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The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide Paperback – July 9, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The exigencies of modern product and Web development mean that projects are often understaffed. When the understaffed designer is you, your success depends on knowing where to cut corners and where to apply a full-court press. This clearly written book shows you what works and what wastes time. It will help you become that well-tempered UX team of one who can be great while doing the impossible. --Alan Cooper, founder of design firm Cooper and author of The Inmates are Running the Asylum

Leah Buley was instrumental in opening my eyes to a more effective approach to UX design. Her lightweight, practical, and collaborative approach not only molds a better user experience but also helps to engage and educate non-UX colleagues. --Paul Boag, host of the Boagworld Web Design Podcast

This book will be a godsend to the lone UX wolves working in startups everywhere. --Janice Fraser, cofounder of Luxr.co and former CEO of Adaptive Path

Leah Buley was instrumental in opening my eyes to a more effective approach to UX design. Her lightweight, practical, and collaborative approach not only molds a better user experience but also helps to engage and educate non-UX colleagues. --Paul Boag, host of the Boagworld Web Design Podcast

This book will be a godsend to the lone UX wolves working in startups everywhere. --Janice Fraser, cofounder of Luxr.co and former CEO of Adaptive Path

About the Author

Leah is a design strategist for Intuit, where she works on the future of business and personal finance. She speaks and writes about techniques for spreading the reach of UX inside of organizations. Her work spans a variety of industries, including media, mobile, financial services, education, and non-profit. Before joining Intuit, Leah was an experience designer for Adaptive Path, a pioneering UX consultancy. Her work at Adaptive Path focused on collaborative approaches for UX design. Prior to Adaptive Path, Leah was a user experience team of one in a handful of companies, including Barclays Global Investors, where she championed firm-wide education and adoption of user experience design practices. Leah has a master's degree in library and information science from San Jose State University and a bachelor's in American studies from Barnard College. When she's not working, you can find Leah at the dog park with Roku, the cutest dog ever.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Rosenfeld Media; 1st edition (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933820187
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933820187
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book's title is what caught my attention and after reading it.....I think the title is prefect. Through this book, Leah is giving UX designers, both aspiring and existing, techniques and the motivation to
bring focus to the role of a UX Designer, as well as strategies on how to convince an organization that the role of UX should exist.

This book definitely has an audience and if you're part of that audience, it's a great resource; so, it's important to know who the book is not for. This book isn't as valuable for those who are already experienced UX designers and / or work in an organization which already has UX processes in place. Another situation where this material would not be helpful would be with start ups or organizations who have a more contemporary product design philosophy, e.g. anything 'Lean'. This has to do with how much the book relies on generating deliverables....lots of them. Deliverables make total sense when you're trying to convince others that UX should be taken seriously and / or if you're working in an organization which has disconnected team members. Again, if you're in situation where progress is measured by how many charts, graphs and wireframes are created - then this book is perfect for you.

Besides being very well structured and having great 'If You Only Do One Thing...' summaries, the work throughly covers situations and gives strategies on how to be successful in navigating them. Have trouble getting buy in from the boss that UX is important? ... not sure if you should be freelance or not?...dealing with an organization filled with doubters of UX's value? This book has you covered... and then some.

The '...and then some' is what leads to a kink in the book which holds it back from being invaluable from end to end.
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Format: Paperback
Leah Buley's "The User Experience Team of One" fills the void in current UX literature, which glosses over the challenges that UX professionals face in a fledgling UX practice.

There are two parts to the book - philosophy and practice. Philosophy serves as a short and informative primer for beginning UX pros. Practice makes up the bulk of the book and is composed of 27 UX "recipes" that you can use at various stages of a project. You won't find exhaustive coverage of each method here - that's not the point. Instead Leah takes the traditional deliverable-heavy UX techniques and distills them into key components sharing tips on how to use them in the real world. I also liked how each method had a brief section on how to apply them remotely. Let's face it for those of us working in large organizations - we're not all in the same building.

Saying "constraints largely come in the form of other people" Leah cuts right to the heart of the problem. Frequently it's not UX work that's the challenge - it's getting that crucial buy-in. While the title suggests a "Team of One" Leah's theme throughout the book is collaboration. By immersing folks into the process from the beginning you build support for your work over the course of the project. But even if that's not enough there's a dedicated chapter on UX evangelism.

So if you're newly minted UX professional and you're joining an organization with a growing UX practice - buy it. If you have experience and even if you're not a team of one - I still recommend you take a look due to the book's fresh perspective and practical focus.

In the end, The User Experience Team of One serves as a UX catalyst giving you tools to get started while arming you with tips to overcome the inevitable barriers in building a UX practice at your company.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You know, this book might be accessible for someone who wants to "quickly get into UX", but then I think that's what gives the profession a bad name. The descriptions of UX methods in this book are shallow, and would be seen as pretentious by the business and technical people you address - guaranteed.

Books like these, that promote "craftwork" and "expressiveness" as opposed to skill building and holistic awareness can only harm the people who read them. The complete absence of case studies is baffling.

For anyone who is actually interested in the process, Cooper's "About face" is a much more comprehensive book, although it is a bit of a slog.

** After reading the comment below I realised I was a bit harsh with the rating, and I've updated it to two stars. This book seems to be a good companion for anyone who already knows UX and is into "self-help" type books, which I'm not. However, for anyone starting out, my (lack of)recommendation still remains the same, and I've tried to explain why in a comment below.**
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Format: Paperback
Review copy provided by O'Reilly Press

There are plenty of books on user experience, heck there are probably 5 more being written right now. So why should you read Leah Buley's "The User Experience Team of One?" Not only is this a well written book, but Leah also fills a current void in the UX literature, which is some of the challenges that someone might face trying to start a UX program at their POW. Leah not only answers addresses this challenge, but also provides a solid framework of how to construct a plan, gain support from your colleagues, and how to show management that this is a worthwhile pursuit.

This book is dived up into two primary sections: philosophy and practice. The philosophy section is relatively short and provides a solid foundation for those just beginning to work with UX. This section walks us through the history of UX (tracing it back to the 18th century), the theory and philosophy of UX, and how to grow your career within the UX field.

The primary bulk of the book however, is devoted to putting UX into practice. Leah walks through some basic tools of the UX trade. While none of them are covered in depth, it does give a good basic understanding of how a tool works, such as the different types of surveys that might be conducted. What is even more important to me however, is that Leah doesn't just focus on UX as being a webdesign only tool. Instead she offers tips and advice that can be used for any project, including redesigning an office space or even just the layout of computers. She also offers good practical advice on how to administer these tips and tricks remotely, which is important if you're part of a larger company or offering your services to clients in different states.
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