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Smart organizations recognize that Web design is more than just creating clean code and sharp graphics. A site that really works fulfills your strategic objectives while meeting the needs of your users. Even the best content and the most sophisticated technology won't help you balance those goals without a cohesive, consistent user experience to support it. But creating th Smart organizations recognize that Web design is more than just creating clean code and sharp graphics. A site that really works fulfills your strategic objectives while meeting the needs of your users. Even the best content and the most sophisticated technology won't help you balance those goals without a cohesive, consistent user experience to support it. But creating the user experience can seem overwhelmingly complex. With so many issues involved-usability, brand identity, information architecture, interaction design-it can seem as if the only way to build a successful site is to spend a fortune on specialists who understand all the details. The Elements of User Experience cuts through the complexity of user-centered design for the Web with clear explanations and vivid illustrations that focus on ideas rather than tools or techniques. Jesse James Garrett gives readers the big picture of Web user experience development, from strategy and requirements to information architecture and visual design. This accessible introduction helps any Web development team, large or small, to create a successful user experience.


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Smart organizations recognize that Web design is more than just creating clean code and sharp graphics. A site that really works fulfills your strategic objectives while meeting the needs of your users. Even the best content and the most sophisticated technology won't help you balance those goals without a cohesive, consistent user experience to support it. But creating th Smart organizations recognize that Web design is more than just creating clean code and sharp graphics. A site that really works fulfills your strategic objectives while meeting the needs of your users. Even the best content and the most sophisticated technology won't help you balance those goals without a cohesive, consistent user experience to support it. But creating the user experience can seem overwhelmingly complex. With so many issues involved-usability, brand identity, information architecture, interaction design-it can seem as if the only way to build a successful site is to spend a fortune on specialists who understand all the details. The Elements of User Experience cuts through the complexity of user-centered design for the Web with clear explanations and vivid illustrations that focus on ideas rather than tools or techniques. Jesse James Garrett gives readers the big picture of Web user experience development, from strategy and requirements to information architecture and visual design. This accessible introduction helps any Web development team, large or small, to create a successful user experience.

30 review for The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web (Voices (New Riders)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    This book essentially dissects the process of website creation, clearly defining every element that goes into planning and implementing a website. This would have provided an invaluable visual map during our last website redesign. Rather than a tangled ball of yarn, I can now see all of the wheels and cogs fit together in a logical manner. It seems that, of the five planes of the user experience development process (the surface plane, the skeleton plane, the structure plane, the scope plane and This book essentially dissects the process of website creation, clearly defining every element that goes into planning and implementing a website. This would have provided an invaluable visual map during our last website redesign. Rather than a tangled ball of yarn, I can now see all of the wheels and cogs fit together in a logical manner. It seems that, of the five planes of the user experience development process (the surface plane, the skeleton plane, the structure plane, the scope plane and the strategy plane), I am most interested in the skeleton plane (i.e. navigation, interface and information design) and the structure plane (information architecture). I might have to own this book. Favorite Quotes: If your site consists mainly of what we Web types call "content" - that is, information - then one of the main goals of your site is to communicate that information as effectively as possible. It's not enough just to put it out there. It has to be presented in a way that helps people absorb it and understand it. Otherwise, the user might not ever find out that you offer the service or product they're looking for. Habit and reflex are the foundation for much of our interaction with the world... If it involves providing users with the ability to do things, it's interface design...If it involves providing users with the ability to go places, it's navigation design...If it involves communicating ideas to the user, it's information design. Making your interface consistent with others that your users are already familiar with is important, but even more important is making your interface consistent with itself. An interface that gives a small number of extreme cases the same weight as the needs of the vast majority of users ends up ill-equipped to make either audience happy. Presenting a style on your web site that's inconsistent with your style in other media doesn't just affect the audience's impression of the site; it affects their impression of your company as a whole. [Effective content] requires effective maintenance. [Information architecture] draws on a number of disciplines that historically have been concerned with the organization, grouping, ordering, and presentation of content: library science, journalism, and technical communication, among others. [Information architecture and interaction design] are about understanding people, the way they work, and the way they think.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Eric Phetteplace

