Home > Store

Practitioner's Handbook for User Interface Design and Development

Register your product to gain access to bonus material or receive a coupon.

Practitioner's Handbook for User Interface Design and Development


  • Sorry, this book is no longer in print.
Not for Sale



  • Comprehensive coverage of user-centered design—From fundamental topics to a high-level description of a user-centered process.
    • Presents a complete overview of user interface design and development from beginning to end. Ex.___

  • Practical rules of thumb.
    • Provides students with useful hands-on tips they can use in the classroom or in actual design situations. Ex.___

  • Process-based and example-based structure.
    • Allows readers to see how the topics fit in real-world design situations. Ex.___

  • Single consistent example throughout the book.
    • Allows students to focus exclusively on the topic being presented. Ex.___

  • Cross-hardware platforms and styles—(GUI, Web, PDA).
    • Exposes students to a range of design techniques. Ex.___

  • Full set of user interface techniques—Applicable to each phase of design and development.
    • Provides readers with an essential reference guide for user interface design and development. Ex.___


  • Copyright 2002
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 400
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-091296-4
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-091296-1

The complete, practical handbook for effective UI design, development, and usability engineering.

Using extensive practical examples, the Practitioner's Handbook for User Interface Design and Development illuminates today's best practices for user interface design, usability, and user-centered development. Robert J. Torres introduces user interfaces from three points of view: the user, the developer, and the system. Next, he introduces a complete user-centered UI development process, beginning at the highest level and then drilling down to each phase of the lifecycle. For every stage, Torres offers clear principles, specific guidelines, and practical heuristics for self-assessment. Coverage includes:

  • Planning, user/task analysis, and user profiling
  • Conceptual design, high-level design, and detailed design
  • Simulation and prototyping
  • Implementation, evaluation, iteration, and deployment
  • Risk management in user interface development
  • Choosing the optimal tools for building and managing user interfaces
  • Understanding the role of managers and project leaders in UI development

Whether you're a developer, project manager, usability specialist, IT manager, software customer, or researcher, Practitioner's Handbook for User Interface Design and Development will be your definitive resource for building great user interfaces.

Sample Content

Table of Contents



1. Introduction.

A Project—Keeping Things Real. A Challenge. Causes of Software Project Failure or Success. An Approach to Processes. An Approach to Solutions. Best Practices. The Remainder of the Journey. Back to the Project. References.

2. User-Centered Design Through Delivery.

Key Principles for Being User Centered. Back to the Project. References.

3. Understanding People.

Ergonomics and Human Factors. Ergonomics and Human Factors of Software. Sociological Ergonomics. Implications of Software Design and Development. Back to the Project. References.

4. A User-Centered Product Team.

The Ergonomics of Software Development. Implications of Software Development. A Different Perspective on the Team Model. Required Development Skills. An Approach to Skill Building. Skills for Managers. An Analogy. The Project and a User-Centered Product Team. References.

5. Popular UI Styles.

Graphical User Interface (GUI). Web User Interface (WUI). Handheld User Interface (HUI). Application Layer of a Software UI. Object-Oriented Uis. Implications of UI Styles on the Project. References.

6. Participatory Methods.

Techniques for User Participation During Planning. Techniques for User Participation During Requirements. Techniques for User Participation During Design. Techniques for User Participation During Construction. Techniques for User Participation During Product Evaluation. Techniques for User Participation During Postdeployment. Involving Users in the Project. References.

7. A Word About Tools.

Software. Hardware. Facilities. Materials. Tools needed for the Project.


8. Planning a UI Design and Development Effort.

Planning a UI Design and Development Effort. Schedules and Iterative Processes. Staffing, Skills, and Other Resources. Planning for the Major Usability Factors. References.

9. Requirements.

Key Features. Requirements-Gathering Approach. UI Requirements. Requirements for the Project. References.

10. Users, Their Work Environment, and Tasks.

Understanding a Product's Users, Work, and Environment. Methods. Example Questions. Users, Tasks, and Environments for the Project. References.

11. Conceptual Design and Architecture.

Vision Setting. Distributing the Components of Work. UI Architecture—A Very High-Level Design. Conceptual Design for the Project. References.

12. Principles, Guidelines, and Style Guides.

Good Things to Do—Principles, Standards, Guidelines, and Style Guides. Some Definitions. Prescriptive Style Guides. Prescriptive Solutions for Common Problems. Prescriptive Style Guide Development. Useful Techniques. A Management View. Principles and Guidelines for the Project. References.

