Purchased the entire set of UX Books from Rosenfeld Media

Which was a hearty $209 for the digital versions.

I was listening to the UXpod podcast (not updated in 6 months, not sure if it’s dead, hope not) this morning on my way to the current contract, an interview with Christopher Noessel, co-author of Make It So, *Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction *.

Of course - I’m a huge speculative fiction fan so a book that let’s me work whilst still reading about SF has to be a winner.

The interview was only short but pleasingly stayed away from the elephant in the room (Star Trek LCARS system) although we did stray into the other obvious candidate, the gesture interfaces from Minority Report.

Regardless - I now have 14 extra UX books to read. Just as soon as I’ve got two big pieces of extra work out of the way (redesign and launch of the NAPICU clinical members site and an antique brooch boutique, Betsy Blue), I’ll be diving into these. My personal development tends to go in waves because of work comitments, solid work for 3 months, then 3 months of slightly less work whilst I also catch up on all the books I’ve bought and whittle my RSS feed back down to 0.

I’ll review here when I have the opportunity.

5 UX phrases that sound alarm bells

  1. This is an old favourite “To proceed, simply press the button to your left”. The phrase annoys me, managing to be condescending in a single word. As well as talking down to your audience it’s also a concrete admission of failure. If the next step in your users journey isn’t so obvious that it has sunk into the users brain the second the page appears then you should return to the drawing board.
  2. "Once you've filled in your details just go ahead and press continue". You fail at obvious next steps. Also an annoying Americanism used by Americans who haven't thought about the rest of the world whilst writing their content.
  3. "click here to continue" an oldie bit a goody I suppose. Your links should make sense out of context. That means, if everything else was taken off the page, the link still makes sense. This leads to verbose arrangements so think long and hard on your interface copy.
  4. But that bit is really cool” or some such riff when discussing a design element. Sounds far too much like you have picked your pet feature and stopped being objective about it. Noticing this, and acting upon it (by ditching the element) will help the design.
  5. The user won’t do that” - Are you sure? Did you test them? I’ve never, ever, failed to be genuinely surprised by something a user has done during a testing session. You are not omnipotent, you cannot see the future, we spend all day studying users and yet we can’t predict what they will do to our interface that only has 5 thing in it. Test. Then tell me that 95% of users won;t do that but we need to deal with the 5% who do.

Any more?

Using an onscreen timer to boost your productivity and stick to the two minute rule.

One part of GTD which I find difficult to gauge is - how long is 2 minutes? I mean really, what is actually 2 minutes of work and what’s 3, or5, or even 10.

To help, I’ve been using an onscreen timer to time myself, triggering the timer to start each time I start work on a new task. I’ve been using Timer By Ten.


  • Seems to make me work even faster, internal competitiveness?
  • I’m getting a (little) better at judging task length


  • It takes up more screen estate
  • Not integrated into task tracking app

I’m not convinced this is the best timer available, but it’s the best I’ve used so far, any suggestions for an improvement?

iTunes 11 Feature Request - View Ebooks by Category

I just wrote to Apple with an iTunes 11 feature request - view books by category. It seems to be the only issue I've had with a programme that was showing it's age, poor interface decisions and legacy problems.

Hi there - the new iTunes is great, really pleased with how it looks.

There is one quite glaring feature missing when it comes to books, there is no longer a view by category function - which used to be the default?

I manage a few hundred ebooks and I really do need a view by category, in the same way you have a view by author option. I'm sure that users with more than a dozen or so books would hugely appreciate this option and it would make my workflow with iTunes so much easier.

I look forward to this option being available in an update!