7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An excellent primer, but needs background to put into practice,
This review is from: Elements of User Experience: User-centered Design for the Web (Voices (New Riders)) (Paperback)
Like the other reviewers I thought this was worthwhile read. It's worth pointing out it's deliberately not a scholarly text, (similar in tone to Krug's Don't Make Me Think) so it's an easy read on a train journey or similar. I liked the way it's very business focused - I can see that this is couched in genuine experience of working within small to medium design projects. As an example, it is probably the only book I have read on usability which both acknowledges the existence of, and the risks associated with, UAT - an exercise which has probably wasted more of my time than any other. I also like the requirements focus, and the acknowledgement of "site objectives", other than just user requirements, having a place in design. In theory it should extend out to large projects, but I think that scenario presents a whole new set of problems, only some of which are touched on.
Where I think it falls down is that, while I like the bones, there's not much flesh. I think you actually need to be trained in the arts and magics of UCD beforehand to know what technique you would apply or what design principle is relevant at any given point (and, on behalf of the graphic designers and information scientists out there, I think it is equally light on what their work involves). Yes, it talks about lab tests and contextual enquiry but it needs some expertise to know exactly which method to apply, or which design choices to make. So, if you were a newcomer without an experienced UX professional on hand, you will need to do a bit of follow up reading. And also there is not a single mention on accessibility which, for a book on web user experience, is a shocking omission.
For me, as a UX professional working in an organisation, I can see its real value as part of practical training - for instance, giving non- or junior UX people this book to read (particularly other stakeholders in the design process such as BAs) and saying to them "Have a read, and then we can discuss which methods, techniques, design principles are the best ones for your product"