UX Resources: What’s on my bookshelf?

I like to read. I like to keep learning. I could waist, I mean spend, an entire day if not more just reading books or the millions of articles that are posted online daily regarding all things UX.

I’ll also admit; I’m also a sucker for that promotional email that says, for a limited time only download this new book at a price you can’t beat! Yep, that’s me, downloading away. I recently purchased A Practical Guide to Information Architecture, by Donna Spencer offered through UX Mastery for only $5.  I’ve already read through a bunch of it and though I know most the information already, it’s always good to refresh my memory.

The Must Haves

If call yourself a UX designer then you must have read and own the following:

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
– You will never look at the world around you the same. I keep this one as an e-book so I can re-read through it when ever I have a few minutes.

The Inmates Are Running The Asylum: Why High-tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper
– I work with a lot of complex B2B products, this book is essential to say the least.

Don’t Make Me Think: A common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug
– I still have the original version. I’m realizing I should really go out and picking up the latest version based on the reviews.

Personal Favorites

Web Form Design: Filling in the blanks by Luke Wroblewski
– I’ve seen Luke speak at a couple different events, he’s always gives a good talk!

About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, and David Cronin

Persona Lifecycle: Your Guide to Building and Using Personas by Tamara Adlin and Jon Pruitt

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People  by Susan M. Weinschenk, Ph.D.

Interaction Design

Designing Web Interfaces by Bill Scott & Theresa Neil (O’Reilly book)

Sketching User Experiences, getting the design right and the right design. by Bill Buxton

Designing the User Interface, Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interactions by Ben Shneiderman

Designing from both sides of the screen. How Designers and Engineers Can Collaborate to Build Cooperative Technology by Ellen Isaacs and Alan Walendowski

User Research:
Observing the User Experience, A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research by Elizabeth Goodman, Mike Kuniavsky and Andrea Moed

Institutionalization of Usability, A Step-By-Step Guide by Eric Schaffer

Paper Prototyping, The Fast and Easy Way to Design and refine user interfaces by Carolyn Snyder

Notes from: “What Designing For Kids Can Teach Us About User Experience”

The second I get just a little bit of free time I love attending or listening to all sorts of UX/UI webcasts and seminars. I recently stumbled across the fact that O’Reilly offered free live webcasts on a variety of subjects, yes FREE!! Previous webcasts are all archived and available as well, visit http://www.oreilly.com/webcasts/index.html for more information.


One such webcast I found particularly interesting that I was able to attend live was Debra Gleman’s “Just Make it Fun, What Designing for Kids Can Teach Us About User Experience.” In it she talks about the five principles for designing for kid’s friction, response, investment, action and flow and goes on to go into each one in detail and how to use it effectively for grown ups.

For example, the right right amount of friction makes the interaction interesting but at the same time too much friction may hurt, especially when it comes to commerce. Users may like a fun way to add to cart, but make sure it’s fully tested.

When it comes to response it’s key to remember every action a user takes has a response. This is a great when doing repetitive tasks like form completion, nothing too in your face but something in a fun and interesting way.

She also mentioned using communication as a great way to get people invested. MailChimp is a great example of this and is one of my favorite online applications for this very reason. The error messages and fun sayings at the top make me smile whenever I was helping small businesses set up an online subscription service. It full fills the business requirements in a fun and interesting way.

When it comes to action or movements, she talks about how kids need movement but for adults it need to be very purposeful. Examples when movement on the screen would be appropriate are things like, first-time user, using action as a way to highlight what to do on the screen, contextual help or when browsing or discovering. It’s not for routine tasks as it can get in the way.

Lastly, is flow, users need to feel as though they are progressing through an experience. This is especially useful when tracking, searching or creating information.

One of the big take-a-ways from this webcast for something I know all too well from watching my kids play countless games on the iPad, was the idea of a Lagniappe. Many times it’s a simple badge or trophy that shows up on the screen after they complete a task. My kids eat this stuff up, and they can’t wait to get to the next level or the bigger trophy.

Now I can’t stop thinking all the different ways to translate that concept into the grownup world as well. Maybe take an upload complete pop up and add a colorful icon to it or some fun messaging?? It doesn’t need to be much, simple is good but there is no reason even corporate sites and applications can’t make one smile while using it.

Again, if you haven’t heard of the O’Reilly webcasts, be sure to check them out.