Customer Review

91 of 101 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the Beef?, June 18, 2009
This review is from: Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design (Interactive Technologies) (Paperback)
I'm a user experience and interaction design professional, so here's my take from a slightly more informed perspective. As of 2009, this book is frequently recommended for UX practitioners through the UX Book Club movement.
What's good about the book is that it's shiny. It's stirring and inspiring, and offers a lot of wisdom along the way about the nature of the best design processes and the importance of lightweight sketching and trying, trying, trying. It will make you feel very good about design, whether you do it or know people who do, and I think that's why it's caught on so much with the UX Book Club.
On the other hand, many UX people want their books to provide useful frameworks or other practitioner-focused guidelines. This one doesn't, really. This is not a problem if you're looking for a more theoretical treatment of design. Of course, most practitioners aren't--many of them, underscoring one of Buxton's main points, sneer at "theory" in an excellent demonstration of what's wrong with designers. The problem is when a book suggests it's one thing but is actually another. Of course, a "theory" book would sell about as well as cold dog poop, so...

It's got a stunning design-related bibliography for the serious practitioner or researcher, and good tips for people starting out. It may well remind you of the right answer as you read. It's not going to make you a designer; arguably, it may not even make you a better designer in most situations. I can think of about a dozen UX books you should buy before you get this one. It's worth reading, but I don't know about a purchase. To paraphrase the's designed right, but I don't know if it's the right design, or if it presents itself accurately as what it really is.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 27, 2009 10:47:13 PM PDT
jellyjams says:
Please list these dozen UX books! :)

Posted on Sep 2, 2009 7:06:58 AM PDT
BC says:
Yes, list your recommendations please.

Posted on Oct 25, 2009 12:25:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Dec 28, 2009 7:33:06 AM PST
In 1999 - and then again in 2005 - when I ventured out to work on my startup, there was no book to teach myself UI design.
Now I found at least a dozen - thanks to your casual comment, I've found a rich collection:

1. Web Application Design Patterns (Interactive Technologies) by Pawan Vora (Paperback - Mar 9, 2009)
2. The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper
3. Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services by Kim Goodwin
4. Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective I... by Jenifer Tidwell
5. Rapid Contextual Design: A How-to Guide to Key Techniques for User-Centered Design by Karen Holtzblatt
6. Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition) (Voices That Matter) by Dan Saffer
7. About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper
8. A Project Guide to UX Design: For user experience designers in the field or in the making by Russ Unger
9. Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces (Interactive Technologies) by Carolyn Snyder
10. Measuring the User Experience: Collecting, Analyzing, and Presenting Usability Metrics by Thomas Tullis
11. The Design of Sites: Patterns for Creating Winning Web Sites (2nd Edition) by Douglas K. van Duyne, James A. Landay, and Jason I. Hong (Paperback - Dec 24, 2006)
12. User Experience Re-Mastered: Your Guide to Getting the Right Design by Chauncey Wilson (Paperback - Oct 19, 2009)

I'd love to see a comparison of these book somewhere - perhaps jellyjams and B.Engels can help?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2009 10:05:43 PM PST
Great list, and a very helpful product review. I'm a practicing UX designer and can vouch for the everyday usefulness of 2, 4, 7 and 8 on your list (my copy of Jennifer Tidwell's book looks like it's been to hell and back).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 20, 2011 8:02:12 PM PST
D. Li says:
Thanks for this list.
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