Introduction to UX Reading List

A friend asked me to give an introductory presentation on User Experience (UX) to her Web Design class so I created a reading list:

Key Books

  • Steve Krug: Don’t Make Me Think – great starting point
  • Steve Krug: Rocket Surgery Made Easy – aka user testing made easy 
  • Donald Norman: The Design of Everyday Things – a design classic
  • Alan Cooper: The Inmates are Running the Asylum – a book about the “bad old days” of tech design
  • Russ Unger & Carolyn Chandler: A Project Guide to UX Design 

More In-Depth Reading

User Research

  • Erika Hall: Just Enough Research
  • Brad Nunnally: UX Research: Practical Techniques for Designing Better Products

Information Architecture

  • Abby Covert: How to Make Sense of Any Mess
  • Louis Rosenfeld, Peter Orville & Jorge Arango: Information Architecture

Interaction Design

  • Alan Cooper: About Face

User Testing

  • Jeffrey Rubin & Dana Chisnell: Handbook of Usability Testing


Professional Groups


Back to School this Fall – UX Education

This year, September and October were for learning. I had some free time and money in my Education budget, so these are the workshops and conferences I attended:

  • In September I started with the Lean UX Workshop given by Jeff Gothelf , author of the book Lean UX.
  • A couple of weeks later in October, I attended a UX Masterclass conference on UX and Market Research.
  • Near the end of October I attended Measuring the User Experience: A Workshop on Usability Metrics, which was sponsored by the NYC UXPA and given by Bill Albert.

Though the methods varied, all the speakers stressed the importance of research and testing in creating a viable, usable product. However, first you need to decide what you are creating, who you are creating it for, what it is supposed to accomplish and how you will measure the success of the outcome.

Now that it’s been a while since I attended the above sessions, two things stand out to me from my experience as mid-level working towards senior UX designer:

  • Information about project goals is often not clearly communicated to the more junior members of the team, especially when the team is spread out over different departments.
  • Good research will update information about user needs, the market, etc.. and goals will have to change to accommodate that; not an easy task within a large corporation.

I haven’t had the chance yet to work on a Lean/Agile type project, but I would really like to as the approach appears to prevent those issues.

Using Style Tiles

I’m currently working on what will be a responsive WordPress website for a theater incubator and have noticed for a while that Photoshop comps are really limited when it comes to designing responsive websites. How many screen sizes should you design for? What about accommodating a CMS?

Instead of comping every screen size, I’m going to create Style Tiles which were introduced on A List Apart by Samantha Warrren. If you have never heard of Styles Tiles before, go now and read the A List Apart article. I’m serious – read it!

The concept is still making its way around the Internet and now other people are sharing their own methods and templates. Samantha offers a Photoshop template, Adrian Gould collected templates in Illustrator, Fireworks, InDesign and Keynote as well. Namanyay Goel created Webstiles for a HTML/CSS version. I also found a WordPress theme called WP Style Tiles created by Steve Fisher and Jesse Friedman.

I’m going to try out both the WordPress theme and the Photoshop template to see which one is more helpful to my workflow and presentation.