Five books to get you started on UX Research
One of the main obstacles we face when it comes to talking about (and selling!) UX Research to our clients is a lack of knowledge and the misperception that the discipline involves some sort of woo-woo.
That couldn’t be farther from the truth. What is true is that the professionals involved in the development of a product must be able to understand the people who will eventually use it from the very first stages of development. So while it does involve understanding humans, it is a systematic approach supported by research, studies, methodologies and scientific theories.
Sarah Rink, Sngular’s UX Research Director, shares five easy books that can help people understand what UX Research is, its principles, basic techniques and how to apply them to in order to start applying User-centered design.
Just enough research, Erica Hall
This is a small book with a vast amount of relevant content. It’s the perfect introduction for those who have no experience in the UX Research world. The book is especially ideal for those who want to get closer to a pragmatic approach to the discipline, shed their fears and begin applying UX. Erica Hall is the co-founder of Mule Design (her partner is Mike Monteiro), and the book explores both methodologies and her own personal experiences in UX elegantly and with a sense of humor. Excellent weekend reading.
Observing the user experience, A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research, Elizabeth Goodman, Mike Kuniavsky and Andrea Moed
This is a very complete book for researchers, designers, developers, and product and business managers who don’t only want to learn about techniques, but who also have to understand how to sell and apply UX Research to their products. What are the advantages of UX Research? How can it be done quickly and affordably? The three authors comprehensively answer these questions in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
Interviewing users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights, Steve Portigal
Knowing how to interview the people for whom we are designing products is a cornerstone of UX Research. At the beginning, it can be intimidating, but with time and practice, conducting these interviews becomes second nature for researchers. In this book, Steve Portigal outlines the importance of speaking with users and explains how to formulate interviews, providing tips on the kinds of questions to ask and how to ask them. He also explores how to register the interviews and gather insights from the data that’s been gathered.
UX Research, Practical Techniques for Designing Better Products, Brad Nunnally, David Farkas
UX Research is for everyone, especially those who are not research professionals but who need a practical guide about how to begin to better understand their users. This book will teach you about the most common terms and most efficient techniques so that you can plan, prepare, execute and gather insights. Best of all is that each chapter includes an exercise so you can practice the theories, helping you get rid of insecurities so you can take your first steps on the valuable path of UX Research.
Mental Models, Indi Young
One of the pillars of User-centered design is the ability to design with goals in mind. This makes what we do truly useful and pleasurable for all those who consume the product. In order to understand what’s really useful, empathy is required. “The deepest form of understanding another person is empathy…which involves a shift from observing how you seem on the outside, to… imagining what it feels like to be you on the inside,” writes Indi Young, co-founder of Adaptive Path. Throughout the book she provides a practical approach, grounded in research, to map out the mental models of the people for whom we are designing our products.
You can read the full pdf here.