This book had a couple of useful ideas, although a great deal of it was just rehashing concepts that are second nature to many professional UX and proThis book had a couple of useful ideas, although a great deal of it was just rehashing concepts that are second nature to many professional UX and product designers. The book might(?) make a more interesting read for product managers or graphic designers.
Two things it said that I found useful were: 1. A "Sales Safari" is a form of attitudinal/formative research that you can use without accidentally influencing the people you're observing. It means lurking in online fora where your target audience hangs out in order to learn about their needs and frustrations. 2. Beginning design for a new page with a basic text file brings focus to the order and priority of the content and can make it simpler to organize it into a wireframe afterward.
And (in what promises to be a tangent that takes up half the space of my review) I question the validity of Hurff's conclusions around tappable areas for mobile screens. On page 159, he mentions research in early 2013 indicating which hand people use their smartphones with. From this research, he focuses on the finding that the largest percentage used phones one-handed. On page 160, he mentions that the share of people using phones with large screens is increasing, and he provides a chart as evidence. From this trend, he concludes that it's increasingly important to take the tappable area into account for all the many people who will be using larger screens one handed. He follows up with several pages of diagrams showing where a single thumb can reach on various sized screens, assuming that each of these screens is used one-handed: "the sheer amount of 'Ow' space [...] becomes startlingly apparent with the 5.5-inch screen."
Yet on page 159, he included the number of people from that early 2013 study who use both hands: it's 15%. And in that chart on the very next page, if you look at early 2013, the percentage of people owning large phones is quite close to 15%. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find that there's a strong correlation between a phone's size and how it's held. Hurff seems to have assumed that because the plurality of people hold phones in one hand, designs for all screen sizes (even large screens) should assume a single-handed hold. But what if people hold larger screens differently?...more
I love how this book structures each chapter around a key user research question and an ideal method to answer it. For example, there's a chapter to aI love how this book structures each chapter around a key user research question and an ideal method to answer it. For example, there's a chapter to answer "How do people currently solve a problem?" which Sharon addresses by explaining how to set up and run an observation study.
The book is immediately applicable to practice; I found myself referencing earlier chapters in my daily work before I'd even finished reading. (Although I say "finished reading," and I *did* find it worthwhile to read cover-to-cover, the book's introduction says it's not intended to be read cover-to-cover; rather it's structured so that one chapter guides you through the steps of any particular research project.)
The breakdown in the "who are the users?" chapter of common categories of problems with the phrasing of user interview questions is the best guide I've yet encountered for crafting questions that lead to actionable insights. I'm in the process of using the chapters on "What do the users need?" and "What is the user's workflow?" to set up an experience sampling study and diary studies. The final chapter outlines a process for recruiting participants via social media; I'm looking forward to trying it out as a way of finding participants who aren't already familiar with my organization....more
Five of the ten chapters of this book are largely theoretical and aimed at people who don't know much about UX design. I didn't find these to be partiFive of the ten chapters of this book are largely theoretical and aimed at people who don't know much about UX design. I didn't find these to be particularly useful.
The remaining chapters contain a mix of lightweight, collaborative methods aimed at getting the wider development team involved in UX design. In some cases, these methods were patently obvious (e.g. wireframes; did you know you can review wireframes with your team?), but in others they were useful outlines of quick ways to increase stakeholder involvement. For example, a "black hat session" is something I've heard of, but never used, and this book provides the key things I need to know to try one out. I'm also interested in using a physical sketchboard as a way of soliciting feedback about many variations of ideas along a flow. (Each method summary provides just enough information to get up and running: when to use it, how long it takes, overall steps to using it, and a few tips for making it successful.)...more
A lot of interesting facts, but no continuity. If I want to read an encyclopedia, I'll read an encyclopedia. I expect a non-fiction to make a more coheA lot of interesting facts, but no continuity. If I want to read an encyclopedia, I'll read an encyclopedia. I expect a non-fiction to make a more coherent argument or tell a more coherent story....more
This book provides an overview of a process (story mapping) that can help to increase understanding of a feature before building it. Doing so helps toThis book provides an overview of a process (story mapping) that can help to increase understanding of a feature before building it. Doing so helps to prevent scope creep and gets multiple members of a team on the same page about what will be built.
Story mapping: • is a way of talking about who does something, what it is, and why they do it. It also helps us prioritize and agree on the most important paths users need to take, which helps us make decisions down the line • is used to build shared understanding. Stories are a lightweight form of documentation that is primarily spoken, not written. • is a collaborative process used to flesh out what needs to be created. Unlike traditional requirements where one person explains and another tries to understand, story mapping aims to get people talking about the best way to solve a problem. • establishes order and hierarchy. It helps to group things in sequence and by priority. It reveals gaps in understanding and shows how things fit together. • shows what parts of our understanding are unclear so that we can identify key unknowns to study going forward.
Although the process is clearly described and immediately applicable, I found Patton's context of when to use story mapping to be a bit disturbing. He writes about using story mapping to fully explore a feature based on what we think people need, and then creating a quick prototype in order to test whether that's what people actually need. He includes diagrams showing this cycle of guessing what people need, then checking whether that's what they actually want, then guessing what they need again.
To me that's problematic because he only tacks on a chapter about formative research toward the end of the book, and when he does, he doesn't describe its integration with the rest of the process. Without that formative research before the story mapping, we could very well become invested in the details of a feature that serves no real user need. After starting down the wrong trajectory, we could be iteratively testing and trying to improve something that doesn't serve any real need.
This book suffers from not having a clear target audience.
At times it seems to be aimed toward UX practitioners wanting to learn about business stratThis book suffers from not having a clear target audience.
At times it seems to be aimed toward UX practitioners wanting to learn about business strategy. These sections were useful to me. For example, one that I was able to put into practice right away explained how to adapt a customer development tool called a "funnel matrix" to UX context, using it to track levels of user engagement with the rows and various aspects of the customer experience provided by different internal teams with the columns. Some of the suggestions of how to approach a competitive analysis (such as distinguishing whether competitor compete on the value proposition, the user group, or both) were useful as well.
Less useful to me were the parts where the book seems to be aimed toward business strategists who know little-to-nothing about UX. To a day-to-day practitioner of UX, sections called "Analytics Tools for UX Dummies" and "Cool Tools for Interactive Prototypes" were so much empty cruft....more