Peter Morville's new book Ambient Findability finally available

Congratulations to Peter on a book that expands on information architecture to look at human information interaction. If you order from Amazon using this link for Ambient Findability, Peter will get a little something extra for the sale...and given that IA book writing doesn't pay that well, it's well deserved.

Sneak Peek at 'Everything is Miscellaneous'

David Weinberger, (author of Cluetrain Manifesto and Small Things Loosley Joined) gives us a sneak peek at where he's going with his latest book Everything is Miscellaneous...a treat for IAs that won't get published until late 2006/early 2007.

Books on Persuasion

BJ Fogg gave an excellent keynote this morning - really outstanding, and my favorite in the 3 years I've been at the Summit. His book Persuasive Technology is currently the best collection on using technology to change attitudes and behaviors. You should really consider buying it (and no, there's no Amazon referrer code there).

During the Q&A, I mentioned another book on persuasion, the classic Influence by Robert Cialdini. Interesting Cialdini interview here, too.

Speaking of Cross-Training - Free online book Evolutionary Architecture

John Frazer's Evolutionary Architecture examines architecture as evolution, and architects as shaping the process. Interesting lessons for information architects abound in the brief look through that I've had. Frazer's site at Autotectonica shows an ambition to generalize his thinking into general systems design and design education, but is sadly just an under construction placeholder.

Thanks Caterina

Book Review: Digital Ground

Andrew Ottwell’s eloquent commentary on Digital Ground makes me want to buy the book.

Malcolm McCullough’s new book…is a readable and timely contribution to current interaction design. Using ideas drawn from architectural and design theory, cognitive science, and philosophy, McCullough significantly extends current ideas about pervasive computing and so-called experience design, while building on the foundation of traditional task-centered interface design. It’s the best current book on interaction design, and should appeal to both designers and theorists.

Thanks Stewart

37Signals boys have been busy - Book and new project management application

This is old, but news to me: 37Signals has released their book Defensive Design for the Web. Congratulations! While "contingency design" might be more accurate, the tie in to defensive driving will help communicate the topic to non-UX geeks.

On another 37Signals note, they've released Basecamp, a web based project management tool that is clean, simple, and effective without all the headaches of Sitespring (Macromedia's discontined foray into the space) or PHPCollab (open source Sitespring attempt). Well done.

User Experience Books from 2003

Every year there are more user experience books than I have time to read. This list includes both books I've read, and books I hope to. If I missed a book (published in 2003) that you think I should include, drop a line in the comments and I'll add it.

  • Universal Principles of Design

    Condensed design wisdom for capital 'D' Design. Outstanding.

  • Funology: From Usability to Enjoyment (pricy)

    Seminal collection of HCI/Engagement thinking. The academic reference for peeps who want more than "good experience needs to be engaging" platitudes.

  • Emotional Design

    In May 2002, Don Norman posted to CHI-WEB looking for beautiful and usable designs. A year and half later, this book brings together his thinking about the importance of emotion in design. Destined to be a classic, and hopefully help drag the old skool "ugly boxes everywhere - but it works" HCI crowd into the 21st century.

  • Information Architecture for Designers

    I like Peter's book. It's visual in a way that other IA books aren't, and that connects to a certain crowd in a way that another chapter on facets just won't. Recommended for quick illustrations of IA to others.

  • About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design

    Alan Cooper enlisted Robert Reimann's help with this sequel. It's a good overview of Cooper's process, but leaves out a lot of detail that I wished was there, particularly about persona creation. Still very useful as an introduction to interaction design, and a reference for particular situations. Most of the examples focus on application development. If you've read About Face 1.0, you'll find some repetition, but there's enough new material, and updated past material to make it worth the money.

  • Paper Prototyping

    Carolyn Snyder takes her years of experience with paper prototyping, and makes them available here. Very cool. I'm still not convinced that the effort to make complicated paper widgets to simulate interaction is worth it for most web sites. Where paper prototyping rocks is in managing expectations - seeing polished mockups or even clickable wireframes can give the illusion that the project is farther along than it is. If you deal with people thinking the project is ready to launch after seeing a design comp, paper prototyping is just the ticket.

  • Observing the User Experience

    Adaptive Path's Mike Kuniavsky brings together a lot of thinking on user research, with a lot of attention to usability testing, rounded out with other common techniques, from focus groups to ethnography. Solid how-to advice can provide a platform for actually going out and actually studying users.

