Design & Interface – Illustrated web ergonomics
Amélie Boucher’s new book, Design & Interface Ergonomie web illustrée (“Illustrated Web Ergonomics”) is a real gem. The author, an expert in user experience and a writer for the website , presents a study of 60 websites, newsletters, and iPhone apps.
This book focuses on French-language websites—an outstanding approach in a design and interface world dominated by English.
After observing a panel of users representative of target audiences and their behavior on the website, the author offers a fair critique of interface models and of the dialectics between content components and the vocabulary of interface observation, which allows to identify the various limitations and break points of a website.
Fourteen studies were conducted through eye-tracking, a technique that follows a user’s eye movement. This tool is an ergonomics expert’s favorite; however, it can be hijacked to support any kind of argument. It is not the case here, since the context of each graphics is clearly defined and relates to the task that the user is set to accomplish.
Regardless of the type of webpage—homepage, content, list or form—the book insists on a holistic analysis of the user’s experience. It is different from theoretical scholarship on the topic, since it focuses on design; in this context, the French language offers a more aesthetic style and richer descriptions than English, which is better at simplifying, optimizing, and observing facts.
Steve Jobs says it perfectly: “People think it’s this veneer — that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works”.
— Steve Jobs,