Metamorphosis

The first books for my course have been delivered.

Books from the reading list

With the arrival yesterday of confirmation of the term dates and an introductory booklet, at last I have a real sense of something happening, that a big change is coming. In two months’ time I’ll start an MSc in Human-Computer Interaction with Ergonomics at University College London.

I’ve always been interested in the user interface, the medium between man and machine, and now I get to study it full-time for a whole year. I expect to learn how to measure the efficacy of a UI and how to improve poor designs. As the range of devices with which we interact continues to grow, and the touch revolution is building a head of steam, I anticipate that the methodologies provided in the course will continue to be applicable. The role of the user experience consultant is becoming more important and I’m looking forward to morphing into one!

3 thoughts on “Metamorphosis

  1. Hey Stuart,

    Found your blog from the IA ning group. I’m about to start the HCI MSc at UCL as well.

    Have you read ‘The Humane Interface’ yet? With your particular interest in user interface design I think you’ll find it fascinating.

    I don’t know about you, but for me, ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ really opened my eyes to just how much bad design is out there in the world. It’s quite astonishing.

    I’ve been trying to decide which books to read from the additional main course texts list. Are there any that you would recommend? ‘The Inmates are Running the Asylum’ is one that I’m definitely going to check out, as I’ve heard good things about it. Apart from that, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the large number of books to choose from. As my knowledge about ergonomics and cognitive psychology is very thin, I’m thinking it would probably be a good idea to read up on those subjects while I still have the luxury of spare time.

    You might also be interested in this blog post about UX books for beginners. Just in case you haven’t got enough books to read already!

    http://www.uxbooth.com/blog/user-experience-books-for-beginners/

  2. Hi Pete

    I’ve not read “The Humane Interface”. I’ve managed “The Design of Everyday Things” and am ploughing through Norman’s “Emotional Design”. The former was a wonderful read: nicely old-fashioned but completely relevant – and I found myself a-glow thinking that the irritations with objects that I’ve experienced are shared with kindred spirits. I also thought that the section towards the end about hypertext was really interesting, written as it was before the explosion of the web.

    I’m enjoying the latter too, as Norman admits that aesthetics are an important aspect of design. I suppose it delves more into the psychology of usability.

    Jakob Nielsen’s “Designing Web Usability” unfortunately shows its age: I’ve flipped through it but as some who’s been developing web apps for several years there aren’t any revelations I wasn’t aware of. I understand that for folks joining the course from different backgrounds it would be required reading though.

    Thanks for the link, and I look forward to meeting you at the end of the month.
    :)

  3. Oh, and Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think!” is excellent – very motivational, specifically wrt user testing.

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