I've been waiting for this book for the past year. AFter attending Indi Young's excellent workshop in mental models/alignment diagrams last year at the IA Summit, I knew that a practical, hands-on book would enhance that training. I'm not disappointed.
Indeed, this book provides great how-to approaches to finding the mental models that users bring to an experience. First she goes into the what, when, how, and why of mental models. Think of this area as the theory section. Next she takes you from the definition through development of the work, including information & tips on recruiting and interviewing. Her verb-oriented approach helps me understand just how to take work I've done before, techniques I'm versed in, and create the alignment diagrams that evince mental models. Finally, Young details how to apply the results of your research.
Practical, effective, and insightful, "Mental Models: Aligning design strategy with human behavior" answers a hands-on need for information architects, interface designers, business analysts, and anyone who wants to create user-centered, successful experiences. Oh--and she's a great writer too, so you'll find it fun to read.