Designing the Obvious

Designing the Obvious

  • A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design
  • Robert Hoekman, Jr.
  • Web Design/Web Development

This book has to have the most appropriate cover, considering it’s content, of all time. And what great content it is. You learn something new at the turn of each page.

One of the greatest lines, for me anyway, is ‘Start ignoring the demands of users and stick to a vision’. The application that I work on during the day has bloated to 600,000 lines, and counting, after just about every user request has been implemented. We, as a company, have never sat around a table and looked at improving our user interface. That is something that is constantly mentioned in the book, the process of making a web-site using the absolute minimum that is required to complete the task. Then reduce and refine the layout and the functionality.

I’m going to try to add some of the ideas mentioned in the book to my little Rails applications:

  1. Having an indicator next to the field to show that it’s contents have been checked and are valid.
  2. Adding little ‘Bubble Tooltips’ next to each field.
  3. Putting example text in a field if it’s contents has to be added in a particular format, e.g. an email address or a post code.
  4. Disabling the ‘submit’ button until all the required fields have content in them.
  5. Having an ‘undo’ option after an item has been deleted instead of a javascript alert confirmation window.

All that has to be possible, it’s just a case of working out how.All that has to be possible, it’s just a case of working out how.

The book is certainly something that I’ll be reading again in the not too distant future. A must read of anyone developing web applications.

  • Reviewed on Tuesday, 08 July 2008
  • Tagged with book review