Undercover User Experience Design (Voices That Matter) Paperback – 17 Sep 2010
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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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great framework and overview for UX in the real world. Highly recommend it. Multiple copiesPublished 15 months ago by R. Ingall
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. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Ryber Torbjörn
explains user experience perfectly, im a student and it helped me alot with my uni workPublished 23 months ago by Emma
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. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mr. A. Parker
It's good to read, I prefer the Agile Experience Design and the UX Project and Smashing Mag books personally, good to have for reference.Published on 21 Jun. 2013 by SimplyCreative
making people write long reviews on ggod they receive is in my opinion expecting a lot. surely just a simple word comment is enough??Published on 1 Feb. 2013 by Ms. Julie A. Renyard
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... Read morePublished on 6 Nov. 2012 by lochnessie233
It's a good book, definitely a start in to designing for iPhone User Experience. A little bit out of date and I think there are better examples they could have used but worth... Read morePublished on 5 April 2012 by SimplyCreative
Undercover UX Design has fundamentally changed the way I design websites; after reading I'm sure it will have the same effect on you. Read morePublished on 13 Jun. 2011 by M. Heys