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Centered Products and Services. In trying to live up to
her subtitle, Goodwin has given us the closest thing
so far to a book you could use to teach and guide
the practice of professional product design.
Goodwin writes from a practitioner’s perspective, having worked at the interaction design
consultancy Cooper for 11 years. The book is thoroughly influenced by the practices and point of
view at Cooper. While it showcases a strong sense
of Cooper’s approach, the book also presents the
recommendations and examples of the weight of
seasoned credibility. They are drawn from real
experience, repeated across many projects in many
domains, executed by many teams. This stuff
works, at least at Cooper, which means it is likely
that readers will be able to adapt its recommendations to their own practice.
Experienced professionals are likely to substitute their favorite method or approach here and
there, preferring to do some aspects of the work in
their own way. Goodwin’s tone is confident but not
dogmatic—just right for guiding young professionals and providing a useful kit for seasoned people
to draw from.
Designing for the Digital Age is ambitious in its
broad and thorough coverage of the work of interactive product design. It begins with “assembling
the team,” then covers an integrated sequence of
activities and working deliverables that move the
team from first steps to production and launch.
Each step along the way, the text provides clear and
authoritative instruction in a pleasantly professional tone, with plentiful figures that don’t just
illustrate, they help.
Goodwin recognizes the multidisciplinary nature
of product and service design. It is one of a very few
books that suggests how to coordinate the work of
interaction designers, industrial designers, developers, team leadership, and project stakeholders. She
also recognizes that the work of design and product
creation is fundamentally social. To be successful,
it is not enough to “be a good designer,” to know a
lot about interfaces, or to have a multidisciplinary
approach. The work requires explicit attention to
the social dynamics of the team, as well as the
wider organization that supports the work. A book
that covers such aspects is refreshing.
Designing for the Digital Age offers the best integration of trustworthy voice, practical content, clear
communication, and integrated point of view we’ve
seen to date. Quite simply, it is useful.