Learn What Usability Really Is, Why to Strive for It, and How toAchieve It
"Highly useable" software is easy to use. It does what you expectit to. And it does it well.
It’s not easy to build but as this book demonstrates, it'swell worth the effort. Highly useable software is highlysuccessful software--and everyone wins.
Inside, an accomplished programmer who has made usability hisbusiness systematically explores the world of programming, showingyou how every aspect of the work is implicated in the usability ofthe final product. This is not just an "issues" book, however, butsystematic, real-world instructions for developing applicationsthat are better in every way. As you'll learn, there's no suchthing as "intuitive" software. Instead, there are just thefactors that make it highly useable: simplicity, consistency, therecognition of accepted conventions, and the foregrounding of theuser's perspective. With these principles under your belt, you'llquickly discover dozens of ways to make your applications moreuseable:
Making windows and dialog boxes easy to comprehend and use
Designing software that is time- and resource-efficient
Making your software easy to navigate
Reducing the complexity of reports and other presentations ofdata
Understanding how the wrong programming decisions can limitusability
Ensuring smooth starts and stops
Capitalizing on the usability advantages of object-orientedprogramming
Understanding how usability affects your product’sfinancial success
Using the testing process to improve usability
Promoting usability in training, installation, and onlinehelp
Making management decisions that will benefit softwareusability
Some chapters are written primarily for programmers, one primarilyfor managers. Most are for everyone, and all are filled withilluminating, usually amusing examples drawn from both inside andoutside the technical world. A helpful appendix providesinformation on standards, usability groups, and sources for moreinformation.
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.