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User experience books for beginners

by Danielle Lyon on 25 August 2009

Being the Office Manager at Webcredible, I’ve been surrounded with user experience professionals for over a year and a half now. Fed up with not being able to converse with any of my colleagues on the subject I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands!!

The Design of Everyday Things book coverI recently read ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ by Donald Norman and ‘Don’t Make Me Think!’ by Steve Krug, both of these books have helped me to gain some basic understanding of user experience.

The first book I read was ‘The Design of Everyday Things’, and this really opened up my eyes to the importance of ease of use in design. By placing an emphasis on the things you use every day, it helped me relate to the ideas and concepts of user experience. The most interesting and perhaps crucial element I took away from reading the book was the idea of conceptual models, so simply matching the design model to that of the user’s model to create an easy to use design. The other significant thing the book highlights is that the designer is not the end user and should therefore design products and/or services with the user in mind.

The second book I read ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ is specific to web usability and really breaks it down for amateurs like me. The book in Steve Krug’s own words is a ‘common sense approach to web usability’ and focuses on helping you to understand your own web experiences. The book helped me to fully appreciate the role of our user experience consultants and whilst Krug does put an emphasis on common sense, like with many things it’s only obvious once someone has pointed it out to you.

‘The Design of Everyday Things’ and ‘Don’t Make Me Think’, although very different books have definitely given me a good understanding of user experience and I can now converse on a basic level with my colleagues. I am really lucky to have lots of passionate people around me who I can learn from and who knows I may even become a user experience guru in years to come!

Watch this space : )

Photo credit: Rocketraccoon via Flickr / Creative commons

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