  • Design Research : Methods and Perspectives

    Brenda Laurel brings together a stellar cast to cover a wide range of design research methods and issues. With any edited volume, the quality varies with each chapter - but overall it's very very good.

  • Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do

    This book is important. Credibility and persuasion are going to become increasingly recognized issues in developing interactive products, and user experience people will be on the front lines of the debate.

Research-Based Web Design and Usability Guidelines

The US Department of Health and Human Services announced a freely available research-based guide to Web site design and usability on In their press release, they refer to it as "...a resource that will help government, academic, commercial and other groups involved in the creation of Web sites make decisions based on user research, not personal opinions." The document can be downloaded in PDF format as one 128 page PDF or as individual chapters. Sadly, the full document doesn't make use of links in the PDF.

Information Architecture: Designing Environments for Purpose

"Information Architecture: Designing Environments for Purpose" edited by Alan Gilchrist and Barry Mahon, available from Amazon. Peter Morville includes his official history (and future) of information architecture (PDF) in the preface to the book.

Kuniavsky in the house

Adaptive Path's Mike Kuniavsky has started a blog over at Orange Cone, and that reminded me of all the links I've been saving up about his new book Observing the User Experience.

Information Architecture for Designers book site

The book site has been launched for Peter Van Dijck's Information Architecture for Designers: Structuring Websites for Business Success (link to pre-order from Amazon), complete with table of contents, sample chapter, and templates for producing IA deliverables. Congratulations, Peter.

About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design

Robert Reimann joins Alan Cooper to create the sequel to a classic. The Cooper Newsletter has some notes about the new edition. About Face 2.0 is now preordering at Amazon...sure to be one of the year's best UX reads.

NY IA salon: books we love

NY IA salon: books we love - At Peter's place last night, this month's information architecture salon guests brought some of their favorite books to show or share...

I'm still struck by the fact that to get beyond first principles, we must range far and wide across disciplines. And I'm curious - what book faves do iaslash readers have? Post 'em in the comments.

Practical RDF Book & Site

This site was recommended by a fellow engineer at work. It's basically the support/info site for the O'Reilly Book Practical RDF by Shelley Powers et al. They have chapter samples online and it's an interesting practical perspective in applying RDF. Many other resources are mentioned that supplement the book's offerings.

"Blueprints for the web" - A review

I just finished reading "Blueprints for the web" and wrote down my thoughts about it.

Gestalt theory and design

In Visual perception and design, Tanya points to some resources for Gestalt theory and design, including Luke Wrobleski's Visible Narratives: Understanding Visual Organization in Boxes and Arrows, which I didn't see last week. Don't know how I missed that one. Last week must have been busy.

Mike K's book also coming April 2003

Looks like Morgan Kaufman picked up Mike Kuniavsky's book on user research (which was looking for a publisher), and that Observing the User Experience: A Practioner's Guide for User Research will arrive in April! Congratulations Mike :)

Our Favorite Books: Recommendations from the Staff of B&A

The Boxes and Arrows staff book list is cool. Each with a concise review.

Patterns For Personal Websites and Design of Sites book

A few design pattern resources gleaned from WebWord. The first is a site by Mark L. Irons that collects patterns for creating personal Web sites. The second is the book, "The Design of Sites: Patterns, principles and processes for crafting a customer-centered web experience", by D. Van Duyne, J. Landay and J. Hong, which utilizes design patterns in order to recommend principles and best practices.

Information Architecture: From Craft to Profession

An excerpt from the first chapter of Earl Morrogh's text book Information Architecture: An Emerging 21st Century Profession appears on B&A in the article, Information Architecture: From Craft to Profession.

I liked his succint definition of IA.

    Information architecture is primarily about the design of information environments and the management of an information environment design process.
Morrogh is a professor at Florida State, Information Studies. The book he has writtin presents IA in an historical context and uses the history of architecture to illustrate the growth of our profession. He discusses the appropriateness of the architecture analogy and how the tradition of craftsmanship may be fitting at some level. However, he adds, our movement away from narrow specialization and towards profession reflects a greater need for a broader scope of knowledge. Based on the table of contents, this looks like an excellent read. Most of the book focusses on the development of information and communication technology innovations, with the final part devoted to the development of our profession. It's nice to see a few books that consider how IA fits into the grand scheme of things.

I've been neglecting the main sources for IA info lately. Thanks, Lou, for reminding me to look. :)

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