    Somewhere, Nietzsche has a quote (probably directed at Kant) dissing philosophers who, rather than introduce new ideas or vectors of exploration, simply schematize already existing terms. That is, they take a bunch of signifiers and try to ground them in reality or each other. Jesse James Garrett takes schematization to a new level in The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web, unfortunately. See, the problem with user experience is we haven't defined its constituent terms Somewhere, Nietzsche has a quote (probably directed at Kant) dissing philosophers who, rather than introduce new ideas or vectors of exploration, simply schematize already existing terms. That is, they take a bunch of signifiers and try to ground them in reality or each other. Jesse James Garrett takes schematization to a new level in The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web, unfortunately. See, the problem with user experience is we haven't defined its constituent terms enough. I bet you didn't know that it's composed of six layers, each bifurcated into two semi-planes, subdivided by topics which sometimes overlap those semi-planes, did you? If you didn't and you think that that sounds like knowledge, then this book is for you. This is not a bad book and I needed to read it. It considers many aspects of designing an intuitive and user-friendly website which other, far longer, texts leave out. All that said, the basic premise that what these many undifferentiated fields (interface design, information architecture, user experience, web design, strategic planning, et al) truly need is a dictionary and a schema is laughable. Fractal overspecification.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Josh Lee

    The diagram that lies at the heart of the book, a layered view of user experience design, is solid. The book itself feels kind of padded, though, and I found myself skimming a lot. You might be better served by simply meditating on the diagram itself ( http://jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf ), and only referring to the book if you need more explication. The diagram that lies at the heart of the book, a layered view of user experience design, is solid. The book itself feels kind of padded, though, and I found myself skimming a lot. You might be better served by simply meditating on the diagram itself ( http://jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf ), and only referring to the book if you need more explication.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Asia Hoe

    I read this book in preparation for a class at General Assembly on User Experience Design. Excellent resource on User Experience for both designers and everyone they meet in a product's life cycle. The methodologies herein are invaluable and worth revisiting at the start of each project, and at each phase of a project. You won't find specific examples, as the book is more about methodology than application. This is helpful if you're trying to wrap your mind around what UX is, and how to go about I read this book in preparation for a class at General Assembly on User Experience Design. Excellent resource on User Experience for both designers and everyone they meet in a product's life cycle. The methodologies herein are invaluable and worth revisiting at the start of each project, and at each phase of a project. You won't find specific examples, as the book is more about methodology than application. This is helpful if you're trying to wrap your mind around what UX is, and how to go about it. Find what works, and stick to it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Haider Al-Mosawi

    This is a must-read book for anyone involved in web development. It takes a holistic look at the subject of user experience and provides a very useful vocabulary for all the elements involved in user experience design. The author provides a model that consists of 5 planes that cover the abstract as well as the concrete aspects of the user experience. The 5 planes are: 1- Strategy (why you're building the site for you and your users) 2- Scope 3- Structure 4- Skeleton 5- Surface (the visual elements of th This is a must-read book for anyone involved in web development. It takes a holistic look at the subject of user experience and provides a very useful vocabulary for all the elements involved in user experience design. The author provides a model that consists of 5 planes that cover the abstract as well as the concrete aspects of the user experience. The 5 planes are: 1- Strategy (why you're building the site for you and your users) 2- Scope 3- Structure 4- Skeleton 5- Surface (the visual elements of the site) Every plane depends on and influences every other plane and it's important to maintain consistency and harmony amongst the planes, so that the user doesn't experience any clashes or inconsistencies. If you struggle to make sense of what makes bad web design bad, then this book could shed light on the matter and help you identify the type of problems that lead to poor design. More importantly, it offers a very helpful approach you can follow to create great websites that please - rather than frustrate - your users.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Philippe Heckly

    A basic of UX it didn't impress me as much as others. That websites have layers of meaning, interactivity and can trigger various emotions is something that perhaps more than 10 years after the book was written we now take for granted?

  7. 5 out of 5

    m a r y l i z

    Read for my interactive design class (aka the bane of my existence), and this textbook was basically one big snooze-fest. The only chapter that was very applicable to my career was the one about sensory design. (No, I'm not adding textbooks to my reading challenge because I'm desperate to reach my goal. Why do you ask? *COUGH*)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Brooks

    Essential reading, for almost every aspect of website development, including management, will be a book that is kept handy to my desk from now on.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kelley

