Designing for Interaction

by Dan Saffer

Reviewed by Steve Kersten for ClickStart

ISBN: 0321432061

In the style of Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think and Jesse James Garrett’s The Elements of User Experience, Dan Saffer has written a concise, readable, and small-but-necessary introduction to interaction design. The book’s elegant layout and deceptive brevity make it an ideal companion to denser books such as those by Alan Cooper or Jennifer Preece. In nine chapters, Saffer explains what interaction design is, fitting the subject matter into the established paradigms of user-centered, UI, and process design. He discusses the topic theoretically, indicates how it fits with other aspects of (Web and non-Web) development, and discusses the future of the field.

 Cleverly, Saffer doesn’t preach. It’s less important to him to identify where exactly in an established user-centered design process interaction design occurs. Rather, Saffer argues (successfully) that interaction design can occur during many process models and that the users, business, and technology constraints are important factors in understanding how to approach any problem. Saffer’s book is extremely up to date; the accompanying Web site provides additional online resources. Saffer has not written a book of checklists, although several are present. Instead, he has written a guide to thinking about problems and pondering solutions with the idea that helping humans communicate underlies what an interaction designer does.

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