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October 2015: Usability Reading Suggestions
2015, Q4 (October 21, 2015)
By Lindsay Saunders, Secretary and Managing Editor

In anticipation of our upcoming Halloween Social with TriUXPA at LevelUp Kitchen-Barcadium on Thursday, October 29, I’ve got 5 highly-rated Usability books, which you should check out.

1. Experience Disaster: How Participatory Designers Can Support Participatory Cultures by Liza Potts

Experience Disaster
Experience Disaster focuses on how emerging social web tools provide researchers and practitioners with new opportunities to address disaster communication and information design for participatory cultures. Both groups, however, currently lack research toolkits for tracing participant networks across systems; there is little understanding of how to design not just for individual social web sites, but how to design across multiple systems. Given the volatile political and ecological climate we are currently living in, the practicality of understanding how people communicate during disasters is important both for those researching solutions and for those putting that research into practice.

For more about this book, check out the listings on Goodreads and Amazon.

I discovered this book during my Research Design course, while pursuing my Tech Comm MA. This was also after I’d met the author at a conference, entitled “Special Interest Group: Design Of Communications.”

2. Designing for Emerging Technologies: UX for Genomics, Robotics, and the Internet of Things by Jonathan Follett

Designing for Emerging Technologies
The recent digital and mobile revolutions are a minor blip compared to the next wave of technological change, as everything from robot swarms to skin-top embeddable computers and bio printable organs start appearing in coming years. In this collection of inspiring essays, designers, engineers, and researchers discuss their approaches to experience design for groundbreaking technologies.

For more about this book, check out the listings on Goodreads and Amazon.

I discovered this book while browsing through the Triangle UXPA Book Club Meetup reading selections. The Internet of Things is something more relevant now more than ever.

3. Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

Don't Make Me Think
Since Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, over 400,000 Web designers and developers have relied on Steve Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design.

In this 3rd edition, Steve returns with fresh perspective to reexamine the principles that made Don’t Make Me Think a classic-–with updated examples and a new chapter on mobile usability. And it’s still short, profusely illustrated…and best of all–fun to read.

For more about this book, check out the listings on Goodreads and Amazon.

I discovered this book when browsing through the UX lists on Goodreads. If you don’t already use Goodreads — it’s both an app and website, I’d highly suggest you check it out. It’s a very useful tool that is kind of like Facebook or LinkedIn for readers, but it also allows you to track your reading progress and, like me, make a ridiculous amount of lists to sort books you’ve read or are interested in reading.

4. The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide by Leah Buley

The User Experience Team of One
The User Experience Team of One prescribes a range of approaches that have big impact and take less time and fewer resources than the standard lineup of UX deliverables. Whether you want to cross over into user experience or you're a seasoned practitioner trying to drag your organization forward, this book gives you tools and insight for doing more with less.

For more about this book, check out the listings on Goodreads and Amazon.

I actually read this book since it was assigned during my UX Graduate course, taught by Dr. Guiseppe Getto. Thanks to Guiseppe, I learned the many ways that UX could be conducted, but thanks to Leah Buley I learned how one person could make up one expert UX team! The Triangle UXPA Book Club Meetup Group has also read this book.

5. The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

The Design of Everyday Things
Anyone who designs anything to be used by humans — from physical objects to computer programs to conceptual tools — must read this book, and it is an equally tremendous read for anyone who has to use anything created by another human. It could forever change how you experience and interact with your physical surroundings, open your eyes to the perversity of bad design and the desirability of good design, and raise your expectations about how things should be designed.

For more about this book, check out the listings on Goodreads and Amazon.

I discovered this book while doing design and UX research in graduate school. I didn’t get to read it then. Goodreads not only classified it as a Design and UX book, but also a Philosophy book. So, when my book club wanted to read a Philosophy book in 2014, I put this on the list of choices. Much to my surprise, it won the poll! It was interesting, but heavily detailed. So, it really depends on what you’re looking for and how much time you have. Probably not the best book to try to cover in one month.

So, whether you’re usually into UX or looking to learn more about it, I’d highly recommend any of these books. They’re highly rated on many book lists and sites and will surely give you perspective into many aspects of our field.

Lindsay Saunders can be reached at lindsayksaunders at gmail dot com. Read more articles by LINDSAY SAUNDERS. End of article.

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