O’Reilly’s classic Designing Interfaces scored a rave review on TamsPalm some time ago. Designing Gestural Interfaces is from the same series – can it impress me as much as the forefather?
Dan Saffer starts put by looking at the history of user interaction and the physiological principles behind UI. His summary is well-done, but contains nothing which is new for a seasoned UI designer – not bad to have, but no selling point here.
After that, the book starts out by presenting finger and whole-body gestures which are “common” in Western cultures. People looking for a reference of gestures will be happy with this part – but if your OS vendor already specifies gestures, his UI rules are the ones to follow.
The last chapters of the book look at various development process-related things: how to test gestures, how to document them and what to expect in the future. People wanting to develop mobile apps will benefit a bit from the testing stuff, although a good beta test should be mostly straightforward.
The appendix contains an even larger list of gestures – if you are looking for a gesture dictionary, getting the book definitely pays out.
In the end, Designing Gestural Interfaces definitely is not a bad book. However, most of its contents are of limited value to the average mobile developer. If you aren’t into virtual reality / winning a motion-game contest, the steep asking price of 43$ can definitely be spent better elsewhere…