Archive for December, 2013

Almost here

December 27th, 2013 8 comments

The new edition of Don’t Make Me Think (Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited) is finally about to escape the containment.

DMMTR cover 389x500In fact, the eBook version should be available today, and Amazon currently says they’ll be shipping the papyrus version next Friday (January 3rd). I tend to believe them, because in my experience they’re almost always smart enough to underpromise and overdeliver.  [UPDATE: It’s shipping from Amazon now—12/30. Kindle and eBook are available, too.]

I’m looking forward to seeing a copy myself.

If you’ve ever published a book, you know how much work goes into designing a cover. And if you haven’t, take my word for it: Coming up with a book cover can involve as many stakeholders, constraints, requirements, tradeoffs, and religious debates as designing an entire Web site, and sometimes takes almost as long.

In this case, for instance, it had to be similar enough to the original cover so people would understand that it’s the same book. But at the same time it had to be different enough that they’d also understand it wasn’t the same book—if you see what I mean.

Like most design projects, the whole thing was pretty interesting, and maybe one of these days I’ll write something about it.

Cover prototypingFor now, though, I just wanted to share a few photos of part of my personal [some might say compulsive] approach to the process.

Each time we came up with a new design, I’d print it out on photo paper, trim it to size, and attach it to the marked-up copy of the previous edition that I carried with me everywhere for six months while I was writing. I’d use removable glue-stick so I could peel it off later and replace it with the next iteration.

I found that carrying the new design around on a real book was the best way to get a feel for what worked about it and what still needed improvement.

The inspiration for this was clearly the story I’ve always loved about how Jeff Hawkins cut out a block of wood the size and shape of the Palm Pilot, then carried it around for months in his shirt pocket pretending to use it to take notes, look up phone numbers, etc. If you’ve never heard the story—or even if you have—check out this post by Alberto Savoia on the idea of pretotyping (as opposed to prototyping): My favorite pretotype story.