Review: Designing the Obvious

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I just finished the book, Designing the Obvious by Robert Hoekman, Jr.  Although I appreciated his overall view and the points he was making, I just thought the book fell a little flat for me.  In comparison, Don’t Make Me Think, was a much more enjoyable read.  Neither book really introduced me to any new concepts, but that is OK.  Sometimes, I like to give these kinds of books to others as primers.

Compare Designing the Obvious to The Design of Everyday Things and to Universal Principles of Design.  DOET has virtually no pictures, but it was mesmerizing.  I had to read it all in one sitting.  Don Norman changed my life and I am a life-long disciple.  Universal Principles had a unique layout approach where each spread was 1 principle.  I love this book.  It’s so easy to learn from.  You could flip to any page and learn something.  Don’t Make me Think has fun animations and is a very quick read.  He made the book so that one could read the whole thing on a cross-country plane trip.  By comparison Designing the Obvious was a hybrid.  Some pictures, some layout, alot of text.  It just didn’t capture my imagination or engage me enough.

Maybe I am not the right target audience.  I hate giving bad reviews. The information in it is accurate and sensible.  I just didn’t love the writing.

With that said, I tried to write my own book on the same subject and could not complete it satisfactorily.  Writing a book is incredibly difficult and I am being very unfair to Robert by comparing his book to my favorites.  I am a picky reader of UX books in general and I still bought this book. I think I will subscribe to his blog too.

UPDATE:  I like his blog. 🙂  Apparently, he requested that blog reviews about the book should be linked to amazon.


Whatya think?