Welcome to UX Book Club Brisbane

Our next book club will be a joint collaboration between UX Book Club Brisbane and IxDA Brisbane:

  • Venue: TBA. Depending on numbers, we will be holding the event at an office or local pub/restaurant (both in or near the CBD).
  • Book: 'Measuring the User Experience: Collecting, Analyzing, and Presenting Usability Metrics' by Thomas Tullis and William Albert (See details below)
  • Date: Monday 18 January 2010
  • Time: 6:00 for a 6:30 start.
  • RSVP: 8th January 2010

For anyone on Facebook, we also have a UX Book Club:Brisbane Facebook Group to help publicise our chapter, so please join and share it with your colleagues and interested friends.

Since I was asked what books I read by a few people, I've posted an Amazon shop containing a selection of Books Relevant to UX from my bookshelf.

We've also joined forces with IxDA Brisbane, so each month will alternate between a UX Bookclub meeting, and an IxDA meeting.

About IxDA Brisbane

IxDA Brisbane is a local chapter of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA). On the last Tuesday of every month, IxDA Brisbane hosts a Face to Face event for Interaction Design and User Experience professionals who design interactive systems and products of all types: web, desktop, mobile, consumer electronics, digitally-enhanced environments and more. It's about sharing ideas and learning in a social environment. Short presentations and entertaining discussions on trends, tools, tips and techniques that help Interaction Designers in their day to day design work.


The UX Book Club Brisbane seeks to build a passionate community of people interested in broadening their understanding and increasing their skills in the multi-disciplinary field of User Experience.

The books and discussions will aim to cover a wide range of topics from a number of specialisations that feed into the creating and maintaining great user experiences.

The Books

The fifth book we'll be looking at is Measuring the User Experience: Collecting, Analyzing, and Presenting Usability Metrics by Thomas Tullis and William Albert.

Ever had a hunch about your research findings but couldn't find the right way to present them? Find yourself wondering which methods will best measure the user experiences during design and which methods will best validate your designs once launched?

This both has been receiving some amazing praise for its pragmatic approach to evaluating and presenting research data and usability findings. Steve Krug, author of 'Don't Make Me Think', says:

“If Tom and Bill could convince me, perhaps the world's biggest fan of qualitative testing, that usability metrics are really valuable-which they have, in this wonderful book-then there's no doubt they'll convince you. I loved reading this book, because it was exactly like having a fascinating conversation with a very smart, very seasoned, and very articulate practitioner. They tell you everything you need to know (and no more) about all the most useful usability metrics, explain the pros and cons of each one (with remarkable clarity and economy), and then reveal exactly how they actually use them after years and years of real world experience. Invaluable!”

There are a number of ways you can purchase In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing:

Full reference Paperback: 336 pages Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann (March 31, 2008) Language: English ISBN-10: 0123735580 ISBN-13: 978-0123735584


The fourth book we'll be looking at is Matthew E. May's In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing.

What made the Sopranos finale one of the most-talked-about events in television history?

Why is sudoku so addictive and the iPhone so irresistible?

What do Jackson Pollock and Lance Armstrong have in common with theoretical physicists and Buddhist monks?


In this thought-provoking exploration of why certain events, products, and people capture our attention and imaginations, Matthew E. May examines the elusive element behind so many innovative breakthroughs in fields ranging from physics and marketing to design and popular culture. Combining unusual simplicity and surprising power, elegance is characterized by four key elements—seduction, subtraction, symmetry, and sustainability. In a compelling, story-driven narrative that sheds light on the need for elegance in design, engineering, art, urban planning, sports, and work, May offers surprising evidence that what’s “not there” often trumps what is.

In the bestselling tradition of The Tipping Point, Made to Stick, and The Black Swan, In Pursuit of Elegance will change the way you think about the world.

See the Matt May's book blog for more ideas relating to Elegance.

There are a number of ways you can purchase In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing:

  • Booko (consistently cheaper when you take into account shipping)

or for you avid audiobook fans…

Note, Audible it won't let you buy download audio version if you live in Australia.

