You are previewing UI is Communication.
O'Reilly logo
UI is Communication

Book Description

User interface design is a challenging, multi-disciplinary activity that requires understanding a wide range of concepts and techniques that are often subjective and even conflicting. Imagine how much it would help if there were a single perspective that you could use to simplify these complex issues down to a small set of objective principles. In UI is Communication, Everett McKay explains how to design intuitive user interfaces by focusing on effective human communication. A user interface is ultimately a conversation between users and technology. Well-designed user interfaces use the language of UI to communicate to users efficiently and naturally. They also recognize that there is an emotional human being at the other end of the interaction, so good user interfaces strive to make an emotional connection. Applying what you learn from UI is Communication will remove much of the mystic, subjectiveness, and complexity from user interface design, and help you make better design decisions with confidence. It’s the perfect introduction to user interface design.



  • Approachable, practical communication-based guide to interaction and visual design that you can immediately apply to projects to make solid design decisions quickly and confidently
  • Includes design makeovers so you can see the concepts in practice with real examples
  • Communication-based design process ties everything from interaction to visual design together

Table of Contents

  1. Cover image
  2. Title page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. About the Author
  8. Introduction
    1. The UI is Communication concept
    2. Why I wrote this book
    3. Who this book is for
    4. What UI technologies is this book for?
    5. UI vs. UX, and why isn’t this UX is Like Communication?
    6. What’s in the book?
    7. Summary of the top principles
    8. Is this really all there is to UI design?
    9. How to read this book
    10. UI design is a team effort
  9. Chapter 1. Communication Design Principles
    1. Imagine this typical UI design situation...
    2. Core principles of UI is Communication
    3. Effective communication
    4. Intuitive UI
    5. Necessary (and unnecessary) consistency
    6. Strategically unintuitive UI
    7. Levels of intuitiveness
    8. Inductive UI
    9. Strategically deductive UI
    10. Asking intuitive questions
    11. A model for users
    12. Summary
    13. Exercises
  10. Chapter 2. Interaction Design
    1. Interactions
    2. Controls (words)
    3. Commands (verbs)
    4. Labels and instructions
    5. Feedback
    6. Task steps (paragraphs, monologues, and dialogues)
    7. Task navigation
    8. Surfaces (documents)
    9. Errors, warnings, confirmations, and notifications (interruptions)
    10. Dynamic elements
    11. Summary
    12. Exercises
  11. Chapter 3. Visual Design
    1. The importance of effective visual design
    2. Working with graphic designers
    3. Layout
    4. Designing for scanning
    5. Typography and text
    6. Color
    7. Affordances
    8. Icons and glyphs
    9. Animations and transitions
    10. Demanding attention
    11. Summary
    12. Exercises
  12. Chapter 4. Communicating to People
    1. The importance of making an emotional connection
    2. Having a personality
    3. Personality attributes
    4. Having a good tone
    5. Motivating users by providing obvious value
    6. Minimizing effort
    7. Having forgiveness
    8. Building trustworthiness
    9. Being smart without looking stupid
    10. Not being annoying
    11. Using courageous design
    12. Why be dull? Make it fun!
    13. Summary
    14. Exercises
  13. Chapter 5. A Communication-Driven Design Process
    1. A communication-driven design process
    2. Don’t design like a programmer
    3. What exactly is design?
    4. A basic design process
    5. The classic design process mistakes
    6. The planning phase
    7. The design phase
    8. The refinement phase
    9. Giving and receiving feedback
    10. What about agile development?
    11. Summary
    12. Exercises
  14. Chapter 6. UI Design Examples
    1. An overview of common alternative design approaches
    2. Design Challenge 1: An airline travel desktop site
    3. Design Challenge 2: An airline travel mobile app
    4. Summary
    5. Exercises
  15. Conclusion
  16. Recommended Reading
  17. Glossary
  18. Index