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Search in Book Reviews

The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
Search is a simple string search in either book title or book author. The full text search is a search of the text of the review.
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Title:
The Craft of Windows 95 Interface Design
Author:
Alex Calvo
ISBN:
0 387 94814 7
Publisher:
Springer-Verlag
Pages:
185pp
Price:
£?
Reviewer:
Roger N Lever
Subject:
user interfaces; MS Windows
Appeared in:
10-5
Good software interface design is as crucial to a product's success as is its functionality- so says the text on the back cover. That is a statement that few would seriously disagree with, but the real question is what does the author bring to his audience that will help? Helpful and useful topics that come to mind immediately include:

  • What makes an interface design aesthetically pleasing?
  • What is a useful and interesting way to present information?
  • What is good practice regarding form/data input?
  • What works (and what does not) regarding visual clues, feedback and help?
  • What role do standards play, if any, in interface design?
After reading this book I still have the same questions.

Given that this book did not help me, a developer with a number of years' experience with different products such as Visual Basic (VB), who will it help? Any novice who wants to understand what the interface elements of Windows 95 are. For that audience the book presents all of the interface features of Windows 95 and NT that are used, such as windows, menus, toolbars, tooltips, popup menus, splitter bars, online help, wizards and so on. If that list does not make sense to you then the book has value as a simple and straightforward description of those (and similar) elements.

There were chapters in there that I would not expect to see, such as the one on prototyping, which was actually little more than a description of the VB development environment. Overall, I would expect that for the majority of C/C++ developers in ACCU this book is too basic and does not address the real substance of what is needed, I certainly felt disappointed.