Full reference Paperback: 224 pages Publisher: Broadway Business (May 19, 2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 0385526490 ISBN-13: 978-0385526494


The third book we'll be looking at is Donna Spencer's Card Sorting: Designing Usable Categories.

Card sorting is an effective, easy-to-use method for understanding how people think about content and categories. It helps you create information that is easy to find and understand. In “Card Sorting: Designing Usable Categories,” Donna Spencer shows you how to plan and run a card sort, analyze the results, and apply the outcomes to your projects.

A good introduction to Donna's perspective on Card Sorting can be found in the excellent Boxes and Arrows article that she wrote with Todd Warfel. Find it here. Card Sorting: A Definitive Guide

Again, Lou Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld Media (publishers of Donna's book) has been very generous, offering a 30% discount for any book club member. Simply email Matt Morphett or Joel Flom for the discount code. After purchasing through the Rosenfeld media site, you will be able to download the book in PDF format immediately.

Full reference Paperback: 162 pages Publisher: Rosenfeld Media; 1ST edition (2009) Language: English ISBN-10: 1933820020 ISBN-13: 978-1933820026

Don't Forget: Donna will be there in person on the night launching the book in Brisbane - A unique opportunity to meet the author


The second book we'll be looking at is Indi Young's ”Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior”.

There is no single methodology for creating the perfect product—but you can increase your odds. One of the best ways is to understand users' reasons for doing things. Mental Models gives you the tools to help you grasp, and design for, those reasons. Adaptive Path co-founder Indi Young has written a roll-up-your-sleeves book for designers, managers, and anyone else interested in making design strategic, and successful.

“Indi Young’s mental models are the perfect way for your team to integrate your user’s perspective into your design. Indi has written a comprehensive guide for anyone who wants to make use of this power design technique. I’ll be giving this book out to all of our important clients and insisting they make it part of their process.” —Jared Spool, CEO & Founding Principal, User Interface Engineering

Indi has created a practical guide to researching, analysing, creating and working with mental models. This book is a must for the shelves of User Experience professionals.

Full reference: Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior, Indi Young. Published by Rosenfeld Media in August, 2008. 299 pages. ISBN: 978-1933820064

To get you going, here's a YouTube video (1hr 03min) in which Indi presented Digging Beyond User Preferences - a Google Tech Talk on Mental Models.

Lou Rosenfeld of Rosenfeld Media (publishers of Indi's book) has been nice enough to send me a digital copy of the book which to distribute to anyone who plans to attend. Lou only asks that if you find it useful, you purchase the hard copy of Mental Models, and tell your friends.

Note: Indi is coming to Australia to hold Mental Models Workshops just before our review. I'd highly recommend anyone interested signs up and attends.

The first book we'll be discussing is Donald A. Norman's ”Emotional Design”.

Did you ever wonder why cheap wine tastes better in fancy glasses? Why sales of Macintosh computers soared when Apple introduced the colorful iMac? New research on emotion and cognition has shown that attractive things really do work better, a fact fans of Don Norman's classic The Design of Everyday Things cannot afford to ignore. In recent years, the design community has focused on making products easier to use. But as Norman amply demonstrates in this fascinating and important new book, design experts have vastly underestimated the role of emotion on our experience of everyday objects.Emotional Design analyzes the profound influence of this deceptively simple idea, from our willingness to spend thousands of dollars on Gucci bags and Rolex watches to the impact of emotion on the everyday objects of tomorrow. In the future, will inanimate objects respond to human emotions? Is it possible to create emotional robots? Norman addresses these provocative questions–drawing on a wealth of examples and the latest scientific insights–in this bold exploration of the objects in our everyday world.

I know many of you own a copy and may have read it a while ago, but it's good to go back and review the arguments Norman proposed in 2004 and should make for some lively discussion.

For those of you who do not own a copy, finding it in local book stores may be difficult, but it's readily available on Amazon. Ordering through Amazon will probably be delivered faster than ordering through Australian book sites.

To get you started here are the first two freely available sections of the book:

Full reference: Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things, Donald A. Norman. Published by Basic Books on May 10, 2005. 272 pages. ISBN: 978-0465051366

For further discussion by 'The Don', here's:

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