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Making the Web Work: Designing Effective Web Applications

Book Description

Making the Web Work is one of the first books to discuss in detail the unique challenges and issues involved in designing Web-based applications and services. The book tackles this subject on three levels by describing a structured method for prioritizing and categorizing individual design decisions, by offering a detailed analysis of various design options, and by documenting established Web interface conventions. Individual chapters focus on conceptual modeling, task flow, information architecture, navigation, form design, online help, and visual design for Web applications. The book concludes with an in-depth analysis of two well-known consumer applications, and Ofoto.

"Applications are clearly at the heart of the future of web interaction. Bob has created a clear and compelling guide for the creation of web activities that successfully and realistically address people's needs and aspirations." --John Rheinfrank, CEO, seeSpace and Clinical Professor, Kellogg School of Management

"Although a corporation's web site can have a huge impact on their brand, image, and customer satisfaction, the unfortunate reality is that web design is not a well-understood discipline within corporate America. This book makes a compelling case for the importance of web design and provides a comprehensive framework and processes for creating web applications that are both useful and usable. Bob's real-life examples and humor make the book approachable and practical for all professionals involved in the creation of web applications." --Jennifer Bailey, Former SVP, Netscape Communications

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. About the Author
  3. About the Technical Reviewers
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. Tell Us What You Think
  6. Introduction
  7. Foundations
    1. Common Ground: Defining Web Applications and Establishing the Goals of Design
      1. Defining Web Applications
      2. Web Applications: The Good, the Bad, and the Unfortunate
      3. Bringing Design To Software
    2. Putting the User First: Describing Target Users and Product Goals
      1. Anchoring Design: The Core Values of Control and Satisfaction
      2. Bounding the Problem: Creating a Comprehensive Product Vision
      3. Summary
    3. Deconstructing the Problem: Prioritizing and Categorizing Different Aspects of an Interface
      1. Deconstructing Cinema: Looking at Movies from the Ground Up
      2. Deconstructing an Interface: Designing from the Conceptual to the Concrete
      3. Living With a Model: What the Model Implies About Design Priorities, Resources, and Feedback
      4. Summary
  8. Tier 1: Structure
    1. The Conceptual Model: Selecting a Fundamental Motif
      1. First Things First: The Importance of a Conceptual Model
      2. Building on the Vision: Identifying and Selecting an Appropriate Conceptual Model
      3. Putting Conceptual Models to Work: What’s in a Store?
      4. Summary
    2. The Structural Model: Understanding the Building Blocks of a Web Interface
      1. Pages: Building Blocks of the Web
      2. Constructing Workflows Using Views and Forms
      3. Summary
    3. The Organizational Model: Organizing and Structuring Content and Functionality
      1. Deconstructing Organizational Models
      2. Classification Schemes
      3. Case Study: The Organizational Model(s) of eBay
      4. Summary
  9. Tier 2: Behavior
    1. Viewing and Navigation: Creating Consistent Sorting, Filtering, and Navigation Behaviors
      1. Navigation
      2. Selecting Objects and Issuing Commands
      3. Viewing Lists of Data
      4. Summary
    2. Editing and Manipulation: Using HTML Input Controls to Accurately Capture Users’ Data
      1. Designing Forms: Thinking in Terms of the Whole
      2. Input Controls: Picking the Right Tool for the Job
      3. Common Interaction Problems and Solutions
      4. Summary
    3. User Assistance: Communicating with Users Through Help, Status, and Alerts
      1. Help
      2. Alerts
      3. Summary
  10. Tier 3: Presentation
    1. Layout: Positioning Elements to Maximize Understanding And Readability
      1. Design Value: Simplicity
      2. Design Value: Consistency
      3. Design Value: Order
      4. Putting it All Together
      5. Summary
    2. Style: Defining Visual Appearance
      1. Evaluating Style
      2. Preventing Style from Messing Other Things Up
      3. Summary
    3. Text and Labels: Writing for the Web and Calling Things by Their Right Names
      1. Eliminate Superfluous Text
      2. Text: What’s it Good For?
      3. Writing for the Web
      4. Summary
  11. Case Studies
    1. Browsing the Aisles of the Web’s Supreme Retailer
      1. Tier I: Structure
      2. Tier II: Behavior
      3. Tier III: Presentation
      4. Summary
    2. Ofoto: Looking at the Leading Online Photo Processor
      1. Tier I: Structure
      2. Tier II: Behavior
      3. Tier III: Presentation
      4. Summary
  12. Afterword
  13. Index