The more I know, the more I can give back to the people who will interact with my work. But it's more than just designer responsibility, it's one of my life's greatest passions.
Trello Notes - Written Notes
Fav - Multiple Reads
Recommended to me by my UX Deloitte buddy Jason!Buy It
This was my first book using my good friend Ryan's Trello annotation method. Check out my notes here. Evil by Design is an incredibly enjoyable read. Chris Nodder cheekily splits up the book’s chapters by the seven deadly sins which makes approaching the content easy. The greatest value Nodder provides through Evil by Design is the principle of purposeful design. By listing and explaining “evil” patterns, it becomes easier to identify and apply them appropriately to nudge and persuade users on an emotional level. There is a whopping total of 57 patterns described in the book which are invaluable tools in any experience designer’s toolkit. I highly recommend having this on the desk.Buy It
Recommended to me by my Deloitte UX mentor Brendan! This textbook is the penultimate on-the-desk resource to have. From questions to use in user interviews to day-by-day team schedules, Kim provides a full spectrum of thorough and thought-out anchors to reference as an ultimate experience design guide. I've already found this book useful in situations where I've needed specific direction in areas I lack experience in. While this book is a great reference book, I'd warn against seeing it's methodology as black and white; Kim herself (and literally everyone else in this field) are adamant that you should always consider the context first.Buy It
Recommended to me by my Deloitte reading buddy Ryan. I was having trouble at first keeping focus on the pages, and had to take short breaks every section (~5pages) or so. This is exactly how I believe Kahneman wanted this book to be read. By giving examples that required the use of our "system 2" through engaging personal examples, many of his lessons stuck on more. My favorite chapter was easily the one on intuition vs. formulas. I had a fun conversation with my UX friend Zoey on this chapter as we questioned how good we really were as UX designers- particularly in the domain of heuristic evaluations.Buy It
Recommended to me by my Deloitte reading buddy Ryan. This book vibed well with my UX side; the concept of libertarian paternalism is not a foreign concept by any means to anyone who has been within the usability field. Thaler does an excellent job of citing the consequences choice architecture has in relevant contextual environments along with justifiable solutions. This book has a heavy cognitive load, so if you're short on time I would recommend skipping the meat of the content; the introduction and conclusion of the book do a great job of summarizing Thaler's thoughts and arguments.Buy It
Recommended to me by my UX peer Zoey! What a fantastic book! The design, both visual and architectural, is spot on making what would be a boring encyclopedia into an effortless delight. I was already familiar with many of the concepts and theories in this book, but there were a plethora of engaging examples to make the review enjoyable. Do check out the piece on project pigeon, it's unforgettable.Buy It
This was delightful as it was light. Eyal explores and documents examples of his "hook" life cycle theory which has given me an extra layer to eyeball and contemplate products and apps I use in my daily life. One of the more interesting topics that caught my attention was "labor makes love" and the many ways users can invest their lives into products from building furniture to grooming a social media page. I might turn instagram off for a bit because I feel like a druggy after reading this.Buy It
Recommended to me by my Deloitte reading buddy Ryan! The Lean Startup is a must-read for anyone who takes up the mantle of "PM" at any point in their career. Eric does a great job of mixing real world examples, case studies, and management theory to make a compelling argument towards the acceptance of "validated learning" as a means of judging start-up success.
Validated learning, in many ways, intersects with some core fundamentals behind UX research e.g. experimentation and iteration. The key difference to me lies in the itensity of each iteration. Whereas validated learning encourages experimenting with customers, moving quickly, and reducing waste- the quintessential UX research process is much more thorough. From my experience working on designs for complicated work domains, single-batching or chunking out an experience in pieces risks increased friction in that experience's transitional phases. For example, if we were to focus to rapidly design, development, and release a transportation booking profile page before the payment page or vice versa, there will inevitably be a break in the experience for profile/payment transitions such as saved credit cards, addresses, etc. In other words, from a traditional UX perspective an experience cannot be evaluated as an experience unless the full system is designed and thought through as a whole rather than in parts.
