in User Experience

What I’m reading: Microinteractions

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For me, a sign of a good vacation is that I’m unplugged and decompressed enough to catch up on some reading. While spending a few days fishing in British Columbia, I finally got around to reading Microinteractions. The book is a quick read, written like a manual for designing complete experiences through the lens of the atoms that make up those experiences. So often, an overlooked detail or a cludgy workflow can ruin someone’s experience with your product. The author, Dan Saffer, rolls out a set of easy to consume guidelines for designing these experiences in a way that delights and works well, the first time and every time.

To me the content wasn’t new or shocking, but before reading Microinteactions, I had never seen such a concise walk through on how to think about designing experiences. For some things that have taken me years for me to learn through success and mistakes, Saffer has a rule for with a corresponding “why.” He also establishes a useful vocabulary for things that are difficult to articulate, and employs useful examples and pertinent exercises.

The details are not the details. They make the design.” Charles Eames

The book’s primary target is experience designers, but it is useful for a number of audiences from app developers, to testers, researches. It establishes a baseline for programing or design concepts if you aren’t familiar with them. I recommend it to all of my friends that and peers who are designing apps. If you are a one-person design, development and testing shop, you may not have the time to have a full-time team think through every detail for you, but each of these details matter just as much to the people using your app. As a bonus, he published a quick reference guide that you can hang up in your office and refer back to you as you work through your daily design challenges. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read it. What did you think was interesting and how have you used it in your day-to-day.

Thanks J-K for the book recommendation!

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