Book Writeup

“Although curiosity, passion, empathy are traits that user experience designers share, there is also a desire to achieve balance. We seek out a balance, most notably between logic & emotion.”

What’s the point?

This book is aimed at providing a solid foundation for planning and managing UX design projects. Unger and Chandler showcase a variety of UX design methods and processes as actionable items and practical takeaways.

How was it?

This book provides an easily digestible overview for anyone new to the UX field or looking to refine their UX process. Most beneficial for new practitioners may be the chapters related to the overarching aspects of the redesign process, such as writing proposals and creating personas. While these activities may or may not be done by the UX designer, it’s critical to begin a project with the solid understanding of where and how the design parameters were obtained.

My original expectation was that the book would cover more of what I consider to be the the core IA or UX design tasks, that actually result in client deliverables – site maps, wireframes, and prototypes. Chapters on deliverables and the various ways they are executed are included, but they serve as a brief glance into them and not necessarily a thorough walk through.

Where the book is strongest is providing external references to drive home the thoughts as you read them, rather than when you are finished. They use a water exploration metaphor to help you quickly understand the amount of time needed to invest in each reference. “Surfing”, “Snorkeling”, and “Deep Diving” are the categories used. I found this a very nice feature, as opposed to an Appendix or For Further Reading section nested in the back.

The book contains many references to books, online resources, and user experience groups and authors. The book is by no means an encyclopedia of UX techniques, guide to being a project manager, or methodology.

Who should read it?

If you are a young designer entering or contemplating entering the UX field this should be a cornerstone of your library. If you are an organization that really needs to start promoting a culture of UX at your organization this book is also for you.

It is not a compelling book for the seasoned designer.