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The UX Book Hardcover – 28 Mar 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 840 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann (28 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0123852412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0123852410
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description


"The book is brimming with advanced knowledge for perfecting written communication in our mobile digital age. If you write anything at all (you send emails, don't you?), you need to grab a copy of Letting Go of the Words and keep it close at hand.This book has joined my writer's bookshelf as a valued aid I refer to every day.", January 21, 2014

About the Author

Rex Hartson is a pioneer researcher, teacher, and practitioner-consultant in HCI and UX. He is the founding faculty member of HCI (in 1979) in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. With Deborah Hix, he was co-author of one of the first books to emphasize the usability engineering process, Developing user interfaces: Ensuring usability through product & process. Hartson has been principle investigator or co-PI at Virginia Tech on a large number of research grants and has published many journal articles, conference papers, and book chapters. He has presented many tutorials, invited lectures, workshops, seminars, and international talks. He was editor or co-editor for Advances in Human-Computer Interaction, Volumes 1-4, Ablex Publishing Co., Norwood, NJ. His HCI practice is grounded in over 30 years of consulting and user experience engineering training for dozens of clients in business, industry, government, and the military. Pardha S. Pyla is a Senior User Experience Specialist and Interaction Design Team Lead at Bloomberg LP. Before that he was a researcher and a UX consultant. As an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech he worked on user experience methodologies and taught graduate and undergraduate courses in HCI and Software Engineering. He is a pioneer researcher in the area of bridging the gaps between software engineering and UX engineering lifecycle processes.

Inside This Book

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Buy this book. It is interesting and very thorough. I was able to apply concepts and techniques from the book straight away on a complex UX project I was working on that involved both research and design. It will guide you through all the stages from Contextual Research to organizing the collected data, creation of WAAD (Work Activity Affinity Diagram), extracting requirements, creating Social and Work Models that will inform your design and much more.

One of the reviewers said that this a book for big organizations who have time and money, I disagree I think it is great for sole practitioners, you can scale the techniques up or down depending on your resources and time.
Another reviewer mentioned paper quality, I didn't find it very bad - its a glossy magazine paper that is indeed thin but it has full colour prints and is usable especially thanks to a well made sturdy hardcover.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alice Cybis Pereira on 19 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
User experience design is deitaled in this book, making it more easy to be achieved. It is a quite thick book but worth every page.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Philip Swinburn on 14 April 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My initial experience is negative due to the quality of the paper, which has all the transparent qualities of tracing paper. The pages are so translucent that the content from subsequent pages bleeds through onto the current one. This is disappointing, given both the subject matter and price tag. I'm hoping that the content more than makes up for this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Human-computer interaction in practice, not theory 7 Mar. 2012
By Junius Gunaratne - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Few books in the field of human-computer interaction offer such a comprehensive, logical overview of contemporary methods and processes like this one. The authors do an excellent job of distilling HCI techniques into a form that is digestible for newcomers to the field; showing where, when, why, and how requirements gathering, design, prototyping and evaluation should be done.

Whether you're aware of it or not, you are following some sort of process when you design and build a product. This book outlines many of those processes and cycles in clear detail, offering advice as to how you can use such processes to your advantage, and how to improve your current processes. Moreover, the authors describe how to practice HCI in the field with applied techniques ranging from understanding your users' needs to creating paper prototypes and wireframes.

The UX Book also talks about how user experience fits into organizations and how to apply UX design in different organizational contexts. For example, an organization that has a strong software engineering culture will need to approach UX differently from one that has business analysts setting product direction.

Consider this book HCI 101 for students interested in the field or for practitioners who want some formalized background to understand how what they do fits into the larger scope of what UX tries to accomplish. This book does not offer advice on how to become a Photoshop master nor does it offer detail about JavaScript development for high-fidelity prototyping. And unfortunately, because UX is such a broad term, some may mistake this book as a guide for learning about interaction design in detail. Those caveats in mind, this book is second to none if you're interested in learning how to practice HCI methods and how many seemingly abstract academic HCI techniques can work in the real world.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Grab this book! 10 Sept. 2012
By Ravi krishnamoorthy - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In a world where user experience is often regarded as an after-thought or a "nice to have," this book really makes the case for a comprehensive and integrated approach to building interactive systems. If you want to convince someone on your team about the importance of user experience, you will find many talking points in this book. If you yourself want to learn about user experience, and why it is absolutely essential, buy this book.

Much of user experience in practice is at the overlap of psychology, design, and software engineering. A lot of UX books are heavy on the psychology side, and speak to an academic audience. Talking about abstract theories from psychology may not translate well among the software development team. This book helps bridge that gap by talking about UX in a common sense way. The book presents Wheel, a process to "ensure a quality user experience" in a systematic software-engineering-like that developers can relate to and apply.

