Designing Gestural Interfaces
Touchscreens and Interactive Devices
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: November 2008
Pages: 268

If you want to get ahead in this new era of interaction design, this is the reference you need. Nintendo's Wii and Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch have made gestural interfaces popular, but until now there's been no complete source of information about the technology.

Designing Gestural Interfaces provides you with essential information about kinesiology, sensors, ergonomics, physical computing, touchscreen technology, and new interface patterns -- all you need to know to augment your existing skills in "traditional" web design, software, or product development. Packed with informative illustrations and photos, this book helps you:

  • Get an overview of technologies surrounding touchscreens and interactive environments
  • Learn the process of designing gestural interfaces, from documentation to prototyping to
  • communicating to the audience what the product does
  • Examine current patterns and trends in touchscreen and gestural design
  • Learn about the techniques used by practicing designers and developers today
  • See how other designers have solved interface challenges in the past
  • Look at future trends in this rapidly evolving field

Only six years ago, the gestural interfaces introduced in the film Minority Report were science fiction. Now, because of technological, social, and market forces, we see similar interfaces deployed everywhere. Designing Gestural Interfaces will help you enter this new world of possibilities.

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oreillyDesigning Gestural Interfaces

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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


Elementary overview of Mobile UX

By Dozza

from Sydney, Australia

Verified Reviewer


  • Concise
  • Easy to understand


  • Too basic

Best Uses

  • Novice
  • Student

Comments about oreilly Designing Gestural Interfaces:

A very designer-oriented book, but quite elementary for those of you who have had some experience in designing interfaces. Dan Saffer presents in his work, a comprehensive collection of gestural resources, the science of kinesiology, ergonomics and physical computing to deliver patterns in gestural designing. The book is quite easy to read, with the author logically setting out the processes involved in prototyping and documenting how the user should interact with the device application, in an intuitive and anticipative way.

The author looks at how other devices and technologies deal with problems and how various gestural solutions can help alleviate otherwise complicated means of achieving a resolution for the user. The author does also look at future trends, but with it being a late 2008 book, it may be a bit outdated by now. It does however present a good understanding for novice mobile UX designers, to comprehend the principles behind the design, but a revised edition showing the current 2012 trends would be invaluable. There are so many apps out there that have gone against normal patterns, yet are gesturally intuitive, which would be worth adding to this book.
The content itself is great in terms of width but in terms of depth, lacking. It does not provide great detail on problems and issues but rather refers readers to other literature throughout. It leaves you feeling that you need an advanced book on understanding in greater detail the solutions to problems, rather than just identifying various problems that are prevalent across multiple platforms. I think even a specific iOS book that examines actual problems and solutions, would be warranted, by going through issues in contemporary iOS applications and overlaying them on top of what Dan Saffer's overview book has on gestural pattern design.
Overall, I give this book an amicable 3/5, for a novice designer, but for the more seasoned ones, I'd hold off on getting this book, unless you want to brush up on some elementary information you feel you somehow skipped during your career development.

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