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Undercover User Experience Design (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 17 Sep 2010

13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (17 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321719905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321719904
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.1 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


A wonderful, practical, yet subversive book. Cennydd and James teach you the subtle act of fighting for-and then designing for-users in a hostile world. --Joshua Porter, author of Designing for the Social Web

Cennydd and James's clever and crafty book will teach you how to make your own rules, play well with others, and create a culture of UX from the ground up. --Whitney Hess, user experience design consultant

Making design matter in your organization is not about titles and talk. It's about what you get done every day. Undercover User Experience Design will show you the way. --Luke Wroblewski, author of Web Form Design and Site-seeing

At Clearleft we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional design even with tight deadlines and budgets. This indispensable guide to guerrilla UX explains how we do it.
--Andy Budd, co-founder and managing director of Clearleft

From the Back Cover

Once you catch the user experience bug, the world changes. Doors open the wrong way, websites don't work, and companies don't seem to care. And while anyone can learn the UX remedies: usability testing, personas, prototyping and so on unless your organization 'gets it', putting them into practice is tricky. Undercover User Experience is a pragmatic guide from the front lines, giving frank advice on making UX work in real companies with real problems. Readers will learn how to fit research, ideation, prototyping and testing into their daily workflow, and how to design good user experiences under the all-too-common constraints of time, budget and culture.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 22 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
I was initially a little sceptical about how much I'd get out of this book because I'm a front end developer in a small design agency where everyone understands the value of good UX.

However, James and Cennydd also cater for people who don't consider it a significant part of what they do. At the end of the day, UX is relevant to everyone, including developers like me who will write microcopy or make design decisions if visuals haven't been provided.

The chapter on generating ideas has been useful for communicating concepts in meetings with clients, as has the section on deliverables including wireframes, sitemaps and prototypes.

My favourite bit was a section on the "Validation Stack" which explains how to defend decisions using user evidence, then user research, and as a last resort design theory. "If your recommendation isn't supported by user evidence, research, or theoretical principles, throw it away. You've lost this one."
There are often times when I have to justify my decisions to clients, and I now run through the validation stack in my head whenever I have to do this.

The writing style is approachable and friendly, and it's also the perfect size and weight to read on a tedious commute.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patrick_Sansom on 14 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
The field of UXD is still relatively new and there are some good books that look at certain aspects of the discipline. However, most books that cover the whole process generally have an academic focus. So this publication is very welcome as it provides an accessible, up-to-date and succinct overview of UXD techniques and principles from a professional perspective.

The book's title suggests a particular application and this provides a narrative structure which encouraged me to read it from beginning to end. However, the useful and insightful information it contains is likely to be applicable to most situations. I have already found myself reaching for it as a reference and it will be a useful addition to any UX designer's library.

It pairs nicely with the excellent A Project Guide to UX Design: For User Experience Designers in the Field or in the Making (Voices That Matter) by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler and together both books should be required reading for any UX design course. Although it's not just for entry-level UXers, even well-seasoned practitioners will find valuable ideas and suggestions and would be well advised to check it out to keep abreast of current best practice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Varney on 3 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At last: an accessible, easy to digest UX design book, which addresses the realities that practitioners may face day in, day out.

There are some excellent ideas to use to get buy-in from others. By highlighting a "smorgasbord" of techniques, a plan can be created which will fit the inevitable time and budgetary constraints. It proves that an effective UX design process doesn't have to be lengthy nor expensive.

The great thing about this publication is that the authors clearly and succinctly explain when to use these techniques, how to get the most out of them, and how they'll move the project along. In particular, some of the design exercises will work wonders in demonstrating the value of collaboration to a project team.

There may be a lack of depth, but this allows this book to be consumed in a few hours. There are plenty of other sources available, which can provide more detail if the reader requires it. My advice is to just give the ideas a try; I think I'll learn more from trying to practically apply them!

PS: I will remove Post-It notes in the correct way from now on.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Heys on 13 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Undercover UX Design has fundamentally changed the way I design websites; after reading I'm sure it will have the same effect on you. Its small size belies the huge wealth of knowledge and advice Cennydd and James impart.

More than that however, it gets you up and running very quickly. In the same week as buying it I was conducting usability studies, then using the results to sketch out new sitemaps and user flows for specific tasks, planning card sorting activities, all the while collaborating with fellow designers and developers to produce something that is first and foremost for the user.

The book has never been out of arm's reach since its purchase and I can't see it being placed on my bookshelf any time soon.

Each chapter points to more in depth resources if you want to further your reading on a given aspect. But if you need a guide that cuts to the chase, without getting too bogged down in theory, and enables you to start practising UX today--this book is that guide.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Drys on 17 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
I wish I'd had this book 13 years ago when I was a technical writer in a software company moving into what I later found out was called information architecture and which we would now know as user experience.

It is a fantastic resource for anyone new to the field. It gives an excellent introduction to what is involved and what you can do to improve user experience while retaining your day job.

One highpoint for me is the chapter on generating ideas, which demonstrates many of the well-known methods (excellently illustrated) as well as some more esoteric activities. Even seasoned UXers will find something new here.

There's also a very good chapter on deliverables with one of my favourite lines in the book: "Deliverables are a step on the journey, not the end of the line". Perhaps it would be good if the authors warned here that in agencies (I refuse to perpetuate the authors' use of the appalling terms "outties' and innies"!) deliverables are often seen as the final and only outcome.

I also thought the section on responding to criticisms in review sessions well thought out. It ought to give confidence to anyone facing this daunting prospect, and probably has some handy tips for more experienced practitioners.

A few criticisms: the book only talks about web sites: user experience experts work in all sorts of product environments (like software) and it would be good if the book made the point that many of these skills and methods are transferable. I found some of the chapter on working with other disciplines a little patronising, particularly of visual designers, who can be highly experienced interactionists with whom we can and should work closely. I also thought the section on Agile was a little optimistic, skating over some of the difficulties.

But overall this is a great new book and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to work in user experience design.
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