The Only Book You Need to Read to Understand UX

The Elements of User Experience (Second Edition) by Jesse James Garrett is an awesome, all-encompassing explanation of user experience. 

Having just finished a project involving guerilla interview tactics to assess the level of general knowledge on the term “user experience”, I’ve concluded that this is the book that everyone needs to read. If you don’t want to commit to the whole book, the first two chapters give a great overview of the concepts. 

A couple of ideas struck me as being so inherently true, I was surprised I wasn’t fully conscious of them to begin with. 

  1. A user-centered design means that everything the user experiences must be designed by the designer. The user experience encompasses the entire interface. My realization, admittedly not complicated, was that no part of the product should be overlooked. 
  2. Branding is not just creating an amazing logo or any other visual concept, it’s the feeling that people associate with your company. Everything is an extension of your brand with the capability of strengthening it (positive user experience) or hurting it (bad user experience). 

There is, however, one point that I disagree with. At the beginning of the book the author states that users tend to blame themselves when things go wrong. From being on the receiving end of a number of emails and calls from frustrated users, I honestly believe that the immediate reaction to poor user experience is frustration outwards. Initially towards the interface then, in turn, towards the company. 

Hopefully, aided with the knowledge obtained through The Elements of User Experience, those phone calls and emails will subside.