Cambridge University Design / UX group

Review: A Project Guide to UX Design

Published in March this year, Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler’s book, “A Project Guide to UX Desgin”, and less than £14 on Amazon, is well worth a look.

A Project Guide to UX Design (book cover)

A Project Guide to UX Design (book cover)

The back cover synopsis reads as follows:

User experience design is the discipline of creating a useful and usable Web site or application—one that’s easily navigated and meets the needs of both the site owner and its users. But there’s a lot more to successful UX design than knowing the latest Web technologies or design trends: It takes diplomacy, project management skills, and business savvy. That’s where this book comes in. Authors Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler show you how to integrate UX principles into your project from start to finish.

It is modern, well laid-out, and fresh. I have only begun reading it, really, and scanned through the rest, but it is great so far. I have skipped ahead to the authors’ thoughts on integrating user-centred design principles with existing project practices, and there are similarly good sections on how to place yourself as a designer within a project.

The chapters on gathering requirements and user research also look especially good. At first glance, the authors arent simply propounding yet another way of tackling issues; they are considering the best practices that exist, and building on them, which looks good to me.

Check it out.

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“Inclusive Design” write-up

Prof Patrick Jordan gave a fascinating talk at the Engineering Dept, on April 29th. In it, he discussed inlcusive design, and specifically “The Four Pleasures – Designing for Inclusive Emotional Engagment“.

But what is inclusive design?

Prof Roger Coleman at the Royal College of Art describes it like this:

Inclusive design is not a new genre of design, nor a separate specialism, but an approach to design in general and an element of business strategy that seeks to ensure that mainstream products, services and environments are accessible to the largest number of people.

Hmmm. Accessibility… usability… sound familiar?

Pat Jordan didn’t mention websites or anything like that once in his talk; it was all about products and consumers. But when you get down to it, the parallels are obvious – we are, after all, producing products that people consume, use, interact with, and so on.

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Consistent user experience

Not long ago, I wrote something that mentioned the idea of creating and re-using components in a website or other design project, the idea being that once you have come up with something that really works, don’t just bin it when the project is finished. With a bit of re-styling, that same component (a search box, a “Go to the to of the page” button, a tabbed navigation menu, etc) might come in handy again.

This makes us more efficient… why reinvent the cup of tea every time?

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