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Undercover User Experience Design (Voices That Matter) 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321719904
ISBN-10: 0321719905
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Once you catch the user experience bug, the world changes. Doors open the wrong way, websites don't work, and companies don't seem to care. And while anyone can learn the UX remedies: usability testing, personas, prototyping and so on unless your organization 'gets it', putting them into practice is tricky. Undercover User Experience is a pragmatic guide from the front lines, giving frank advice on making UX work in real companies with real problems. Readers will learn how to fit research, ideation, prototyping and testing into their daily workflow, and how to design good user experiences under the all-too-common constraints of time, budget and culture.

About the Author

Cennydd Bowles leapt into the world of user experience eight years ago and hasn't shut up about it since. He now works for Clearleft in Brighton, England and moonlights as a UX blogger, mentor and community evangelist. Cennydd is a regular public speaker (SXSW, IA Summit), a widely published writer (A List Apart, Johnny Holland, .net magazine) and co-conspirator of the UX London conference.

A self-confessed ‘user experience professional’, James Box works for Clearleft in the seaside town of Brighton, England. Part information architect and part interaction designer, when he’s not building sandcastles on the beach, James crafts websites that are fun and easy to use. On those few occasions he's not actually designing, you'll probably find him writing or talking about the subject. Either that or reminiscing about how all these social networks used to be fields.

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Product Details

  • Series: Voices That Matter
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (September 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321719905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321719904
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.4 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthias Schreck on January 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
In the past few years, I have read many UX books, and most of them were either extremely boring or very badly written, so I approached this one with a lot of cynicism. Luckily, it is neither boring nor badly written: it actually has a very good pace, talks about most aspects of User Experience just in the right length, and maintains a tone throughout that relaxes you and makes you feel that you're actually doing something that you enjoy.
The authors maintain the position that some UX work in design is better than none, and show ways how research, design and production can be influenced by User Experience work (performed by you, the reader) without big budgets or a sense of perfectionism.
Having worked in various companies large and small for UX teams both successfully and unsuccessfully, I found that the relaxed approach by the authors resonated with me. It's a bit like books by Steve Krug, but less descriptive in what needs to be done. "Undercover User Experience Design" rather gives you a range of possibilities to tackle problems along the way, and it's up to the user which one to pick. The book quite masterfully describes the techniques with just the right amount of detail: if you're okay with a bit of uncertainty, you can probably do the exercises straight away, but if you're a bit anxious because you've never done it before, the book gives you plenty of leads to follow up on.
I rarely recommend a book for both beginners in UX and seasoned professionals, but I felt that it spoke very well to both parties: beginners get a 5-star introduction into what can be done, a bit of how-to as well, while professionals can use it as a quick-reference guide in case they hit a snag somewhere in their projects.
Oh, and it's under 200 pages, which makes it much more likely for you to actually read ;-)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I design and create iPhone and mobile apps for a living, so I've seen my share of carbon-copied iPhone HIG's with little thought about the user research, experience design overall device navigation. Suzanne's book is not this! She covers all of these important mobile user experience topics plus some. She starts you off with a classic interaction design approach, then dives into how these research elements apply to device design, and provides a great deal of exemplars to back up her thoughts.

For those already familiar with user experience design, Suzanne's discussion of the device capabilities, navigation and interface elements/interplay is equally as valuable. Suzanne's book actually changed the way I approached my soon-to-be-released iPhone App DrivingBuddy. You could spend hours looking for examples of well-designed mobile apps and diagnosing why exactly they are great, or you could just read Suzanne's book :)

This book is clearly written for a designerly audience, but also lays the groundwork for user experience newbies. I highly recommend this book to anyone tackling the difficult task of designing for mobile.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Strengths:
- concise prose; comprehensive and appropriate examples
- well-designed expository structure, organization, visual appearance
- in context introduction of standard UX terminology
- very complete 'further reading' section at each chapter end

Weaknesses:
- web application design, as opposed to website design, is not covered explicitly, in particular, there is no treatment of the essential application UX design issue of workflow
- the 'undercover' conceit feels like an unnecessary distraction

If you need a practical and thorough overview of website user experience design read this book.

I rate it 4 stars for meeting its stated objectives 100%.

This book is essentially an extremely well-organized list of the skills, terms and issues one must understand to practice UX. Each topic is treated evenly, with enough sub topics and examples to clarify why the item matters, what are the relevant techniques needed to address it, and how it fits into the overall UX practice. The result is something simple to read and understand as a narrative the first time through that also serves as fine reference to return to time and again.

My primary quibble with the book, and it is a minor thing, is that the 'undercover' bit feels like something manufactured to give the book a unique angle. Certainly there is validity to the point that one encounters resistance when introducing a UX agenda to organizations that don't yet have one. But using this issue as a leitmotif throughout the book adds a slightly defensive tone that I feel distracts from the book's otherwise elegant exposition of the essential theory and skills that make up user experience design
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Format: Paperback
This book is a must-read for anybody seriously interested in understanding the nuts and bolts of good user experience design for the iPhone.

The fact is, there's a huge difference between designing the right thing and designing the thing right. And Suzanne Ginsburg hits the nail on the head as she expertly conveys what's involved in designing for the iPhone, or for any mobile device / app for that matter. She manages to demystify the front end of the design process, the part that most people don't know they don't know.

As the user experience migrates from being browser-centric to being app-centric, it becomes increasingly important for anybody interested in developing such apps -- clever entrepreneurs and enterprise product managers alike -- to understand the fundamentals of good design, the process steps, key distinctions, and best practices.

Designing the iPhone User Experience walks the talk by connecting what some mistakenly think of as abstract theory to irrefutable value of the practice outlined in the case studies she has included.

What I love about this book is:

- How Part 1 orients the reader to the capabilities of the iPhone from the point of view of somebody who might want to take advantage of them; and it does so in a way that inspires and challenges the reader to imagine the possibilities.

- The way Part II demystifies the aspects of the design process to increase the likelihood that you're going to design the right thing. That is to say, by presenting the essentials of user research and evaluating the competition, the author reminds us that there are ways to dramatically reduce the chances the reader (as designer) developer will go awry early on or that the investment will fall flat.
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