I read voraciously on a wide range of topics. I like to search out books that help me enhance my knowledge, as well as titles that are useful for my clients. Over the past few months, I’ve focused on accessibility, usability, and experience. I’ve looked to gain a better understanding as to the definition of these topics, as well as for ways to build a framework that will help small businesses. This post summarizes three books — the first introduces the topic, the others explore different ways to improve users’ experience.
Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design
By Kat Holmes
Mismatch isn’t a how-to guide; this slim volume teaches the reader how and why mismatch occurs. Through examples, we learn how inclusion in design can help everyone, why the one perfect solution doesn’t exist, and why designs need to evolve and adapt over time. This is an approachable introduction to the topic of inclusive design.
Usability & Experience
Writing Is Designing: Words and the User Experience
By Michael J. Metts & Andy Welfle
Words matter. This book shares practical advice on how and where different word choice matter. Context is also an important factor, the order material is presented in and the tone for a product description may be different from a social media post. While Metts and Welfle frame things for a writer working within a larger organization, the lessons will help any reader systematically develop a style guide for their business. This results in a more consistent approach that will streamline the writing/editing process and it will help customers/clients by reaching them with one voice. If you desire/decide to hire this out, this will also help you find and collaborate efficiently with a writer who fits your business needs.
Experience & Usability
Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights
By Steve Portigal
Feedback is essential to learning how to meet your customers/clients where they are. It’s not easy to get useful critical reviews from your users. In this book, Portigal will help. He provides a framework for conducting interviews from initial design to analysis. While it’s geared toward working within a large group, solo practitioners can learn some best practices for a successful interview session.
Bonus – User Experience
If you want to delve deep and hands-on into the world of UX, I recommend The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide by Leah Buley.