my favorite textbook but not the worst, either. Lots of UX design patterns with clear examples (that will surely be outdated in two years). I also did not like the use of the term “differently abled”.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
A lot of great stuff in here on Information Architecture but the examples are very old.

The book needs an update to be really worth the read at this point.

F //
Aug 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Goog, though should be updated. Some examples are outdated.
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, 3-star-ratings
Great reference even though the examples were dated and the writing was a little dense.
Kevin T
Nov 29, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit dated now, but the subject matter still holds up. This introduced the concept of pattern design & design impact to me.
Apr 10, 2021 rated it liked it
A good reference for beginners. Gestalt's principles summary (chapter 4) was the best part. ...more
Christopher Caldwell
I paid for this becuase it was more focused on design language/UX and patterns. I thought it would be more timeless than something that focused on transient code and applications that are short lived.

I think it did the job, though it was very dry and unfortunately I was wrong and even UX and design patterns move on at a faster rate than I expected.

Still, it was an intelligent read and well put together.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design, psychology
Intelligent and Invaluable

Jenifer Tidwell's pattern based approach is amazingly good! She carefully organizes and enumerates a wide variety of effective user interface options for both small screen (ie: Blackberry, cell phones) and larger screen forms. I am not an expert in UI design by any means (I have read Donald Norman, Tagnazzini, Shneiderman and Mayhew but I have no background in graphic design), but I do project reviews and this book has given me some insight into problems and potential
Sep 30, 2011 added it
Has helpful tips. A few technical quibbles. Sometimes examples were given of an interactive process with only one screenshot, making it a bit of work to try to figure out what the rest of the interaction looked like. I occassionly had a hard time flipping through looking for a particular pattern. [return][return]Really though a good book as far as interface design goes. Certainly one of the better O'Reilly books I've read in a while. [return][return](Lots of good examples for folks to build off ...more
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books for any User Interface Design student/pro/enthusiast.

Really well-organized, with easy-to-understand explanations and tons of examples.

I had to read this book for my Interface Design class -- normally I sell off my textbooks after the course is done. This one isn't leaving me.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computers
One of the best books on designing interfaces...I find myself returning to it periodically for refresher sessions. It leads one down a path on not only 'what' the user is wanting to accomplish but also 'why' and 'how'. Every software developer would be better off reading and thinking about this book. ...more
Blake Winton
Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it
As many other people have mentioned, this book is a great list of Design Patterns. Unfortunately that makes it harder to read than something with a narrative. Now that I'm done reading it, I can easily see myself referring back to this book when I have a problem, or want some inspiration or new ideas. ...more
Emily H.
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dr-min-liu, prof-dev
Although it was odd that there was a duck on the cover, everything inside this book was worth reading. I really liked Tidwell's writing and think she's organized, succinct, reflective, and anyone who reads her book will become a better interface designer. This would be a great textbook for any media-design course. ...more
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