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User Experience Team of One: brief book review

I’ve been meaning to get around to reading Leah Buley’s The User Experience Team of One for a while. The upcoming UX book club meetup gave me the nudge I needed to get stuck into it, and I’m really glad that I did.

Buley’s book is very practical, and I found it immediately useful. She provides excellent templates for activities and exercises.

I found the sections on dealing with issues (people and organisational) very helpful. Buley offers great advice on how to approach difficult situations and diffuse them. She also pulls in growth mindset ideas about turning obstacles, objections, and failures into opportunities for learning. (You can read more about growth mindset in Carol Dweck’s excellent book “Mindset”, or in Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives on Brain Pickings.)

My favourite thing in the book was the idea of using bathroom / hallway UX to promote awareness. I am definitely stealing this for the next talk or workshop I do! I’m planning to use it as a sneaky way to “advertise” for it and get people thinking about the ideas.

How I try to remember what I read

Hand-written index cards with my notew from The User Experience of One

I’m still trying to find a good process for books. I want to read a book, figure out what I want to remember, and make a plan to some of the ideas into action. I like what Farnam Street write about reading, particularly in How to Remember What You Read.

Here’s my process as it stands. It feels a bit over the top, but it seems to be working for me.

  1. Read the book on my Kindle, highlighting stuff as I go along.
  2. Leave it a few days, then run through the Kindle notes and write them out in a notebook. Make connections, draw boxes and arrows to pull out the themes I found.
  3. Leave it a few days, then make a stack of index cards of the big ideas that I want to remember. (At the moment I’m overshooting here. I want a small number of cards, but tend to go into double digits!)