Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction, 6th edition

Published by Pearson (April 20, 2016) © 2017

  • Ben Shneiderman University of Maryland
  • Catherine Plaisant University of Maryland
  • Maxine Cohen Nova Southeastern University
  • Steven Jacobs Northern Arizona University
  • Niklas Elmqvist University of Maryland
  • Nicholas Diakopoulos University of Maryland


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For courses in Human-Computer Interaction


The Sixth Edition of Designing the User Interface provides a comprehensive, authoritative, and up-to-date introduction to the dynamic field of human-computer interaction (HCI) and user experience (UX) design. This classic book has defined and charted the astonishing evolution of user interfaces for three decades. Students and professionals learn practical principles and guidelines needed to develop high quality interface designs that users can understand, predict, and control. The book covers theoretical foundations and design processes such as expert reviews and usability testing.

By presenting current research and innovations in human-computer interaction, the authors strive to inspire students, guide designers, and provoke researchers to seek solutions that improve the experiences of novice and expert users, while achieving universal usability. The authors also provide balanced presentations on controversial topics such as augmented and virtual reality, voice and natural language interfaces, and information visualization.

Updates include current HCI design methods, new design examples, and totally revamped coverage of social media, search and voice interaction. Major revisions were made to EVERY chapter, changing almost every figure (170 new color figures) and substantially updating the references.

About the Book

  • Provides a broad survey of designing, implementing, managing, maintaining, training, and refining the user interface of interactive systems, especially mobile devices.
  • Describes practical techniques and research-supported design guidelines for effective interface designs.
  • Covers both professional applications (e.g. CAD/CAM, air traffic control) and consumer examples (e.g. web services, e-government, mobile devices, cell phones, games, virtual reality).
  • Delivers informative introductions to development methodologies, evaluation techniques, and user-interface building tools.
  • Offers an extensive array of current examples and figures illustrating excellence in design.
  • Includes full-color presentation throughout with commissioned chapter opening artwork.
  • Guides students who might be starting their first HCI design project.
  • Presents strategies for enhancing quality of user-generated content.
  • Focuses on universal usability including special populations, sustainable design, and societal transformation.
  • Emphasizes internationalization and customization of interactive systems.
  • Includes reports on recent research results and innovative products.
The Companion Website has additional practice opportunities and information resources for students and professors:
    • Links to hundreds of human-computer interaction resources, examples, and research studies that enhance and expand on the material in each chapter
    • Self-test questions and discussion questions for each chapter
    • Homework assignments and projects
    • Selection of video resources
Instructor Resource Center includes PowerPoint lecture slides and answers to discussion questions at
  • This Sixth Edition has been shepherded by Ben Shneiderman, a leader in the field of HCI and Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL) at the University of Maryland at College Park. He began as the sole author for the earlier editions and added Catherine Plaisant, Research Scientist and Associate Director of HCIL in the Third edition. For the Sixth edition Maxine Cohen from Nova Southeastern University and Steve Jacobs from Northern Arizona University have been moved from their collaborator status (on the Fifth edition) to part of the author team as well as adding Niklas Elmqvist and Nick Diakopoulos, who are both new colleagues at the University of Maryland. Together they bring unparalleled industry and academic experience, enhancing the book's usefulness in informing readers, clarifying opportunities, and inspiring excellence.
  • Presents the remarkable success story of HCI and user experience design.
  • Updates design guidelines, principles, and theories to reflect new ways of thinking.
  • Adds new chapters focusing on design and case studies, and updates evaluation techniques.
  • Illustrates current designs and practices with 170 new figures.
  • Explores progress in direct manipulation toward virtual and augmented reality as well as the broader use of speech interaction.
  • Expands the focus on mobile devices.
  • Offers a totally new chapter on collaboration and social media.
  • Updates vital chapters such as navigation, information search and visualization.
  • Presents balanced discussions on topics such as 3-D, speech, natural language interfaces, the degree of human control, and the role of animated characters.
  • Summarizes key points in boxes throughout the book.
  • Emphasizes issues of universal usability for increasingly diverse users of interactive systems.
  • Updates the Practitioner Summaries and Researcher Agendas.
  • Adds many new references, while keeping classic papers.

Brief Contents

Part 1. Introduction

  1. Usability of Interactive Systems
  2. Universal Usability
  3. Guidelines, Principles, and Theories

Part 2. Design Processes

  1. Design
  2. Evaluation and the User Experience
  3. Design Case Studies

Part 3. Interaction Styles

  1. Direct Manipulation and Immersive Environments
  2. Fluid Navigation
  3. Expressive Human and Command Languages
  4. Devices
  5. Communication and Collaboration

Part 4. Design Issues

  1. Advancing the User Experience
  2. The Timely User Experience
  3. Documentation and User Support (a.k.a. Help)
  4. Information Search
  5. Data Visualization

Afterword. Societal and Individual Impact of User Interfaces

BEN SHNEIDERMAN ( is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (, and a Member of the UM Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) at the University of Maryland. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, NAI, and SIGCHI Academy and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to human-computer interaction and information visualization.

CATHERINE PLAISANT ( is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and Associate Director of Research of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Catherine Plaisant earned her Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, France. She was elected to the ACM SIGCHI Academy in 2015 for her contributions to the field of human-computer interaction, medical informatics, and information visualization.

MAXINE COHEN ( is a Professor in the College of Engineering and Computing at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She teaches graduate courses (on campus and online) in Human-Computer Interaction, Interaction Design, and Social Media and advises doctoral students. Previously she worked for IBM (Endicott, NY and Boca Raton, FL) and taught at the Watson School of Engineering at Binghamton University. She has served as a meta-reviewer for ACM Computing Reviews for over 20 years. She earned her Ph.D. and M.S. from Binghamton University and her B.A. from the University of Vermont. She is a member of ACM, IEEE, and UPE.

STEVEN JACOBS ( retired from the aerospace industry and is now a Lecturer in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems as well as University College Faculty Fellow at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona. He was with Northrop Grumman Information Systems (formerly TRW) in Carson, California for 25 years. He was also Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California Department of Computer Science for 17 years, where he developed and taught their graduate courses in user interface design and human performance engineering. He received his M.S.C.S. from UCLA and B.A. in Mathematics from Monmouth University (NJ). Mr. Jacobs is a Senior Member of ACM.

NIKLAS ELMQVIST ( is an Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies at University of Maryland, College Park, with affiliate appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the UM Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS). He is also a member of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL). Previously a faculty member at Purdue University, he received his Ph.D. from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. He is a Senior Member of the ACM and the IEEE.

NICHOLAS DIAKOPOULOS ( is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park Philip Merrill College of Journalism with courtesy appointments in the College of Information Studies and Department of Computer Science. He is a member of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) and is director of the Computational Journalism Lab where he researches algorithmic accountability, narrative data visualization, and social computing in the news. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.                    

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