Tuesday, November 20, 2007

UI resources

So like all good instructional designers I have just enough knowledge to know that I don't know much at all about a wide variety of topics, one of those being interface design. I have a brother-in-law who is currently working as a contractor for Microsoft, on a UX (user experience) team for a product that he could tell me about . . . except for some pesky little non-disclosure agreement. I did, however, ask him what he tends to read as background material for his job--here was his response:

The design of everyday things (or the Psychology of Everyday Things) is still considered good. The principles of interactive design haven't changed that much by what I know. There's a great book just put out by MIT press called Designing Interactions, highly recommended but not a textbook, per se.

The book that gets the most circulation around my office is Don't Make Me Think by Krug. For usability issues, it's great and still current, and specifically about web pages. The irony is, it's almost impossible to really make it work across the board for an application like the one we are building, which has a really high learning curve and such a specific alpha user base. Objective: teach marketing professionals how to break into the search ad world. Jakob Nielson still gets some play, but is outdated and more or less out of touch. There are also a number of blogs that get some play. Blogs are really valuable and getting more so all the time, beyond books I think.

Agreed on the last point (with obvious exceptions like http://sitcogblog.blogspot.com, I mean really, who is writing this crap?). Joking aside I always get interested in what practitioners do. After all if they get paid to do it, it must be worth something right?