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Paperback Defensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points Book

ISBN: 073571410X

ISBN13: 9780735714106

Defensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points

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Book Overview

Defensive design is like defensive driving brought to the Web. Good site defense can make or break the customer experience. This book shows the right (and wrong) ways to get defensive, offers guidelines to prevent errors and rescue customers if a breakdown occurs.It also shows you how to evaluate and improve your own site's defensive design.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Excellent for enhancing the user exprience

I've made this book compulsory reading for everyone involved in web or internal system projects. It does not answer the questions or give a perfect example for every situation that comes along, but it does get you thinking about what would the appropriate message be for my situation based on some solid principles. I agree with some of the reviewers that it is very basic - but most people don't get the basics right! It's entertaining and enlightening and will quickly get you on the right path to providing a better user experience.

Surprises in perception

While reading this book many experienced web designers will dismiss it as a collection of obvious techniques. Don't be fooled by that perception. I gave this book to my team with a mandate that it serve as a framework for usability for all corporate intranet projects. I was immediately deluged with protests from a few team members claiming "we already do this". Skeptical, I sat with those who made the claims, and we compared our techniques against those this excellent book proposes using live web pages on our intranet. Surprise. We did not measure up, and were certainly not "already doing this".Phase two, I had one member of my team reengineer one of the smaller internal web sites on our intranet using the techniques given in this book. Business users gave the results high marks, and my team began accepting the book as the official usability guide.Result: this book has made a measurable difference in the quality of internal web sites we are designing and deploying for various lines of business within our corporation. It is now embraced by my team, and is used as a standard of good practice in web usability. The advice provided in the book has also resulted in less support calls to our team, freeing them to work on design and deployment instead of answering end user questions.Moral: do not let the surface simplicity of this book fool you. While its contents and advice may seem obvious, chances are that your team is not following those obvious design rules.

Required reading if you design web pages

I've read the other reviews on this site and the negative ones seem to think the stuff in this book is rehashed or just common knowledge. I guess they didn't need this book. However, there are quite a lot of sites out there with horrible interfaces that could be made better if only they WOULD read "Defensive Design for the Web." So obviously there are those out there who CAN benefit from it.This is not strictly a book for web designers. It is a great one for business owners and those who actually pay the bills for web design. It helps explain why something is bad if they have a paricular pet peeve about doing something you think is plain bad design.Being a web developer, I can't say everything in it was something I didn't know. Some of it's just plain common sense. What I really liked was that it's short, to the point, and has an abundance of examples of both how to do something and how NOT to do it. If you want to create a better user experience, get this book.

Don't design (or update) your web site without this book

This book is one of the best books on web site design I've read - and I've read quite a few. New and experienced web masters will find a plethora of tips and techniques covering every facet from how to display error messages that are both meaningful and don't get lost on the page, to ensuring that search engines on your site actually return relevant information to search queries.The topics covered are covered intelligently and in detail, and address the most common weaknesses found on too many web sites. Moreover, every topic is reinforced with examples from actual and well-known web sites. Specific areas of web site design include: - Show the Problem (crafting visible and informative error messages)- Language Matters (excellent tips on writing content that is descriptive, short and gets attention)- Bulletproof Forms (take the confusion out of filling in forms and validate data)- Missing in Action (go beyond 404 messages, and how to enhance the visitor experience even if they are using older browsers or are missing needed plug-ins)- Lend a Helping Hand (creating help that is ... well, helpful)- Get Out of the Way (how to find and eliminate stuff that slows down page loading, detracts from the main content, or alienate visitors)- Search and Rescue (tips for making your site search engine give visitors relevant information instead of dumping everything under the sun in response to a query)- Out of Stocks and Unavailable Items (best practices in stock management if you are selling items on the site)- Contingency Design (a strategy for continuous improvement)What I most like about this book is the fact that it isn't based on some rigid design philosophy, but instead, is a compendium of design issues commonly found on major sites - and how to make sure your site doesn't have them. Most of the items covered are the very ones that are likely to irritate you when you encounter them on someone else's site. The elegant solutions given in this book can serve as a checklist of what to consider when you're designing or improving your own site. If I had to recommend only one book on site design to new web masters this would be it.
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