UX for beginners

Joel Marsh

Published by
ISBN 978-1-491-91268-3
RRP £23.99
Reviewed by Dr Mick Phythian MBCS CITP

9 out of 10

As someone holding responsibility for websites going back twenty years or more, I thought it about time I read up on UX, or user experience. Joel Marsh, as the former author of an email newsletter on the subject, has managed to turn that experience into a hundred brief lessons covering matters such as psychology, usability, design, copywriting and analysis.

Most lessons are brief only covering one to three pages with illustrations, large print and some white space making them relatively quick and easy to read. Marsh encourages questioning and deals a lot with the psychology of the user experience and how to analyse it, test ideas out and methods such as card sorting, surveys and interviews.

Slightly heavy on the American metaphors and examples, it may put off the non-US reader, especially when they’re around sex toys or the word ‘s**t,’ but he does successfully portray marketing as the illusion of choice and one important universal prescription he makes is that when we take notes they should be good enough for someone else to use!

As I read through I wondered where accessibility was in all this but sure enough it appears as lesson 76 and whilst not being dogmatic, as it can be quite technical, he does stress the importance. Similarly, Marsh has left some of the other important stuff for the later lessons including analysing usage (graphs and statistics) and what the actual UX designer does and should include in their portfolio.

This is a good book for highlighting most of what a designer needs to consider in the realm of user experience, if greater depth is needed on topics I’m sure there are particular books or websites that’ll have an opinion. What Marsh is doing is sharing his experiences in a distilled form, like his opinions or not. If the RRP is a bit high find it cheaper or borrow it from a library!

Further information: O’Reilly

September 2018