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Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web


Cover image for Designed for Use

Designed for Use

Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web


Have you ever been angry at your computer or cell phone? This book is for designers, developers, and product managers who are charged with what sometimes seems like an impossible task: making sure products work the way your users expect them to. This book shows you how to design applications and websites that people will not only use, but will absolutely love.

Designed for Use, Second Edition is here.

Printed in full color.

Customer Reviews

Make good use of this book! It will help you to improve your work.

- David Naef

Creative director, Design Management, Visionaer

This book is smooth and pleasing like Swiss chocolate and has the eloquence of a cherry blossom. It’s a must-read and real gem for everybody who is eager to learn about usability.

- Michael D. Trummer

Senior engagement manager, Appway, Inc.

“Designed for Use” distills Lukas’s brilliant insight into the much neglected area of usability, UX, and UI design. An essential, authoritative, and enlightening read.

- Paul Neave

Interaction designer, Neave Interactive

It’s hard to write about usability concepts without sounding overly academic, but that’s exactly what Lukas has done. This book is a must-read if you are familiar with basic usability concepts and are ready to learn more.

- Jon Bell

Interaction designer, Windows Phone

An encyclopedic narrative of the life cycle of software UX design, stuffed with best practices, timely examples, and solid design methodologies. I wish I had it years ago!

- Keith Lang

COO and interaction designer, Skitch

See All Reviews

About this Title

Pages: 310
Published: 2011-06-14
Release: P3.0 (2015-10-23)
ISBN: 978-1-93435-675-3

Weaving together hands-on techniques and fundamental concepts, you’ll learn how to make usability the cornerstone of your design process. Each technique chapter explains a specific approach you can use during the design process to make your product more user friendly, such as storyboarding, usability tests, and paper prototyping. Idea chapters are concept-based: how to write usable text, how realistic your designs should look, when to use animations.

Filled with illustrations and supported by psychological research, expert developer and user interface designer Lukas Mathis gives you a deep dive into research, design, and implementation – the essential stages in designing usable interfaces for applications and websites. Lukas inspires you to look at design in a whole new way, explaining exactly what to look for, and what to avoid, in creating products that people will be excited about.

Contents & Extracts

Full Table of Contents


  • Research
    • User Research
    • Job Shadowing and Contextual Interviews
    • Personas
    • Activity-Centered Design
    • Time to Start Working on Documentation
    • Text Usability
    • Hierarchies in User Interface Design
    • Card Sorting
    • The Mental Model
  • Design
    • Sketching and Prototyping
    • Paper Prototype Testing excerpt
    • Realism
    • Natural User Interfaces
    • Fitts’s Law
    • Animations excerpt
    • Consistency
    • Discoverability
    • Don’t Interrupt
    • Instead of Interrupting, Offer Undo
    • Modes
    • Have Opinions Instead of Preferences
    • Hierarchies, Space, Time, and How We Think About the World
    • Speed
    • Avoiding Features
    • Removing Features
    • Learning from Video Games
  • Implementation
    • Guerilla Usability Testing
    • Usability Testing
    • Testing in Person
    • Remote Testing
    • How Not to Test: Common Mistakes
    • User Error Is Design Error
    • A/B Testing
    • Collecting Usage Data
    • Dealing with User Feedback
    • You’re Not Done


Lukas Mathis writes essays on design and usability at, and he writes about video games for, a Swiss gaming news site. His essays on design have been published on sites like UX Magazine and Splashnology. He has created a number of online tools for UI design, among them, a collaborative iPhone UI mockup designer. He works as a developer and user interface designer for Swiss software company Numcom Software, creator of workflow management software.