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Theory, Analysis and Reviews on UX User Experience Research and Design

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30+ Best UX Design and Research Books of All Time

The “A” List: We frequently receive requests from colleagues, clients, and journalists for recommended reading lists on topics covering our expertise in UX design, usability research and human factors engineering. These requests prompted us to pull from our research library (yes, we still have real books) 30+ books which our professional staff felt should be considered primary conceptual literature for anyone well-read in the theory and practice of UX design and research.

A Surprising List: When we pooled the selected books for inclusion, we were a bit surprised. Most of the selected texts were published some time ago… in some cases, our selections were out of print. This set us to thinking: Why did we end up with books representing the best theory on UX design published before the term was even invented?

The answer resides in the fact that UX design, as we define it, encompasses a vast field of human-machine interaction variables covering cognitive processes, decision-making, task design, information architecture, graphic design, interactive brand development, market research, retail store design, product design, web design and at least a dozen other primary fields of expertise.

Where to Start: UX design is by definition a vast and overlapping set of expertise areas that find focus based on the nature of a specific UX design problem.  Therefore, to be well-read on this subject actually requires reading very diverse professional literature. The following 30+ books are those we consider the best general expositions on a given topic area that we know from professional experience is functionally or theoretically applicable to UX Design and Research.

It may come as a surprise to those of you who came to UX in the last decade that there was a vast and teeming world of man-machine science and related research before there was anything like the iPhone or even the Internet. Our list is as much about the history of man-machine design as it is about the future of UX.

Please Note: We have reviewed many UX-specific books for this list but have found that most of the new texts, including several popular books on UX design, are not nearly as useful as the original texts on which they are based. Most of the books on our list can be easily found online at Amazon.com or at other online sources. Many are out of print but not out of sight. If you purchase any of these books from Amazon or any other source, we do not receive any compensation. If you have books you feel we missed, send us a comment and if we agree with your suggestion it will be added to the list with a citation. We view our list, like our associated list of important recent papers on UX, as a living entity. Finally, if you are an author and your book(s) is not on the list, please do not send us a snarky comment. We will simply ignore it.

Thank you,

Charles L Mauro CHFP
President/Founder
Mauro New Media

 

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Amicus Briefs Filed in Opposition to Samsung/Lemley Positions for the Recent Apple v. Samsung Matter

The following links provide access to two of the major opposition amicus briefs filed on 8/4/2014 in the Apple v. Samsung matter. These briefs represent the combined support of 54 Distinguished Design Professionals and 26 Distinguished Design Educators. These two amicus briefs are in opposition to the Samsung/Lemley position calling for massive changes to the US Design Patent system.

  1. Amici Curiae Brief of 54 Distinguished Industrial Design Professionals in Support of Affirmance
  2. Brief of 26 Design Educators as Amici Curiae in Support of Appellee Apple Inc.

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Look Before You Leap…Intellectual Property and Crowd-Funding: Why Major Crowd Funding Sites Couldn’t Care Less About Protecting Your Ideas and How to Deal with It

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1Recently, I was invited to speak at the Northeast Conference of the Industrial Designers Society of America on intellectual property and crowd-funding (CF). I am not a lawyer but I have consulted with some of the best around. Over the past 35 years I have been an expert witness in over 75 major patent cases related to product design, industrial design and GUI design. That experience has taught me a great deal about how innovators deal with the realities of their intellectual property. Continue Reading…

Why Flappy Bird Is / Was So Successful And Popular But So Difficult To Learn: A Cognitive Teardown Of The User Experience (UX)

Promised simplicity, delivered deep complexity 

One of the fascinating conundrums in the science of man-machine design is the human mind’s complete inability to accurately assess the operational complexity of a given user interface by visual inspection. It turns out the human operating system is hardwired to judge the complexity of almost anything based on visual/spatial arrangement of elements on whatever you are looking at. This is especially true for screen-based interfaces. Simply put, the more elements presented to a user on the screen, the higher the judged initial complexity. The opposite is also true. A very simple screen leads to an assumption of simplicity. The key point here is that the actual cognitive complexity of a given UX solution cannot be judged by visual inspection… nothing is actually further from the truth. Yet we do it every time we open a new app, visit a website, or load new software. Continue Reading…

Breaking Bad vs. Facebook: 10 things Walt’s meth lab and Zuck’s Facebook have in common

Some comparisons are simply too compelling to pass up, especially when they seem so unlikely, yet under the covers, turn out to be startling in their alignments. Such is the comparison between the creation and maintenance of Walter White’s successful meth lab business as depicted in the hit AMC Series “Breaking Bad” and the creation and maintenance of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook. It turns out that Walt and Zuck are, for the most part, on the same page. For those who take offense to such a comparison, think again.

Common Factor 1: Both business models are based on the concept of the ultimate HACK.

At the core of Breaking Bad is the story of how a hapless high school chemistry teacher with terminal cancer emerges as a meth lord by cooking his own special form of crystal meth – all in the interest of leaving money for his family when he is gone. Walter White achieves this objective with amazing dramatic effect by employing a mind-bending combination of creativity, terrorizing behavior and constantly morphing meth production and distribution techniques where the only thing that really matters is getting his meth on the street and cash in hand. This is a story about makeshift chemistry, not about real chemistry. Walt is exceedingly capable at this form of makeshift mayhem.

breaking-bad-walt-jesse-cooking
Copyright AMC, All Rights Reserved

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Why Candy Crush Saga is So Successful and Popular But Will Never Be an Angry Birds: A Cognitive Tear Down of the User Experience (UX)

The Big Question  Why are certain computer-based games so compelling, while others fail entirely to draw us in? The answer to this persistent question, a question game designers struggle to grasp every day, is complex, but also on a certain level surprisingly straightforward. I have written and spoken on this topic at conferences and explored this question in a long-form blog post based on a cognitive tear down of the astoundingly successful game Angry Birds. Over 2 million readers have viewed that analysis. Continue Reading…

User-Centered Design in the New World of Complex Design Problems

Click the image below to view a recent article by Charles Mauro entitled “User-Centered Design in the New World of Complex Design Problems,” published in the Winter 2012 edition of Innovation.  The article focuses on the ways that user-centered design has changed and continues to change in the context of our increasingly connected digital world, highlighting particular trends that have an effect on this shift.

Apple v. Samsung: Impact and Implications for Product Design, User Interface Design (UX), Software Development and the Future of High-Technology Consumer Products

Background: The following long-form post is based, in part, on the seminar sponsored by the New York Technology Council / UX Design Track titled: “Apple vs. Samsung: What the case means to software development and UX design2 . The session was held in New York on October 23, 2012. The session featured presentations by Christopher V. Carani Esq.3 , Robert S. Katz Esq.4 and Charles L. Mauro CHFP5 . The seminar was created and moderated by Charles L. Mauro.

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Measuring Your User Experience (UX): 12 methods for ensuring user acceptance and business success

Data and More Data

Everywhere we turn in the development of technology-based business models the world is focusing on data. Big Data, Structured Data, Unstructured Data, Fast data, Slow data, even Data about Data. This transformation to a research and data-driven decision-making process started with web analytics and has now migrated to the design and development of all manner of user experiences for high-technology products and services. Continue Reading…