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Review: UX for the Web

The other day I got a copy of UX for the Web by Marli Ritter and Cara Winterbottom. It’s a great book that gives a broad introduction to many of the building blocks of User Experience (not just the Web). It offers a great jumping off point for further research and reading.

Marli and Cara give lots of good advice and the book is very practical. They provide lots of samples of things, like usability testing scripts, then show you how to apply the theory. There are plenty of How To sections, and they point out the links between each topic and explain them. They ask lots of great questions, and encourage the reader to do the same.

Some things I particularly liked:

  • their table of UX methods with focus and context. It’s a great reference and is very comprehensive. I found some new things there.
  • mentioning version control. In my experience it’s very widespread in development teams, but it’s still rare to see it in design teams.
  • checklists! Lots of them. They’re a great way of ensuring consistency and quality.
  • the emphasis on an ongoing, iterative, UX process. It can be tricky to do regular usability testing (for example), but it’s important to keep it going.
  • a reminder on being careful about presuming statistical significance from small samples sizes.

My favourite section was “Planning, conducting, and analyzing usability tests.” For me it was a pleasing mix of learning new things and reassuring myself that I’m doing a good job of the things I already knew about.

A theme that came up a few times in the book was breaking complex, difficult, tasks into smaller, more manageable, subtasks. This is great advice in general and exactly what Marli and Cara did with their book, which you can get at the Packt Publishing site.