    I just finished Andy Clarke's Transcending CSS and deciding to delve into The Elements of User Experience which I picked up because, skimming, I realized it was giving me names for what most of us are already doing. So far, it's concise and Garrett does a nice job of making sure that a web developer doesn't leave a reading of the book with impression that user-centered design isn't connected to a much bigger discipline, human factors design. Garrett hasn't used that word -- or Computer Human Int I just finished Andy Clarke's Transcending CSS and deciding to delve into The Elements of User Experience which I picked up because, skimming, I realized it was giving me names for what most of us are already doing. So far, it's concise and Garrett does a nice job of making sure that a web developer doesn't leave a reading of the book with impression that user-centered design isn't connected to a much bigger discipline, human factors design. Garrett hasn't used that word -- or Computer Human Interaction -- but he's careful to situation user-centered, user experience design into a broader context, where engineers and other subject matter experts have been working on design for the way people use things like alarm clocks and gas grills. One thing I found most intriguing from my initial skim at the bookstore, was that I (and a lot of us) have been doing "information architecture" and "information design" -- but we didn't necessarily call it that. We've been doing user interaction and user experience, too, we just haven't called it that. If you've been developing Web sites with the user experience in mind, if only because you are also a heavy user of the Intertoobz, then much of what is discussed in thiis book is intuitive -- what you already do. That may not be the case for people who've been more focused on programming or who get a charge out of building the technology and would, perhaps, love it if they had advanced users for whom there was no need to write meaningful error messages -- let alone test and test again until you break the code, accounting for edgecases, not just the tech savvy user. For me, probably because I always had to stick around for the consequences of what I built when I was doing elearning, the name of the game has been user-centric development and design practices. When good training via elearning means the difference between following government regulations about security and privacy -- and not doing so -- it mattered a great deal whether the Learning Management System was usable. Moreover, in elearning, people who focusing on user experience early on -- because the user's environment mattered to whether or not they learned anything. In that sense, much of what was presented in this book was mostly key terminology that is only recently become shared terminology in the wider UI/UX community. As another reviewer mentions below, the best part of the book are the schematics depicting the elements of the user centered design and the relationships between these elements. The book is a handy reference to keep at your desk and to recommend to developers who haven't developed in user-centric environments, or to a colleague who would like to broaden her understanding of UI development in this wider context, particularly as it relates to project management and the software development lifecycle.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marian

    10/24/20 Update after 2nd reading: This book has aged well and should be required reading for developers, too. Original review: Enjoyed this more than I expected. The author includes enough simple examples to make it a great introductory text, as well as plenty of theory to provide reference in the future. I used some of his points as starting places for further research, both online and internal to my organization, and I'm excited to see where that research will take me. For a newbie to UX, this 10/24/20 Update after 2nd reading: This book has aged well and should be required reading for developers, too. Original review: Enjoyed this more than I expected. The author includes enough simple examples to make it a great introductory text, as well as plenty of theory to provide reference in the future. I used some of his points as starting places for further research, both online and internal to my organization, and I'm excited to see where that research will take me. For a newbie to UX, this book was well worth reading!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike Hales

    Absolutely essential reading if this is an area of professional or personal interest. I try and reread this book once a year as a kind of grounding and to re-establish the key processes and steps involved in considered and effective UX design.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Minah

    This book defines each phrase of user-centered designs well. Strategy(user needs, site objectives), Scope(functional spedifications, content requirements), Structure(interaction design, information architecture), Skeleton(information design), and Surface(visual design)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Terra

    Jesse James Garrett exposes in a very clear way the essence of user experience for the web. He breaks down the ux for the web into five different planes going deep into the vocabulary and strategy for designing better experiences for our digital world.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Davood Torabzadeh

    It's good for beginners

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    If you could marry a professional book, this would be at the top of my list.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    In reality, I have probably read this book through at least 3 time using it as a guide and source through my UX practice, and never sitting down and just reading it from cover to cover in one sitting. I can imagine that that would be pretty boring. These types of books are hard to rate, given that in as little as a few months they could be rendered obsolete, and a new edition will come out within a year with how quickly things change. But, pretty sure this s the most up-to-date one since it’s fi In reality, I have probably read this book through at least 3 time using it as a guide and source through my UX practice, and never sitting down and just reading it from cover to cover in one sitting. I can imagine that that would be pretty boring. These types of books are hard to rate, given that in as little as a few months they could be rendered obsolete, and a new edition will come out within a year with how quickly things change. But, pretty sure this s the most up-to-date one since it’s first publication a decade ago, and I find it endlessly useful. I would recommend this to any product designer. It’s a very useful guide on how best to not only meet your deadlines by coming up with a straightforward strategy and how to implement the users’ needs as well. (This is the hardest thing to comprehend for some when starting out. It’s not about what you like, and what you think looks good, it’s about the user. Thus the name... Sorry for the snark.) It’s important to know what steps to follow and when whenever jumping into a new project. You might not start at the same place every time, but it’s important to know where you need to start, and why, and how you got there. If you’re like me and need a little extra help getting you started, check this one out.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Oz

