About Face if the book of the well known Alan Cooper, father of the Visual Basic user interface. This interface was a real revolution when it came out and now all IDEs use this component based metaphor (Borland Delphi and JBuilder, PowerBuilder etc…). Althoug the book is now quite old its still useable on the usability aspects. One of the best parts, but also most difficult to do right, is to tell the users when something goes wrong how they could correct it. In fact the software should be much more forgiving when the user enters wrong or invalid data. Don’t make users feel stupid, don’t ask them questions to answer, just let them redo things when they gave the wrong information.
“Don’t make users feel stupid!”
The book also discusses most used (windows) controls and explain why they work or how they could be made better. A bad thing might be that most of the examples are Microsoft orientated as most things come from the Office 97 applications.
After having read 80% of the book I put it away and didn’t finish it in a while. I think I was bored with it due to the writing style and the bad quality of images for special notations and layout of the chapters. I know this has not much to do with the content but its what I did. I don’t think on buying “About Face 2” which is now for sale on amazon…