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on 22 October 2010
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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on 14 March 2011
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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on 3 December 2010
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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on 13 June 2011
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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on 17 October 2010
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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on 20 March 2011
I can fully recommend this book for the UX interested people out there. I am a designer myself and starts in a new job soon where UX definately will play a role. At the same time I am probably alone with UX in the organisatiation and thats where the book really prepares and helps the UX proces. Themes like culture, strategy and qualitative reaesrch are good tools from the book.


Designer from Denmark.
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on 6 November 2012
I wish I could go back to this book's table of contents to explain to you why the title for this book isn't really suitable (about iphones/mobile experience), but I can't because I sold it! That's how bad it is. Everything about this book rubbed me the wrong way. If you work in web design or user experience/interaction design, you probably know all of the information presented in this book already and will find it redundant. If you are a business person who wants to understand how a digital project might run, and what typical mobile UIs look like, it might be useful. In summary, it was a very basic overview of information I already knew, working in UX, and not at all useful for honing my mobile skills.
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on 31 October 2014
This feels like information distilled into a rather short book. What really makes me like it is that it refects the situation I am often in. UX is not understood and still I try to make a difference. This book tells me how others in the same situation think and act. I really like he reasoning around what to do and what to deliver. I feels like having a lecture from people that get their hands dirty and want to share their experience with us in order to help us. The book does not dive into details on each and every technique but I find it a great part of my UX library. This is a book for the practitioner that wants to have input on the HOW part of working.
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on 7 November 2010
This book provides a great starting point for would-be UX designers.

I recommend it to my students as a great overview of the area. What it lacks in depth it makes up for in breadth. The conversational style of writing makes for an easy and occasionally fun read.

Whilst experienced UX designers aren't the primary market, I'd still recommend it for them as it's littered with great analogies, stories, examples, and explanations which will only improve any designers arsenal.
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on 20 August 2014
James Box has written an excellent introduction on getting your company thinking the right way in order to be successful along with his colleague Cennydd Bowles.

It's a real shame that it is listed as a single author because it is very clear in reading that there are two voices here both with unique insight and angles on tackling problems and with ideas on how to run workshops and exercises without people that may be reluctant to be involved noticing.
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