Interactive systems and devices, from mobile phones to office copiers, do not fulfill their potential for a wide variety of reasons—not all of them technical. Press On shows that we can design better interactive systems and devices if we draw on sound computer science principles. It uses state machines and graph theory as a powerful and insightful way to analyze and design better interfaces and examines specific designs and creative solutions to design problems. Programmers—who have the technical knowledge that designers and users often lack—can be more creative and more central to interaction design than we might think. Sound programming concepts improve device design.
Press On provides the insights, concepts and programming tools to improve usability. Knowing the computer science is fundamental, but Press On also shows how essential it is to have the right approaches to manage the design of systems that people use. Particularly for complex systems, the social, psychological and ethical concerns—the wider design issues—are crucial, and these are covered in depth.
Press On highlights key principles throughout the text and provides cross-topic linkages between chapters and suggestions for further reading. Additional material, including all the program code used in the book, is available on an interactive web site. Press On is an essential textbook and reference for computer science students, programmers, and anyone interested in the design of interactive technologies.
About the Author
Harold Thimbleby is Professor of Computer Science at Swansea University, Wales. He is the author or editor of a number of books, including User Interface Design, and nearly 400 other publications.
"I strongly recommend this book to a wide audience: students, instructors, and especially project managers and designers who are not thoroughly familiar with the foundations of computer science or HCI."
—Edgar R. Chavez, Computing Reviews
"This is an important book, moving interaction design from an art form to a science. Harold Thimbleby provides a treasure trove of information, introducing powerful methods, yet so skillfully explained that even the non-technical reader can follow and learn. The methods promise to make dramatic improvements in the design and evaluation of interactive systems. Don't worry: the formal tools are introduced slowly, step-by-step. Even if you normally fear such methods, you will be entranced and enchanted. Buy this book and use it. I know I will."
—Don Norman, Nielsen Norman group and Northwestern University, author of The Design of Future Things
"Interface device design and computer science theory often seem worldsapart, where each challenges the constraints and demands of the other. Thisunique book is a counterpoint. Thimbleby clearly shows how hard-corecomputer science concepts contribute to the clarity and precision of devicedesign, leading in turn to better design critique and redesign."
—Saul Greenberg, Professor and iCORE/SMART Industrial Research Chair, University of Calgary
"Interaction designers often espouse general principles for creating more usable and satisfying systems. This book shows that to make those principles work, the designer needs to conduct rigorous analysis of the details of interaction, within a coherent formal framework. Through a wide-ranging collection of interaction examples and clear expositions of the relevant mathematics, Thimbeleby demonstrates that careful analysis can improve our interactions with digital devices of all kinds. The book will be of value to anyone who creates interfaces to computers and electronic devices, from the smallest to the most complex."
—Terry Winograd, Department of Computer Science, Stanford University
Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2008.