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Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner's Guide to User Research (Interactive Technologies) [Paperback]

Mike Kuniavsky


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Book Description

22 May 2003 Interactive Technologies
The gap between designers and developers imagine their users are, and who those users really are can be the biggest problem with product development. "Observing the User Experience" will help you bridge that gap to understand what your users want and need from your product, and whether they'll be able to use what you've created. Filled with real-world experience and a wealth of practical information, this book presents a complete toolbox of techniques to help designers and developers see through the eyes of their users. It provides in-depth coverage of 13 user experience research techniques that will provide a basis for developing better products, whether they're Web, software or mobile based. In addition, it's written with an understanding of how software is developed in the real world, taking tight budgets, short schedules, and existing processes into account. This book explains how to create usable products that are still original, creative, and unique. It is a valuable resource for designers, developers, project managers-anyone in a position where their work comes in direct contact with the end user. It provides a real-world perspective on research and provides advice about how user research can be done cheaply, quickly and how results can be presented persuasively. It gives readers the tools and confidence to perform user research on their own designs and tune their software user experience to the unique needs of their product and its users.


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You'll like Mike Kuniavsky's broad selection of practical user research methods--presented clearly and usably. And you'll like his timing too: while recent books focus on the whys of user experience, many are now ready for the hows. Observing the User Experience does just that: It demonstrates how to discover what is in users' heads, and suggests how we might balance those considerations with business objectives.--Lou Rosenfeld, co-author of Information Architecture for the World Wide Web Wow! So many of the user experience research methods we have refined and used over the years are now organized and described in detail in one book. It is an essential reference for any practitioner. --Christian Rohrer, Manager, User Experience Research, Yahoo! Observing the User Experience provides the reader with a wealth of information. We now have a guideline that can be used to gain insight into those mysterious figures...our users. Knowing who our users are, what they need, and how they might use the things we build for them is the most important part of any product development cycle. Mike Kuniavsky's focus in this book is on the user experience as it relates to online interfaces, but ANYONE who builds ANYTHING can gain valuable knowledge from reading this book. --David Hoffer, Senior User Interface Designer, CTB/McGraw-Hill I love Observing the User Experience! This comprehensive guide approaches user experience research like never before, and is well-written, easy-to-read, and quite user friendly. It provides a real-world example of how research is done in just enough detail that it can both inform a CEO of the role of usability research as well as introduce methodology to someone starting out in the field. Bravo! --Kelly Braun, Usability Manager, Ebay Mike Kuniavsky offers many practical procedures to conduct and analyze the results of your own custom usability tests. He shares lots of personal stories from the trenches, many of which are painfully ironic. The hope is that his knowledge will help spare you the pain of making the same mistakes others have made before you. --from the foreword by Lynda Weinman, Author and Founder, lynda.com, Inc. "Kuniavsky presents information logically, often anticipating potential questions by providing extensive explanations. His text is readable and easily understandable. He incorporates interesting quotes from various scholars, keeping readers' interest by breaking up the strict presentation of information. The overall layout and conversational tone make the text an enjoyable read and useful reference." - Kalle Medhurst - Technical Communications "The best general how-to handbook on user research remains Mike Kuniavsky's Observing the User Experience. For the reader who wants to integrate contextual design into a fast-paced development cycle, but isn't sure how, this book will be a godsend. Even when their advice can't be followed to the letter, the book, like the authors method, can be adapted to your needs." - Networker Magazine "Mike Kuniavsky's Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner's Guide to User Research is a welcome addition to the half dozen essential books on my cubicle shelf. This book provides lucid, personable, experienced advice that could only come from a seasoned consultant who has seen the good, bad, and ugly of web and application design. Its purpose is to give a solid foundation to any design team in the crucial beginning stages of a project by answer the questions: How do we go about learning who our users are an what they really need? And how do we do this in a way that helps us make a strong case for our design decisions to the people in charge?" - Andrew Hinton

About the Author

Mike Kuniavsky is a user experience designer, researcher and author. A twenty-year veteran of digital product development, Mike is a consultant and the co-founder of several user experience centered companies: ThingM manufactures products for ubiquitous computing and the Internet of Things; Adaptive Path is a well-known design consultancy. He is also the founder and organizer of Sketching in Hardware, an annual summit on the future of tools for digital product user experience design for leading technology developers, designers and educators. Mike frequently writes and speaks on digital product and service design, and works with product development groups in both large companies and startups. His most recent book is Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design.

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Sometimes it takes a long time for something to be obvious: a shortcut in the neighborhood that you've known all of your life, a connection between two friends, the fact that your parents aren't so bad. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have for user experience professionals! 21 Jun 2006
By Kyle Soucy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I'm always recommending this book to my colleagues. This is not a book that is meant to be read cover to cover. It's more of a desk top reference for all kinds of user research techniques. I've found it to be very comprehensive. Buy it, you won't regret it!
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breath of Fresh Air 22 Oct 2003
By LLH - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Kuniavsky provides a clear guide to evaluating user behavior and use patterns and then gives insight on balancing what users do and what site owners would like them to do. The subtext is a clear passion for creating scenarios that leave users confident and creators satisfied. That leads to successful interactions, be they commerce or information driven. A must read for all professional designers, information architects, strategists, developers, and other professionals, if only to remind teams how the work they're doing will be digested. This book deepened my understanding of how to evaluate the way sites -- or really anything -- is used and interpreted and offers practical methods on attaining and measuring data to tweak and refine my work.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Friendly, But Comprehensive, Overview of User Research 3 April 2004
By josh penrod - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Extremely informative and a pleasure to read, I highly recommend this book.
Somehow Mike Kuniavsky has managed to capture all the useful information of an academic text on User Observation techniques without the typical dry and boring tone.
Every important observation technique is covered and covered well. I can flip the book to a chapter on a technique I have never used, read it, and feel confident that I can employ that technique.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A flexible but full set of tools 19 Dec 2005
By C. Palmieri - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book provided my team with enough confidence and flexibility to design a research project of the right scale and formality for our needs, but gave us enough structure to stay on track.

Kuniavsky's detailed examples and caveats helped us engage with users respectfully and effectively, leaving both parties feeling they had done something to move the site a step forward.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mike's book won't be gathering dust on your shelf.... 15 July 2006
By Julie A. Booth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book rocks! Of all the reference resources I have in my cube, this is the one I lend out to people who ask, "jb, what is user research and how do you do it?" Mike's book has the techniques down - soup to nuts -- useful for the novice and seasoned practitioner.
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