    What it's about: Using design as a way to achieve business goals + user goals, including an important framework ("5 Planes") for thinking about user experience. Why Read It: A foundational way to think about design strategy, helpful for approaching new projects When to Read it: This is one of those reads that makes you step back and reevaluate your work, and the way you work. Reading this book gives you depth. While most people spend time arguing about how UX is not UI (which is true), you see deep What it's about: Using design as a way to achieve business goals + user goals, including an important framework ("5 Planes") for thinking about user experience. Why Read It: A foundational way to think about design strategy, helpful for approaching new projects When to Read it: This is one of those reads that makes you step back and reevaluate your work, and the way you work. Reading this book gives you depth. While most people spend time arguing about how UX is not UI (which is true), you see deeper than they do. You see projects in the five layers of strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface – which the author covers in great depth and clarity. I've referenced - and continue to use - Jesse James Garrett's 5 Planes framework on the UXBeginner.com and in my own design work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Blake Williford

    One of the classics and a must have for any designer working in UI / UX professions. What makes this book so great is its timeless quality - Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, Skin is easy to remember and applies to software 20 years ago and will apply to software / experiences 20 years from now - Who the heck knows what we will be designing? Immersive mixed reality co-creative experiences? The same general approach applies. While this is not a definitive source of information like some textboo One of the classics and a must have for any designer working in UI / UX professions. What makes this book so great is its timeless quality - Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton, Skin is easy to remember and applies to software 20 years ago and will apply to software / experiences 20 years from now - Who the heck knows what we will be designing? Immersive mixed reality co-creative experiences? The same general approach applies. While this is not a definitive source of information like some textbooks it is a great high-level overview of how to approach designing great experiences. Since it doesn't read like a textbook I especially recommend this book for beginners and those trying to break in to UI / UX but don't know where to start. Jesse James Garrett is brilliant.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    I likely would have rated this book higher had I read it years ago. The content is solid but dry. It reminded me way too much of sitting in core university classes. Garrett's diagram is a great place to start understanding the fundamentals of UX for web. I believe that is all this book intended to be, so I won't criticize it for lacking more practical and interesting concepts. I would certainly recommend it to someone just starting out in UX, but I wouldn't bother with a recommendation to someon I likely would have rated this book higher had I read it years ago. The content is solid but dry. It reminded me way too much of sitting in core university classes. Garrett's diagram is a great place to start understanding the fundamentals of UX for web. I believe that is all this book intended to be, so I won't criticize it for lacking more practical and interesting concepts. I would certainly recommend it to someone just starting out in UX, but I wouldn't bother with a recommendation to someone with experience in the field. I might ask if they've seen his diagram, and if their mind is blown... then I'd offer up this book that will eventually collect dust.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Recommended to anyone learning about User Experience or has to sell it as part of their job. This book does a good job explaining the fundamental aspects of user experience, defining all the various, seemingly interchangeable terms, and shows how they are all related. It is not an "actionable" book, meaning you can't read it and go redo the UX of a website. It doesn't have the principle/example format of other books such as "Don't Make Me Think". I don't see it as a stand-alone book but, rather, Recommended to anyone learning about User Experience or has to sell it as part of their job. This book does a good job explaining the fundamental aspects of user experience, defining all the various, seemingly interchangeable terms, and shows how they are all related. It is not an "actionable" book, meaning you can't read it and go redo the UX of a website. It doesn't have the principle/example format of other books such as "Don't Make Me Think". I don't see it as a stand-alone book but, rather, as a great supplement to add a stronger foundation in order to make sense of and apply knowledge gained from experience and other books in this field.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christian Jensen

    I like how the author breaks down the complex field of UX design into a series of individual elements, separated into five different "planes". The five planes are Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton and Surface, stacked on top of one another to illustrate how a UX project is structured. Each plane build upon the decisions made on the underlying plane(s), while also informing the options on the plane(s) above. Especially the first version of the book focuses on UX of websites, but I think most of I like how the author breaks down the complex field of UX design into a series of individual elements, separated into five different "planes". The five planes are Strategy, Scope, Structure, Skeleton and Surface, stacked on top of one another to illustrate how a UX project is structured. Each plane build upon the decisions made on the underlying plane(s), while also informing the options on the plane(s) above. Especially the first version of the book focuses on UX of websites, but I think most of it can quite easily be applied to the design of other digital products. Worth reading even if your work doesn't focus exclusively on web design.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eoghan Hickey