To be fair, two things can be said. First, this book is clearly written for startups- they don't have a large customer base already established so experimentation is safer, speed is a key factor for survival, and work domains won't be as complex. Second, in the case this were to be applied to a complex domain, Eric is smart to document the use of the andon cord- popularized by Toyota, this acts as a speed-bump mechanism to ensure quality is not compromised. However, as nice as it would be to have an andon cord, most work environments will storm through problems to meet deadlines which will inevitably causes errors.
To me, there are two ways to solve this. First, we need better managers who understand the importance of investing into quality of experience and are willing to spend more time conducting UX-based research which matches Eric's enthusiasm for experimentation with customers and validated learning. Second, as designers we also need to know when to draw the line. Often the best design solution is the most satisfactory one, not the most perfect.
I bought this book since it was the spiritual successor of Set Phasers on Stun. In hindsight, the first book was more than enough and a second really wasn't necessary. The scenarios and explanations are more long-winded and did not pique my curiosity as much, but I think it's more of a result of having too much of the same. I'll try and pick this one up maybe again two or three years down the line.Buy It
Recommended to me by my UX work buddy Felicia! This comic is awesome. By awesome, I mean it explores new areas of thought I've never even imagined before. This took me only two days, mostly because it was a crazy enjoyable read. I'd recommend this to anyone who's ever been interested in art, writing, and the fabulous medium that blends them together- comics.Buy It
Recommended to me by the lovely and talented Molly! I picked up this book with hopes it would give me better insight into the ethnographic process- particularly with lower income based communities as I become more involved with state work at Deloitte Digital.
I did not, however, expect to become attached to the emotional dialogue shared between the many individuals in Eastwood. Laurence, the author, does a masterful job in objectively analyzing these interactions without peeling off the humanity. The biggest take away anyone can get from this book is within Laurence’s penultimate conclusion of the “Frame.” Though the world may see Eastwood through the narrow lens of a newscaster’s camera, there is still so much more to be understood and interpreted. From the symbol of the cane, to Jordan sneakers and faux poetry there is a resilience and hope that cannot be captured unless seen within its proper context.
Recommended to me by my close friend Ayoung! No, it's not really a UX design "book" in the scholarly sense- but it shares concepts of thought that translate well into our world. Most notably, Marie Kondo gives an even more positive spin to the oft quoted "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (we all need to collectively stop quoting this, it literally appears in every UX book ever).
In her words, it's important to systematically identify and keep items that "spark joy" while discarding those that don't. From a UX perspective it's a compelling challenge to commit to reaching the peak of our work- minimalistic experiences that bring joy through phenomenological interaction (Dr. Hartson gives a good explanation of phenomenological aspects of interaction in "The UX Book" if you want to learn more about it).
Recommended to me by my UX peer Zoey! From the very first chapter I was sold; there's a dark, twisted curiosity that makes this book hard to put down. Casey never offers clear design answers on how these accidents could have been avoided, which kept me constantly brainstorming lists of possible solutions. I would recommend this book as a tongue in cheek follow up to the Design of Everyday Things.Buy It
Alan Cooper has sold me on his goal-directed approach as a substitute to contextual inquiry. Using About Face as a reference, I was able to create personas that guided decision making on my project the Perfect Brew! That being said, the first part "Goal Directed Design" stood out the most to me in terms of utility. While Cooper's extended documentation on best practices for interaction design is helpful as a reference point, many of its contents will be a repeat of information for most UX practitioners.Buy It
A light and easy read. Abby Covert's application of her own book's theory is perhaps where this publication shines most. Although I was familiar with most of the concepts documented, I learned volumes simply by taking notice of Abby's meticulous efforts to create a paragon IA example page by page. Also a banger for easy-to-pull quotes!Buy It
My holy grail of UX. This is probably the perfect starting book for any beginner and worth two reads if you have the time. Great as a UX reference point for any situation. The content is a little dense, so I recommend splitting this up into parts.Buy It
I think everyone in the UX field has read this book. If you haven't, you probably should. Norman is a pioneer in usability design, and this is a great starting point for anyone interested.Buy It
The book that started it all. This was given to me by my first UX mentor during my tenure as a UX Intern for Virginia Tech NIS. Great introduction to design thinking and an easy read.Buy It