Try this: When you run into a UX challenge at work, don't pull the book off the shelf... but really think of how YOU would approach that problem. THEN go back and read the book. You will see how much it rings true. You would digest the material and remember it better, that way. If you just read it cover to cover without a real problem to solve in your mind, you might not feel the true impact of the book. You might think "yeah - what's the big deal about a bunch of post-it notes on a wall or sketching dozens of design ideas when only one will be used?" But if you tried approaching the problem yourself first, you'd appreciate the value of the methods suggested in the book.

Actionable, practical, down-to-earth advice for students and practitioners, with some humor too! GRAB THIS BOOK!
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Not recommend for the UX designer army of one. 2 May 2013
By PeteTheVolcano - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I'm a UX designer who is typically employed as the sole UX designer or consultant in the organization. This book was just way too deep in the weeds for my purposes. The writing is very academic and having learned my trade through practice and not formal education I found myself having to look things up every now and again. That being said I learned some new stuff, but I'm not sure the pain to benefit was justified. I didn't want to abandon the book entirely (all 900 pages of it) so I ended up just reading the intros and diving deeper into each section if I found it relevant. Ultimately for the 'typical' ux designer in medium to small organizations I would say look elsewhere unless you're seriously bored. For students or practitioners in a large formally structured production environment this would be a win.

Oh, and if you'd like to get a solid high level read of the book I highly recommend the following link. It has excerpts from each major section heading:
29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Where is Information Architecture? 22 Mar. 2013
By Samantha Bailey - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I picked this up with a lot of excitement; I teach and mentor in the field and have long been looking for something that could become the seminal textbook as opposed to the assortment of books I currently need to assign or recommend to really cover the bases. At first glance this book looks wonderful--it is obviously written by authors with deep expertise, I love that it is geared to active learning with the inclusion of exercises, it is thoughtfully organized. As I scanned through the table of contents an alarm bell went off in my mind, however--how could a book purporting to be a comprehensive guide to designing effective user experiences (which primarily still means designing effective user interfaces) fail to include information architecture? This strikes me as a really egregious oversight.

Some books on the topic don't use the term "information architecture" but they still delve deeply into organization, navigation, content strategy, and other critical elements that information architecture encompasses. I'm always disappointed when the term "information architecture" isn't used, as I consider it the best and most widely understood term for capturing this unique set of components--but a rose by any other name still smells as sweet, so I can cope without the term as long as the concepts are there. I don't think that is really the case with this text, however. There is a (thin) chapter on mental models that imperfectly and partially covers this territory--and that is about it.

In reality, this book is an extensive usability evaluation techniques book (and from that aspect it appears to be a very good one) that also includes information on user research techniques and a chapter on prototyping. This is not a comprehensive user experience design text and I would not recommend it as such given that such critical content is absent. I would go as far as to say that students using this book and no other would come away dangerously misguided about what is required to create truly good user interfaces and user experiences.

Another reader that I discussed this with acknowledged that it is troubling that IA is missing in both name and form but encouraged me to appreciate that the book is pretty good at everything else it covers and great at many. I don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but that seems a bit like saying that we should appreciate an anatomy text for its brilliant coverage of the nervous system, muscles, and organs, and overlook the fact that the skeleton is missing. And that's why I feel that this book can't warrant even a 3 star review.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding & Practical for Business and UX Practioners 5 Jun. 2012
By Jeff Janis - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Since working in a UX Research and Usability group in a large company since 1997, I've often wondered who will write the ultimate practical guide to ensuring a great user experience. The UX Book is it: sound UX guidelines and principles that are not pure academia even though it is developed as a solid university course. Rex Hartson and Pardha Pyla wrote this book based on their years of teaching the principles and putting them into practice with plenty of feedback from students and colleagues.

I've read many other Human Factors, design, and User Experience books over the years that cover topics in detail. However, Rex and Pardha pulled everything together under one roof and explained how UX can and should work in the real world. They covered the spectrum from UX guidelines, to working within the Agile process usability testing, prototyping, contextual inquiry, design ideation, mental models, etc.

The UX Book covers every topic with examples, definitions, guest commentaries, exercises, and useful/usable explanations. I like the visuals provided - from sketches and pictures to tables that easily explain the concepts to anyone. I often use their info in this book to explain to business and Information Technology people what a concept means, why it is important to our business success, and how it can be implemented. This book bridges that gap between UX design and software engineering.

I find myself agreeing with Rex and Pardha as I consult with our project teams on their UX design projects and especially after years of facilitating usability testing with thousands of users. I've taught classes in our company since 2010 and found myself saying aloud while reading through the chapters, "That's what I've said in class and to our teams!" At the same time, I've discovered fresh ways of explaining concepts I've known for years and The UX Book has also filled in gaps in my knowledge.

I hope that anyone who works in creating the User Experience such as interaction designers, human factors researchers, business requirements analysts, project managers, and developers reads this book which should become the standard teaching tool in companies and universities. Anyone who professes to know what UX is about will find new and exciting ideas that they may have overlooked.

Congrats, Rex and Pardha! Well done and thanks for giving us web site for additional material.
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