    Excellent primer that covers the end to end process of UX design. Short enough to be absorbed quickly, this book is packed with great nuggets and sensible terminology. Not pretentious. Basically it comes down to understanding what the problem is, and the consequences of the solution you are proposing. Broken up as elements, this acknowledges overlap between the stages of a project, and doesn't feel prescriptive. Deserves its place as a must read. Much of this won't be new to you if you work in U Excellent primer that covers the end to end process of UX design. Short enough to be absorbed quickly, this book is packed with great nuggets and sensible terminology. Not pretentious. Basically it comes down to understanding what the problem is, and the consequences of the solution you are proposing. Broken up as elements, this acknowledges overlap between the stages of a project, and doesn't feel prescriptive. Deserves its place as a must read. Much of this won't be new to you if you work in UX but worth reading regardless of experience level. Written initially with a web audience in mind, this thinking can be applied broadly to design. Probably deserves ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  23. 5 out of 5

    Yuliana Oselska

    An essential guide to understanding the general concept of UX on different levels. The author argued there are five elements of any design - strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface, and two types of digital products - product as functionality and product as information. In his book, the author studied each element/layer from both perspectives of web applications and content websites which made this book extremely useful. Especially, I liked the visual component of presenting his unders An essential guide to understanding the general concept of UX on different levels. The author argued there are five elements of any design - strategy, scope, structure, skeleton, and surface, and two types of digital products - product as functionality and product as information. In his book, the author studied each element/layer from both perspectives of web applications and content websites which made this book extremely useful. Especially, I liked the visual component of presenting his understanding. Highly recommended for everyone looking for learning fundamental principles of User Experience.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily Mozzone

    An absolutely incredible book for beginner to intermediate user experience designers. If you want to know what the heck UX is, this book is for you. It mostly focuses on web design, but I prefer that side of UX so I was really pleased. Even the book had a great user experience: great pictures, color coded chapters, small text in a big page so you feel like you're reading faster, bolded key information. My only complaint is that some of the graphic design examples are outdated. Garrett walks thro An absolutely incredible book for beginner to intermediate user experience designers. If you want to know what the heck UX is, this book is for you. It mostly focuses on web design, but I prefer that side of UX so I was really pleased. Even the book had a great user experience: great pictures, color coded chapters, small text in a big page so you feel like you're reading faster, bolded key information. My only complaint is that some of the graphic design examples are outdated. Garrett walks through every part of the UX design process, from concept to visual product. Garrett also uses really accessible language with a fun and casual tone that kept me interested throughout the entire book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Dragos Triteanu

    Lacks concrete examples for actual interaction design beat practices I think that the this is a good book, but it kinda falls short ehen it comes to concrete examples of planning interaction. As far as I understood, the author suggest using the framework described in the book for managing software solutions as a whole. The framework itself is not bad, but the scope, strategy and stru ture planes kinda try to steal away the glory from the good old fashioned software requirement specification docum Lacks concrete examples for actual interaction design beat practices I think that the this is a good book, but it kinda falls short ehen it comes to concrete examples of planning interaction. As far as I understood, the author suggest using the framework described in the book for managing software solutions as a whole. The framework itself is not bad, but the scope, strategy and stru ture planes kinda try to steal away the glory from the good old fashioned software requirement specification document.

  26. 4 out of 5

    JB Ong

    For years, this book serves as the foundation for the UX career path. Even when you learn all the processes and skills that make up UX Design, this book maintains itself as a worthwhile reference. There are many crucial pieces of advice in this book, regardless if you're Crucial foundation for those developing a product. Especially if you're in the field of UX Design. Great to keep to referencing structure ideas for project planning.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    I’d like to revisit this book sometime, when I’m able to give it some day-time level attention and note-taking. Most of the ideas presented in here were ones I’d encountered before, usually divorced from this (original?) context. (It was published in 2011, after all.) that said, his “five elements” framework feels like an excellent foundation to work from, and I’ve already tried to apply it to my work.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emanuel Serbanoiu

    This book is one of the best a beginner can read and I would even recommend it to project/product managers or anyone who doesn't yet see the value of design. A very light read with notions easy to comprehend. I believe it will get outdated soon since the process and the way people are thinking about design is changing fast, but it should be good for another 2-3 years.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Maca Escalona

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is informative and well written. So far it gets a bit boring, contrary to "Don't make me think" or "Design of everyday things", other musts to UX-UI learning. Anyway, I appreciate it's easy to grasp structure and clear style, without the "buzzwords" that abound in the field. I will recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about user interfaces or web design.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steve Wehba

    Good summary of modern design thinking Short, quick read. Good ideas and structure. Nothing dramatically new, but a good distillation and consolidation of modern design think. Not a how-to guide.

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