Product: Book - Hardcover
Title: Designing the User Interface : Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (4th Edition)
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Authors: Ben Shneiderman, Catherine Plaisant
I'm using this book in one of my college courses in a computer science master's program. This is my third master's degree, so I've been through a lot of books.
This book ranks among the worst books I've ever come across for any purpose.
While the book itself is a beautiful production, no doubt the publisher/editor put significant work into preparing the book, the main purpose, transmitting information on designing user interfaces to the reader, falls flat. It gets two stars for the work the publisher put into it.
The author apparently didn't pick up that a book is a user interface too.
Is it a reference book? Well, when I try to use it this way, I must search for up to 15 or twenty minutes, either to find many references to the topic, or in order to realize the topic isn't covered. So I grade it poor for reference. Also, most topics are so scattered, you would have to read the book through several times to gain the information required, but the book is so unreadable, that you'll never get to this point.
Is it a literature review? One could easily confuse the book for this as there are hundreds of references to various papers and publications all through the book. Several chapters are written in such a style that it goes from a paragraph from one paper, into a paragraph from another and so on (check out p. 128 for example, or p. 389, or randomly open to nearly any page). By reading any chapter completely you are left with a melange of disparate and unconnected thoughts about many different aspects of user interfaces, most that have nothing much to do with design or with one another. Here the author must be trying to soothe his own insecurity that he has enough knowledge to write a book about UI. Unfortunately, while I believe the author has ample knowledge, he lacks ability in conveying information to a reader.
Is it a text book? Only if the goal is to steer the reader away with the belief that designing user interfaces is too difficult for anyone except the author, who you should hire for consulting, or for others who have read through hundreds of papers. It's not even good to go to sleep by, because you just get upset reading it due to the poor and illogical layout.
Is it a book to introduce you to design tools? No! There is a chapter titled, "Software Tools" but it tries to cover everything briefly, but ends up covering nothing in enough detail to allow you to make a decision on which tool would fill your needs.
The book just disgusts me. It is hard to read even two or three pages in a row because the author's writing style is so cryptic. Yet in other places it just plain wastes your time, for instance in describing what a menu is for ... from p. 237, "The primary goal for menu, form-fillin, and dialog-box designers is to create sensible, comprehensible, memorable, and convenient organization relevant to the user's tasks." WELL DUH!
That bit of the text is indicative of the whole book, only it's probably a little easier to read than most sentences. Here is another snippet from p. 389, Ch. 11 Presentation Styles: "In a study of 12 telephone operators, Springer (1987) found that supressing the presentation of redundant family names in a directory-assistance listing reduced target-location time by 0.8 seconds."
Hey, I'd like to believe the author isn't stupid, but the whole chapter is filled with jibberish like that, and it doesn't have much to do with presenation style. The whole book is just like that. It's worthless.
I realize every time I pick up this book, I'm about to waste my time, but I hope I haven't wasted your time with this review.
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Implementing SAP Sales and Distribution
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Osborne Media
Authors: Glynn C. Williams
Good. I am satisfied after reading the book.
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Excel Best Practices for Business: Covers Excel 2003, 2002, and 2000
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Authors: Loren Abdulezer
Too often, while going through this book, did I say to myself, "I've tried that", often recalling the mixed results I had. This book and the awesome accompanying CD has empowered me to return to those battles with a concise set of tools, to get the results I was looking for the first time. The section on resolving PDF data was immediately helpful, as were the Pivot Table sections of the book. Excel is my first choice for an analyses tool, both for my business and of my business. The techniques and tools presented in this book have quadrupled my abilities to do both. I've wasted too much time wading through reference books and help screens to achieve the results I've always felt were possible within Excel.
Product: Book - Paperback
Title: Macromedia ColdFusion MX: Training from the Source
Publisher: Macromedia Press
Authors: Kevin Schmidt
This is nice book for sure. There is a lot of detail given in the book. This book is advance book. This simple, concise guide uses step-by-step, project-based lessons developed in the Macromedia training centers to guide you through all of the program's basic features, both new and old.
I will suggest the read the book by Ben Forta : ColdFusion Development Kit (Third Edition) before move to this book.
This is good book for sure.