Chris McLay.

Designer. Pragmatic perfectionist. Really useful to have around…

More recent reading…

The following four books – Apple Human Interface Guidelines, The Art of Human Computer Interface Design, Design Research, The Origins of Creativity – have also provided interesting reading over recent months, though perhaps not as through provoking as others read recently…

Apple Human Interface Guidelines: Tiger Edition

Apple Human Interface Guidelines: Tiger Edition, eBook:, Apple Computer Inc., May 2005

This book has been published in various forms for years, in this most recent edition they have combined was has been two books back into one. The first part, of most interest here, is Fundamentals which covers a general introduction to human computer interaction, and processes and methodologies to follow. Part two, The Macintosh Experience, starts to get a little more Apple and Macintosh specific, but the concepts and guidelines presented here are widely applicable. The third and final part provides general specifications on how to implement The Aqua Interface. This section is all about making applications for the Macintosh, but again many of the guidelines are applicable to other graphic and window based interfaces.

I think the first part of the book provides a good solid introduction to HCI for almost anyone entering the field. It is not aimed at any specific academic field, and does not go into a great level of depth. The rest of the text is a good read to see how and why Apple has decided to approach HCI, or user experience as it is called by Apple Developers. Interestingly enough, it has been a favourite game of many people (Apple lovers and haters alike) to use the contents and concepts in this book against Apples own interface designers, when ever an unpopular or different approach has been taken.

The Art of Human Computer Interface Design, Ed. Brenda Laurel

The Art of Human Computer Interface Design, edited by Brenda LaurelThe Art of Human Computer Interface Design , Ed. Brenda Laurel, Addison-Wesley, 1990

This book has an amazingly positive energy about it. It appears that the people involved are really excited by the work they are doing and are keen to share this with the world around them. While not published by Apple Computer, this book was a project of their Human Interface Group, and has many contributors from within Apple.

The articles in this book are interesting from a range of points of view, for me it was good to read work by people who had actually been doing the job of designing user-interfaces, not just studying and researching in the field. It also has a historical interest: at the time the Mac was really king of the GUI world, but that was about to change; it’s also of interest to see where concepts have stayed, which have changed and which have gone completely in the 10-13 years since this book was written.

Design Research, Ed. Brenda Laurel

Design Research, by Brenda LaurelDesign Research: methods and perspectives , Ed. Brenda Laurel, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003

Design Research is not a book specific to human computer interaction, but to all aspects of design. “The tools of design research … will allow designers to claim and direct the power of their profession.” (p. inside cover) The book presents the various concepts and tools available for designers to inform their design work, many from designers in the field.

This book is not entirely relevant to the course, but much of the material is highly applicable. I think this is a book I will add to my own library so I can digest it over time and with reference to my own projects as they come around.

The Origins of Creativity, Ed. Pfenninger & Shubik

The origins of creativityThe Origins of Creativity , ed. Pfenninger K. & Shubik V., Oxford University Press, 2001

I found this book to be a good introduction to the psychological and practical side of creativity, and how it “works”. Of most value to me was the comparison of various ideas from diverse “creative professionals”, and by how different their own personal concepts of their own creativity was.

Again I think this is a book I would like to take my time to digest.

A more detailed bibliography on Mandelbrot’s article is available here.

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