Learn What Usability Really Is, Why to Strive for It, and How to AchieveIt
"Highly useable" software is easy to use. It does whatyou expect it to. And it does it well.
It’s not easy to build butas this book demonstrates, it's well worth the effort. Highly useable software ishighly successful software--and everyone wins.
Inside, anaccomplished programmer who has made usability his business systematicallyexplores the world of programming, showing you how every aspect of the work isimplicated in the usability of the final product. This is not just an"issues" book, however, but systematic, real-world instructions fordeveloping applications that are better in every way. As you'll learn, there's nosuch thing as "intuitive" software. Instead, there are just thefactors that make it highly useable: simplicity, consistency, the recognition ofaccepted conventions, and the foregrounding of the user's perspective. With theseprinciples under your belt, you'll quickly discover dozens of ways to make yourapplications more useable:
Making windows and dialogboxes easy to comprehend and use
Designing software that is time- andresource-efficient
Making your software easy to navigate
Reducing thecomplexity of reports and other presentations of data
Understanding how thewrong programming decisions can limit usability
Ensuring smooth starts andstops
Capitalizing on the usability advantages of object-orientedprogramming
Understanding how usability affects your product’sfinancial success
Using the testing process to improveusability
Promoting usability in training, installation, and onlinehelp
Making management decisions that will benefit softwareusability
Some chapters are written primarily for programmers, oneprimarily for managers. Most are for everyone, and all are filled withilluminating, usually amusing examples drawn from both inside and outside thetechnical world. A helpful appendix provides information on standards, usability groups, and sources for more information.
Jeff Cogswell has been programming in several languages for many years. His background was previously in telecom, writing software for such strange things as network management protocols. Lately, however, his work has focused more on web development. After spending a few years in both Florida and California, Jeff now lives in Michigan. He's holding out for some warmer weather.