Welcome to the Christmas edition of the Userfocus usability and user experience newsletter!
- Message from the Editor
- Non-UX books that every UX practitioner should read
- From our archives: Are personas past their prime?
- Review of the year
- What we're reading
- Upcoming user experience training courses
- User experience quotation of the month
If you're looking around for some Christmas reading, then this month's newsletter is for you. It's a veritable linkfest! There's a new article on books that every UX practitioner should read but this one comes with a twist: the books are all non-UX books. There's an article from our archive on personas and a summary of the articles we published last year, all alongside other stuff we've been reading on user experience across the web.
When guests come to visit on Christmas Day, nothing says you care like whipping out your laptop and spending time on the Internet, so I hope you find it useful!
I hope you have a great Christmas and a productive new year.
In this article, Philip Hodgson, David Travis and Todd Zazelenchuk share their shortlists of non-UX books for those working in UX… an intentional twist on the usual lists that recommend books about user research and user experience design. So don’t be surprised to find that The Design of Everyday Things, among other classics, is not in this list. No disrespect. No oversight. Simply a different list for you to consider. Read the article in full: Non-UX books that every UX practitioner should read
Personas get a mixed reception from design teams, with some questioning their value. A typical criticism is that persona descriptions are superficially elegant but they lack substance. Another criticism is that persona descriptions are too 'final', and hard to update with new data. Adopting a lightweight persona description, such as the 2½D sketch, addresses these issues while retaining the strengths of traditional personas. Read the article in full: Are personas past their prime?.
Here's a list of the articles we published in 2016 that you may have missed.
- In January, I wrote about desk research. What is it, why do you need to to do it, and how should you go about doing desk research to make sure it adds value to your project?
- In February, I wrote about the 4 mistakes you'll make as a usability test moderator.
- In March, Philip Hodgson took a look at some subtle yet pervasive experimenter effects, at ways they can bias the outcome of a design experiment, and at what we can do to control their influence.
- In April, I continued to beat the drum for usability testing in 5 reasons why your first user research activity should be a usability test.
- In May, we welcomed Jeff Sauro who wrote about Measuring usability with the System Usability Scale.
- In June, I discussed informed consent and what user researchers should know about it.
- In July 2016, I reviewed the two questions we answer with user research: (a) Who are our users and what are they trying to do? (b) Can people use the thing we've designed to solve their problem?
- In August, Philip Hodgson took us on safari, stopped at a red light, introduced us to a zoologist, and described four classic questions that can help us design better user research, in Going Beyond the Obvious.
- In September, I described the value in being reflective as a user researcher.
- In October, we journeyed to a pub in Staffordshire where Philip Hodgson, Todd Zazelenchuk and I argued about what we mean by user experience leadership.
- And last month, I got 5 UX specialists together to present the case for one UX skill or ability that is the most important to master.
I hope you stay with us for another 12 months of wittering!
Some interesting usability-related articles that got our attention over the last month:
- How does a focus on UX impact a firm's stock price?
- "At the end of the day your customers don't care whether you're agile, lean or practice design thinking."
- Needfinding, ideation and sketching Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
- 10 arguments for integrating behavioural science (psychology) into your organisation.
- 5 Things I Learnt as a Designer at LEGO.
- Just 5% of people have high tech skills. Only 1/3 can do medium-complexity tasks. 1/4 can't even use a computer.
- Here's an example of how you can create a case study for your UX portfolio when you don't have a client.
- What I learned from reviewing 50 portfolios in 3 days. (Web design portfolios, but issues apply to UX portfolios).
- All those great findings by behavioral economists? They were actually discovered by psychologists.
Foundation Certificate in User Experience, Feb 28-Mar 2 2017, London.
Gain the BCS Foundation Certificate in User Experience in this fun and hands-on training course. You'll practice in all the key areas of UX — from interviewing your users through to prototyping and usability testing your designs — while you prepare for and take the exam.
More information about this training course: Foundation Certificate in User Experience.
"We spend a lot of time designing the bridge, but not enough time thinking about the people who are crossing it." Prabhjot Singh.