5 Reads for new UX Researchers
The UXRS Community Engagement Director, Jake Rhodes, shares his favorite UX-related books
One of the questions I hear a lot from the UXRS membership is about how to apply methods in the real world. So, I thought I would share five titles that have influenced my thinking and would help those transitioning into UX Research with some practical knowledge.
So, In no particular order…
Lean Customer Development: Build products your customers will buy
By Cindy Alvarez
As the title suggests, “Lean Customer Development” is singularly focused on learning about customer needs – full stop. It’s geared for startups where product owners also handle user research but its concepts and language have been adopted broadly in large enterprises as well. Don’t let its size fool you; it packs a lot of information into 200 or so pages. If you had to read just one of the titles from my list, this would be the one I’d recommend. In my opinion, it’s particularly strong in three key areas:
The Design Thinking Toolbox: A guide to mastering the most popular and valuable innovation methods
By Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link, Lary Leifer
One of the things that surprised me as a new researcher is how often I'm called upon to facilitate a design or research activity with study participants or stakeholders. This book is a great reference for common design activities that will help you through all phases of the design process. Here are some of it’s key strengths:
100 Things every designer needs to know about People
Susan M. Weinshenk
For those of us who don’t have a background in cognitive psychology, this book offers a primer on many of the common psychological factors that influence design or contribute to usability issues or lack-luster experiences. A designer colleague of mine turned me onto this book about three years ago because it helped him anticipate potential problems with his web design. As a researcher, I’ve found it to be a valuable resource in generating usability hypotheses. Some areas that are particularly useful include…
The Power of Moments
By Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Communication is a core competency for researchers. It’s not enough to have insight, you have to influence your audience. One of the questions I hear (and often ask myself) is “how do I move them to action?” Data is often not enough – your audience needs to be moved. This book is all about understanding what makes some moments more meaningful (and impactful) than others.
Four kinds of moments are covered through stories and examples in the book that I think will resonate with most readers:
While it may sound abstract, trust me, readers leave this book armed with ideas on how to raise their influence game by becoming moment makers in their presentations and one-on-one interactions.
The Customer-Driven Playbook: Converting customer feedback into successful products
By Travis Lowdermilk and Jessica Rich
For some organizations, research is a team sport where product owners, designers, and researchers learn together as product makers. This book was really written with these organizations in mind. What I like most about the book is that it invites the team to talk openly about their customer beliefs and assumptions and it offers a structured approach to learning together through experimentation. Other things I think readers will like about this book include…
In full disclosure, I work with both of the authors of this book and the methodology is one we use in Microsoft’s Developer Division. I was introduced to this book long before moving onto the team and they had no influence in this recommendation.
I know I should limit my pick to to my top five but I really wanted to throw my support behind a few other titles that have been mentioned by other contributors. These titles also fit the bill for being the books that I go back to over and over because of their enduring value.
From Anthony’s list, I’d +1 The Handbook Of Usability Testing (Rubin and Chisnell), Quantifying The User Experience (Sauro and Lewis) and from Jen’s list I’d also +1 Universal Methods of Design (Martin and Hannington) and the Jobs to be Done Playbook (Kalbach).
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