Working from the authors' years of experience, the goal of Designing Web Interfaces is to distill into six principles, what it takes to create great user experiences on today's web. By grouping these best practices into principles, they hope to help you take advantage of what they learned while designing interfaces at Sabre, Yahoo!, and Netflix, as well as give you the ability to build a new, or renovate an existing website to be truly interactive.
Designing Web Interfaces is written for anyone who specifies, designs, or builds web interfaces. It contains real world examples in the context of design principles and patterns, and has a companion website to serve as an addendum for updated examples, thoughts, and helpful links to articles and resources. It contains 332 pages divided in to 14 chapters further divided into 6 sections. I will break it down by the six principles.
Principle 1, "Make it Direct" begins with a statement from interface guru Alan Cooper that says where there is output, let there be input. That is what this principle entails. The human mind looks at the process of input and output as one and when designing your interface you should too. In this section you will look at in-page editing, drag and drop, as well as applying actions to directly selected objects.
Principle 2, "Keep it Lightweight" focuses on creating a lightweight foot print on your site by the use of Contextual Tools. These are the Web's version of the desktop's right-click. These are the kind of tools that reveal themselves in context with the content. Here you will see the best practices for working with secondary menus and contextual tools in general to make significant impacts on user interaction.
Principle 3, "Stay on the Page" concentrates on keeping the users flow constant. Unfortunately, page refreshes cause a break in the action causing an unpleasant experience in the user's eyes. Instead of assuming a page refresh for every action, you need to get back to modeling the user's process. You must decide intelligently when to keep the user on the page. Here you will examine overlays where a mini page is displayed, inlays where information is inlaid within a page, use of virtual pages, and instead of moving page to page, creating in-page flows.
Principle 4, "Provide an Invitation" looks at discoverability which is one of the primary challenges for rich interaction on the web. Just because you have a wonderful feature, if your users don't discover it, it is meaningless. In this principle you will learn to use the art of invitation to cue the user to find the next level of interaction. The two types that you will look at are static invitations where they are offered on the page and dynamic invitations where they come into play where the user is interacting.