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The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 16 Dec 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 2 edition (16 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321683684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321683687
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 1.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
This book is very good. With a very clear design (which helps when you read a book about user experience), you get a continuous and progressive flow of the different layers you should think about when designing applications. Mainly focused on the final user experience, it is a resource full of practical examples based on experience.
The concepts, though, are based on the presumption that you are the designer of a big application and that you have the mighty power to get what you want. Even though it's a pretty good tick-list of things you need to think about when designing an application, it is often only completely applicable if working with more than 5 people in the development team.
Excellent for technical/design managers that need to ensure an application will be designed wisely.
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If you are just starting in UX this is the right book, as it is clear explained and made by one of the fore-fathers of the UX domain. But, as a lot of articles and books have taken ideas from it, and if you have a certain experience in UX .. you might not find that interesting, because probably you already know the things which are described here.
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The aims of the book are:
- to explain the workflow that best responds to the needs and specificities of a web product and the tasks and roles involved in the whole process
- to establish a common ground of understanding and collaboration for every team member.

If you are new to this subject, you will learn to break a project into its several stages and analyse each problem on its turn. Decisions will be made with clear arguments and conflicts within the team will be reduced to a minimum.You will feel that the project will grow with ease, consistent and grounded on objectives.

From client and user needs and objectives, and from content and functionality requirements, to information architecture, interaction design, navigation and interface design, every stage of the process is clearly explained with techniques, context and diagrams.

This is a book for every member of a team working on a web project: account, project manager, designer, writer, developer and even for the client. This is not a comprehensive book on User Experience for an interaction designer or strategist, but a light and quick introduction to the overall process.

It is specially useful to a small team where the same person will have to understand the client and users needs and create the content and architecture, while another will have to both design the interaction, define the style and do the programming.

Note: this review is based on the 2002 edition, which targeted traditional desktop websites, without almost any reference to mobile applications.
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Format: 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.
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Since the day I got this book, my outlook on the process of designing for the web has changed entirely.

Regardless of the examples, the guidelines and advice in this book can be applied to any design for the web. The book is very manageable, starting off explaining Jesse James Garrett's 'Elements of User Experience' diagram in summary, so that you can grasp the concept, and then going into much more detail of how to plan the elements of a project in an effective way.

It isn't written in an academic tone, which makes this an interesting and easily-digestible read in a few hours and, if you're anything like me, you'll end up dipping into it for advice whenever you're broaching user testing or any similar exercise.

I am only currently a student, but I have the 'Elements of User Experience' diagram on my wall and I use it to help plan all of my projects. This book opens your eyes to so many aspects of user experience that it would be difficult coming away from reading it without learning something new.
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