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What am I Reading
June 2021
A Crash Course in UX: 100 Short Lessons
Marsh, J. (2016). UX for beginners: A crash course in 100 short lessons. O'Reilly.

This book is just what the title says it is, 100 short lessons addressing the basics of user experience (UX). The book addresses essential concepts such as the role of the user, the function of psychology, the need for motivation, the importance of research, the structure of information, the application of visual design principles, the nature of wireframes and prototypes, and ultimately, the content of designing digital environments.

For each topic addressed, the reader gets typically two pages worth of information, so the book is not designed to go in depth, but rather, to touch on the essential concepts of UX and provide fundamental information. For example, on the section addressing attention, the author states, "attention is like a spotlight," which is good. The author then goes on to indicate there are several ways to gain user's attention, such as, motion, surprise, big text, sound, and contrast and color. The author also indicates that attention to one element necessarily means a lack of attention toward another element. The author also often includes in a lesson an overall nugget, in this case, for this lesson, "Good UX is reductive, not expensive" — a version of less is more.

The book is a nice introduction for beginners, although with the lack of depth, a true beginner will need some support in applying the lessons of the book. This book might best be appropriate for an experienced beginner, who has some knowledge and experience with UX already, so they can apply the lessons within their developing knowledge framework.
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Contact Information

Peter Doolittle
Blacksburg, VA 24060
pdoo@vt.edu