Usable Software Design (Usable Software Design)
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Usable Software Design

About the Book

This book talks about combining UX techniques with software design techniques to obtain design qualities similar to those of usability.

About the Author

Alexandru Bolboaca
Alexandru Bolboaca

I am the CTO of Mozaic Works, which means I'm mostly doing programming, coaching and training. Same things that I did, and continue doing, for customers.

About the Contributors

Maria Diaconu
Maria Diaconu

Editor, Supporter

Rebecca Wirfs-Brock
Rebecca Wirfs-Brock

Editor, Supporter

Reader Testimonials

Mani Sarkar
Mani Sarkar


This topic is important, as many of us struggle to understand it, leave alone apply it. And Alex has written about it so lucidly and explained it illustrating and giving examples wherever possible. This book has helped me clarify and understand a topic objectively and put me to ease - about doing things a certain way was fine. He has responded constructively to my feedback. A "must have" book, if you value the solutions you build for your client, not only care about the code you craft.

Alessandro Baffa
Alessandro Baffa

Software Craftsman & Advocate, editor of Software Craftsmanship Newsletter

I have never thought about applying the criteria of UX and usability in the code I write. This book opens up new perspectives not only on how you think about the design of software, but also on the environment that enables you to write it. Putting the developers at the center of the design of software has a lot of fascinating consequences that are extremely well explained in this book. Despite it is a relatively short reading it has so much food for thoughts. Really recommended!

Mike Ritchie
Mike Ritchie

Developer and Technical Coach, working at 13coders

This is a refreshing take on software development and design. Alex presents software development parallels with the UX world : personas, flows, feedback, usability & navigability. Although focused on the human experience with code, it's also grounded in practical business concerns. More than any book I've read recently, it resonates with real-world development experience. I highly recommend this : it's so rarely that such a different perspective comes along on how we view code and design.

Stefan Seegers
Stefan Seegers

Software-Craftsman, former Smalltalk Developer, Sailor

This inspiring book is not about concrete code as classic books on software design - "Design Patterns" or "Refactoring". It's about the users of the code, the developers, and how to evaluate usability of your code. Based upon asking simple but helpful questions you will be guided to identify parts of your system that have usable design and parts that have not. Alex provides helpful advice on acting upon those results. e.g. by making a team agreement. Made me thinking a lot, glad I've read it!

Table of Contents

2 Minute Introduction

The Key Questions

    Why Usable Software Design?

    Ergonomics, User-Centric Design, Usability

    What Is Usable Software Design?

    When is Usable Software Design appropriate?

    What Other Known Practices Connect With Usable Software Design?

        Lean Software Development And XP

        UX and Usability

        SoCraTes UK, XP and Software Craftsmanship

        General Design Principles

        A Coherent Idea From A Mix Of Sources

How To Start With Usable Software Design

    Change your mindset

    But The Developers Built That Design!!!

    Understand The Developers

    User Interviews


    Define and Refine The User Flows

    Team Agreement


        Continuous Conversation

        Run Usability Tests

What We Learned Exploring Usable Software Design

    Most Design Principles Are Valid - In The Right Context

    Code Navigability

        Navigability Smells

        Design for Navigability


    Design Elements

        Examples of Design Elements

        What If We Find A Use Case That Doesn’t Match?

A Management Perspective

    Economic Benefits

    Increased Productivity on Typical Tasks

    Faster Integration of A New Developer In The Team

    Increased Motivation

Open Questions

    Who should take care about the usability of software design?


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