Thursday, November 6, 2008

Recommended Reading: The Elements of User Experience

Every once in a while I come across a resource that is so astute yet so easy to absorb that I want to shout about how wonderful it is--and that is how I feel about Jesse James Garrett's book, The Elements of User Experience.

In searching for a reliable, professional resource for the user-centered design of websites, I came across mention of--and many links for--this diagram called The Elements of User Experience (published 30 March 2000). I was a bit skeptical, I admit, but mostly because I expected many more authors on the subject who were (er, um) not necessarily consultants, as well as something more current.

Little did I know that it's the nature of the field since the web began. There seems to be relatively few experts at the macro-level and limited recognition or understanding of the user experience design field at-large among my network of designers and engineers. But after practically devouring his book, I am convinced Mr. Garrett is the guru.

From his clear breakdown of all that's involved and the division between two communities--technical software designers and information scientists--and their distinct terminologies and approaches, it's no wonder that we might be familiar with portions of the web development process and the titles of those who perform those functions (e.g., information architect, content developer, business analyst) as well as the outcomes (e.g., functional specification, sitemap, architecture diagram, wireframe, etc.) without really being able to understand the big picture.

Thank you Jesse James Garrett for pulling it all together! Your book is an incredible resource and one I highly recommend to anyone creating or revising their site . . . and your blog is pretty clever too. (The only thing I wish for is a glossary of all the terms should you or one of your known accomplices be up for the task!)

. . . And anyone who doesn't want to read the book can just hire me to assemble a team to apply the elements to their site in order to ensure happy users. :)

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