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TOG On Interface by Bruce Tognazzini

by dreadpiratepeter (Priest)
on Feb 12, 2002 at 15:33 UTC ( #144881=bookreview: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Item Description: How humans and computers mix

Review Synopsis:

TOG is the man behind the Macintosh user interface. His official title within the organization was 'Interface Evnagelist'. He collects his experiences and expertise in this excellent study of how human meets computer.
First of all, this book is fun. It joins Programming Perl on the list of technical books that I laugh out loud reading. Secondly, it is informative on so many levels. His anecdotes and examples run the gamut from the army's quest to find the archeotypical soldier to fences around tar flats.
Mixed in with all this are amazing insight on how people interact with computers and how to guide users rather than force them (always a better proposition).
He discusses Kinetothisis(sp?)- the study of feedback and how important it is in the user experience. He addresses the mouse vs keyboard speed issues and draws some wonderful conclusions. Throughout the book, he shows the difference between actual and percieved performance and convenience.
All in all, it is a great book that every designer, coder, artist, manager and documenter should read. It will make you question and refine your designs to better suit the needs of your users. For that matter it will help you to better understand what those needs are in the first place.

Entropy isn't what it used to be

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Re: TOG On Interface by Bruce Tognazzini
by merlyn (Sage) on Feb 12, 2002 at 16:32 UTC
    I haven't read this book, but I hope it addresses the 5% of us that have great difficulty recognizing icons, and the 1% of us (like me) that have no visual recall ability whatsoever.

    I hate products that require me to hover for a few seconds before the tooltip comes up. I like products that put a text label next to each icon all the time (even if I have to enable that). I really hate products that have no tooltips at all, and then give me no way to disable the totally useless (to me) toolbar.

    I think I've talked about this before here, but maybe it was slashdot instead. I'd be happy to answer further questions about my particular kind of dementia. {grin}

    -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

      Actually, he addresses the topic in detail, starting with not letting your developers draw icons that all end up looking like squashed bugs. He spends time on how to come up with icons to describe etherial concepts and how to avoid the dependance on icons to identify functionality.
      Icons should be like short-cuts. They are an easily identifiable trigger for a piece of functionality, assuming that you know what it means. There should be text along with the icon to create that mapping in the users brain.

      Entropy is not what is used to be.
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