UX design is something I’ve been really interested in for a while now and with each project I do, I try to follow an effective UX design process in order to come up with the best design possible for the users I’m making the website for.
Although I had a solid grasp of many of the techniques and tools used in the UX design process I really wanted to learn how to improve my own process and see how other people in the industry approached UX design so when I started looking for books on the subject, ‘A Project Guide to UX Design’ by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler stood out because of the emphasis on how UX fits in to real world projects.
The book is loaded with incredibly useful information and doesn’t just cover UX techniques you might expect such as personas, user interviews, card sorting etc. It covers the various roles of everyone involved (or should be involved) in the project, how to work together effectively, how to conduct meetings during the investigation stage and even a chapter on creating proposals. For me, that chapter along was worth buying the book because writing a good proposal is very important and it was very useful to see the recommendations in the book. I did make a few changes to my existing proposal template based on what I learnt.
You’ll find out how to carry out user research properly in the book so weather you are new to this completely or wheather you want to brush up you’ll get a understanding of user interviews, surveys, focus groups, card sorting and personas.
As well as a ton of great information about user research which is really why I bought the book, there is a great chapter on design principles too. It’s a great reference even if you’ve been designing for some time and makes for a great refresher on principles such as visual hierarchy, proportion and balance. There is also a section on psychology and the benefits of a good design are explained. For example:
People generally perceive that an attractive product is easier to use.
The design section contains examples of real world designs to help explain certain principles but if you want more information on this then getting a copy of another book such as ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ by Steve Krug would be a great idea as you’ll get loads more examples and practical advice on making easy to use websites.
What Else Is In The Book?
There’s loads more great information in the book! I’ve barely touched the surface here but briefly, you’ll find out real world practical advice for wireframing, prototyping, site maps, testing your design and what should happen during and after the deployment. Basically you’ll get a realistic overview of the entire project lifecycle and how UX fts into it. Of course there are other approaches around too and lifecylcles on different projects or with different teams may be completely different but the information in the book will give you the information you need to adapt to other processes and alter your own to be more effective if you already have one.
This book helped me out a lot. I often go back to it as a reference during projects where I’m carrying out user testing and I thoroughly recommend the book to anyone new to UX design or anyone who already knows a thing or two about UX but wants to see how their process could be improved.