Christian Manzella Rotating Header Image

Hey. I want to get into UX…

*Updated  with some great additional insights & content from Fred Beecher*

Over time I’ve been asked once or twice what people should “start looking at” if they “want to get into UX.”  I’m not trying to call this list definitive or somehow say that this is the only list that would ever be helpful.  I also consider this a starting point and there’s a heavy emphasis on self-learning through this.  I highly recommend conversation with people in the field in order to get some better context on anything you read.

It’s also worth noting this is a significant list because this isn’t a one-size-fits-all, take a 12 hour course, and you’re done kind of field.

Also, practice.  Doing is always enlightening.

Oh, and what we do is often redefined by changing technology within 6-18 months, so, there’s that.  And I *might* update this once or twice, reflecting changes.

UX borrows philosophy and data from many different disciplines, including but not limited to the following, so look up these terms first.  You should know what they mean in a broad sense, at the least:

Ergonomics, Decision Theory, Cognitive Psychology, Marketing/Service Design, Communications, Human Factors, Art, Design, Usability, Semiotics, Organizational Behavior, Taxonomy, Architecture, Web Development… I could probably keep going.  A theme I’ve found in UX is that our behaviors tend to all relate back.

What is User Experience?
Some perspectives regarding the “What is UX?” question:

http://uxdesign.com/about-user-experience-design/article/what-is-ux/4
http://www.jjg.net/elements/pdf/elements.pdf
http://www.eleganthack.com/a-syllabus-for-user-experience/
http://www.fatdux.com/en/what/what-is-ux
http://www.quora.com/Product-Design-physical-goods/Whats-the-difference-between-UI-Design-and-UX-Design-1
http://www.disambiguity.com/cxvux/
http://www.uxbooth.com/blog/complete-beginners-guide-to-information-architecture/
(I know this is IA, but it’s highly relevant)

Other Guides on Starting:
Some folks have already put together good starting points for getting into UX.  Here’s a couple.

So You Wanna Be a User Experience Designer – Part 1 (Whitney Hess)
So You Wanna Be a User Experience Designer – Part 2 (Whitney Hess)
Getting Started in User Experience Design (Fred Beecher)

Groups of Interest:

  • Unicorn Institute - Jared Spool & Leslie Jensen-Inman
  • The Nerdery & UX Apprenticeship - Fred Beecher
  • Always look for local UX Meetups (YourCityHere UX Meetup; google it)
  • IAI (Information Architecture Institute)
  • UXPA (User Experience Professionals Association)
  • IxDA (Interaction Design Association)
  • ACM SIG-CHI (Often just CHI) (Association for Computer Machinery – Special Interest Group Computer-Human Interaction)

Employers who offer UX/IxD Internships:
… at least on a sporadic basis

  • IDEO
  • frog
  • HUGE (NYC)
  • Amazon
  • Google
  • Manifest Digital (CHI)

Sites to frequent:

Books to read:

  • Information Architecture for the World Wide Web by Morville and Rosenfeld
  • Prototyping by Todd Zaki Warfel
  • Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
  • The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
  • The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
  • Susan Weinschenk – 100 things you should know about people
  • How We Decide – Jonah Lehrer
  • Pervasive Information Architecture by Remini and Rosati
  • Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
  • Web Form Design by Luke Wroblewski
  • So What – Mark Magnacca
  • How Buildings Learn – Stewart Brand
  • Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen
  • Mobile First by Luke Wroblewski
  • The Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown
  • A Project Guide to UX Design by Unger and Chandler
  • Letting go of the words by Ginny Redish
  • Set Phasers on Stun -S. M. Casey
  • Engineering Psychology & Human Performance – Wickens & Hollands
  • Cognitive Psychology – Solso
  • Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Gilbert
  • Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
  • Inspired how to create products people love – Marty cagan
  • Designing the moment by robert hoekman, jr
  • Succeeding With Agile by Mike Cohn
  • Neuro Web Design – Susan Weinschenk
  • The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser
  • A Whole New Mind by Daniel H Pink
  • Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter
  • Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki
  • Software Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach, R.S. Pressman
  • Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig
  • Blink – Malcom Gladwell
  • The Innovator’s DNA by Clayton M Christensen
  • Excellent Book List put together by Fred Beecher

Personalities (in absolutely no order):

Why are they on this list?  I’ve either seen these people speak, read something they wrote, and/or had a conversation with them where they said something particularly insightful that impacted my worldview.

That’s a big list.  What can I say? I’m impressionable.

4 Comments

  1. Denise says:

    Nice post, Christian. Thanks for the nod, too. :)

  2. Lynne says:

    Great list of resources, Christian! I just passed this along to participants in an intro to UX workshop I just taught. Thanks also for inclusion on your ‘list’–I’ve also learned a ton from everyone on there :)

  3. Fred Beecher says:

    This is wonderful, Christian! I’m currently on a mission to make as many UX designers as possible, and this post will be a great place for people new to UX to start. I’ve already sent it along to one person, and she will be but the first of many. : )

  4. Whitney Hess says:

    Thanks so much for including me here, Christian!

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