Book Writing – Knowing when to start over

For a while I was writing the book, but the more I worked on it, the more it was looking like a regular old programming book.  I really don’t want to write a programming book.  I want to write a User Experience or Interaction Design book.  That is what I know best.  Sure, jQuery is the catalyst to change the process and improve designs, but I don’t want to get stuck in a ‘jQuery for Beginners’ loop, where I never get to the good stuff.

So I spoke with the editors and decided to start over.  If you think about a book like Don’t Make Me Think, it has a certain simplicity that makes it stand apart.  I think it’s targeted very well for it’s purpose.  The book I want to write is in this vein, but rather than just Web Principles, I want to take it to the next level with Interaction Design.  I also want to demonstrate that jQuery can make this happen without much effort.

The Interaction Design Principles need to be congealed in my head first.  Like Steve Krug has certain principles his book explores, I need to make Interaction Design principles just as concrete. Some initial thoughts, although I will need to work on the language:

  1. Break up information wherever possible into dynamic chunks (scrolling, tabbing, accordions, modals)
  2. Animate with real-world naturalness (easing, sliding, fading)
  3. Allow users 100 ways to skin the cat. (right-clicking, menus, drag and drop)
  4. Always give immediate and persistent feedback (Status bars, cursors, errors, tooltips)
  5. Forgive your users when they screw up (Good errors and making them go away, restraints)
  6. Don’t be unhappy with Good, when trying for Great (iterative process, object-oriented interaction design, expectations)
  7. Make it beautiful (readability, aesthetics, task completion, Swiss Design)
  8. Know when to dial the interaction up or down for business goals
  9. Communicate your instructions without words, Play charades (users never read, interaction design rules for communicating instructions)
  10. Make is snappy. (Speed tips, ySlow, Transitions, please wait, other tips for making users hold the phone)

Ten is a good round number.  I feel better now.  I think I have a game plan.  Or at least the start of one.

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