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Another review!

Category: Self-indulgence

My book was reviewed by Christine Wiegand for the SAP Design Guild. She liked it and said it was long. I'm glad about the former and can't argue with the latter. ;-) She liked the practical aspects of it and correctly identified that there should be a shorter description of some of the techniques. I agree and I've thought that there's a place in the market for "The Guerilla Guide to User Experience Research."

In the interim, please note that the book is written so that pieces of it can be read without needing to read the whole. It's designed to be used like a cookbook, rather than read like a novel.


Please, please, please don't write a guerilla guide!

The detail is important. The depth of what we do and why we do it and all of the background and learning and experience that goes into understanding and developing sound techniques is important.

Guerilla guides don't teach anyone about why they should do something, the little things they should watch out for, the things that can seriously bias their results, and how to use the good parts of their brains to analyse their observations. Guerilla guides give people a false sense that they can do this, and that if they follow steps A-E they will get a miracle answer to all of their problems.

And guerilla techniques don't help our users - at all!

So, stick with depth, quality and learning, not attractive, quick solutions!

Wow. That's the most passionately argued reason for not doing a "quick and dirty" version of my book I've heard. Thank you. It makes a lot of sense. Though I still wonder if there IS a way to present some of the information in a more easily-digested format. I'd like there to be.

My thinking has been:
Teaching people WHY something is the way it is tells them which aspects are most flexible and how to maximize the value of a technique. But just following a "just do this, don't ask questions" approach can produce useful results without the overhead of learning the "why." It's the "give a fish" vs "teach to fish" question. Sometimes I think there's value to just giving someone the fish. ;-)

On that note, I've always liked Information & Design's technique notes, which do a great job of capturing the core of how to do user research techniques:


Mike, I recently bought your book and had to let you know that I love it. It really hits a sweet spot between the Guerilla Guide and the Academic Text.

Really well written, insightful, and, best of all, useful. thanks for writing it.

PS. the comment above mine is spam.

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