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Thursday, September 26, 2013

"The User Experience Team of One" by Leah Buley & O'Reilly Media

This book's title is what caught my attention and after reading it.....I think the title is prefect. Through this book, Leah is giving UX designers, both aspiring and existing, techniques and the motivation to
bring focus to the role of a UX Designer, as well as strategies on how to convince an organization that the role of UX should exist.

This book definitely has an audience and if you're part of that audience, it's a great resource; so, it's important to know who the book is not for. This book isn't as valuable for those who are already experienced UX designers and / or work in an organization which already has UX processes in place. Another situation where this material would not be helpful would be with start ups or organizations who have a more contemporary product design philosophy, e.g. anything 'Lean'. This has to do with how much the book relies on generating deliverables....lots of them. Deliverables make total sense when you're trying to convince others that UX should be taken seriously and / or if you're working in an organization which has disconnected team members. Again, if you're in situation where progress is measured by how many charts, graphs and wireframes are created - then this book is perfect for you.

Besides being very well structured and having great 'If You Only Do One Thing...' summaries, the work throughly covers situations and gives strategies on how to be successful in navigating them. Have trouble getting buy in from the boss that UX is important? ... not sure if you should be freelance or not?...dealing with an organization filled with doubters of UX's value? This book has you covered... and then some.

The '...and then some' is what leads to a kink in the book which holds it back from being invaluable from end to end. There are parts of the book where the author mixes Product Management with UX design. For example, it's not the place of the UX designer to create a 'Project Brief' or a product's 'Elevator Pitch' for the team to use. Caution should be taken in implementing these 'managerial' processes because you will likely either step on someone else's toes or take on a lot of work that a UX Designer shouldn't be doing.

If you find yourself within the target audience, aspiring UX Designers or those struggling to validate UX within an organization, the book is a great resource.

This book is available today from O'Reilly media.