13. Mockups, Simulations, and Prototypes.

Definitions. Goals. Design Instantiation Techniques. Organizational Considerations. Throw-aways. Misconceptions. Back to the Project. References.

14. Usability Evaluation.

Evaluation Goals. Types of Evaluations. Preparing for an Evaluation. Conducting an Evaluation. Data Evaluation. Developer Participation. A Word About Desk Checking. Back to the Project. References.

15. Iteration.

Prerequisites. Finding the Big Hitters. Defects, Keepers, and Trade-offs—Techniques and Diagnostics. Short-Term and Long-Term Effects. Follow-Up Analysis. Rapid Turnaround and Optimization. Organizational and Technical Considerations. Back to the Project. References.


16. High Level Design.

Setting Context within a Development Cycle. Definitions and Design Input. OO Components. Design for “Desktop” Behavior. Design a UI Flow. Design the Major Screens—Features, Data, Content, and Commands. Design the Major Dialogs. Installation, Print, and Other System Features. Back to the Project. References.

17. Specification Techniques.

The Needs and Challenges. Specification Approaches. Levels of Specification—Conceptual, High Level, Detailed, Implementation. An Outline—In the Beginning, Middle, and End. An Approach for Projects. Back to the Project. References.

18. Low-Level Design.

Details! DETAILS!! DETAILS!!! Designing the Details—Sizing, Focus, Cursor Placement, Graying, and More. Things Hard to Predict. A Final Check Before Moving On. Back to the Project. References.

19. Product Construction, Test, and Deployment.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition from Design. Implementation Design, Code, and Unit Test. System and Other Tests. Challenges, Solutions, and Lessons. Requirements Met? Trade-offs, Compromises, and Surprises. Deployment. Back to the Project. References.


20. Looking Back and Beyond.



Although there are a large number of software products in the world today, the number of software user interfaces with high usability is painfully small. Furthermore, the number of software products with overall high usability is even smaller. These days, as in the past, it takes more than just a pretty interface to achieve high and competitive overall user satisfaction. An aesthetic interface with in-depth character is what users, customers, and business sponsors are seeking.

This is a daunting task for software designers and developers who are under constant pressure to reduce product cost, reduce development time, deliver increasing features, and improve quality relative to competition in a rapidly changing world wide environment. People in the software development business today (and in particular, those focusing on user interface and usability) must approach the job with caution and humility - there are lots of things to learn and do very quickly and effectively. No one person has all the answers to deal with so many simultaneous and competing challenges.

The primary goals for this book are to

  1. Make essential distinctions between the overall usability of a software product and its user interface. Overall usability is a function of many parameters that must be accounted for and user interface is only one factor.
  2. Provide very practical, specific, effective, and "best practice" guidance and techniques to achieve software products and user interfaces on schedule, with high overall usability, and with high user satisfaction. The guidance and techniques are provided in a way that is immediately applicable to current software user interface projects.

The focus of the text is on application software user interfaces, which is where the majority of user interface work exists. However, the techniques are applicable to development of software user interfaces for operating systems. In a more general sense, the general concepts are applicable to user interfaces of systems of different types.

Let's begin by discussing the task, the audience, and criteria that this text addresses.

The Task

Of course, the task that is explored in depth is that of planning, designing, constructing, validating, and deploying user interface software that meets requirements and helps achieve product goals for the user interface and usability in general. Each key subtask is described, rules of thumb (heuristics) provided, and examples explored. The intent is to provide effective guidance to achieve effective results. The guidance provided is typically not described in any other publication. Guidance in the text is experience-based and derived from a large number of projects, i.e., the school of hard knocks.

The Audience

There are several intended users of this information.

  • Product personnel responsible for user interface planning, requirements analysis, design, online help, performance support, tutorials, and training
  • Product personnel responsible for implementing all aspects of a product user interface, including implementation design, construction, and test
  • Product personnel responsible for evaluating the usability of software user interfaces, help, performance support, tutorials, and the overall usability of product software
  • Development Managers responsible for planning and tracking software development and the effectiveness of results
Measurable Criteria

A major objective is to guide a software developer who understands the basics of user interface development to design and implement better user interfaces more effectively.

  • Designing a better user interface means achieving higher usability and user satisfaction than was achieved prior to using this text or any other text or source of guidance.
  • Achieving the result more effectively means producing a better user interface faster, on or ahead of schedule, with fewer user interface and usability defects, on larger product feature sets, and with fewer resources than before.

In addition, this book is intended to be a more complete reference for user interface design and development than others available.


Submit Errata

More Information

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020