The UX Book

Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience


  • Rex Hartson, Professor Emeritus, Computer Science, Virginia Tech
  • Pardha Pyla, Senior User Experience Specialist and Lead Interaction Designer for Mobile Platforms, Bloomberg LP

The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience aims to help readers learn how to create and refine interaction designs that ensure a quality user experience (UX). The book seeks to expand the concept of traditional usability to a broader notion of user experience; to provide a hands-on, practical guide to best practices and established principles in a UX lifecycle; and to describe a pragmatic process for managing the overall development effort. The book provides an iterative and evaluation-centered UX lifecycle template, called the Wheel, for interaction design. Key concepts discussed include contextual inquiry and analysis; extracting interaction design requirements; constructing design-informing models; design production; UX goals, metrics, and targets; prototyping; UX evaluation; the interaction cycle and the user action framework; and UX design guidelines. This book will be useful to anyone interested in learning more about creating interaction designs to ensure a quality user experience. These include interaction designers, graphic designers, usability analysts, software engineers, programmers, systems analysts, software quality-assurance specialists, human factors engineers, cognitive psychologists, cosmic psychics, trainers, technical writers, documentation specialists, marketing personnel, and project managers.
View full description


usability practitioners, experienced practitioners, project managers, usability and user experience consultants, software engineers, programmers, software testers, graduate and senior undergraduate students in user experience-related courses


Book information

  • Published: February 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-385241-0


"In this excellent new book, Rex Hartson and Pardha Pyla bring UX (user experience-the broad view of what started out as usability and usability testing) up to date…This comprehensive book brings together and updates so many of the books that have been part of any UX practitioner’s library that it could be the one book you now need to understand and practice UX design."--Technical Communication, August 2013
"This book is destined to become a primary reference for just about anyone involved in the development of interactive products of almost any kind.  It addresses both the design process and design principles and goes beyond traditional usability to address all aspects of the user experience.  The authors have distilled two careers’ worth of research, practice and teaching into a concise, practical and comprehensive guide for anyone involved in designing for the user experience of interactive products."- Deborah J. Mayhew,  Deborah J. Mayhew & Associates
"The UX Book covers the methods and guidelines for interaction design and evaluation that have been shown to be the most valuable to students and professionals. The students in my classes have been enthusiastic about the previous versions of this text that they used. This book will benefit anyone who wants to learn the right way to create high quality user experiences. Like good user interfaces, this text has been refined through multiple iterations and feedback with actual users (in this case, feedback from students and faculty who used earlier versions of the book in classes), and this is evident in the final result".-- Brad A. Myers, Professor, Human-Computer Interaction Institute, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
"The UX Book takes on a big challenge: a comprehensive  overview of what it takes to design great user experiences.  Hartson and Pyla combine theory with practical techniques: you leave the book knowing not just what to do, but why it's important."-Whitney Quesenbery, WQusability, author, Global UX: Design and research in a connected world
"This textbook on front end computer programming provides designers and programmers with practical information on the design of user interfaces that definitively enhance the user experience (UX). Topics discussed include general principles of UX design; contextual analysis; constructing design-informing models; UX goals, metrics, and targets; rapid evaluation methods; UX methods for agile development processes; and integration with general software engineering. Chapters include clear objectives, color illustrations, case studies, interviews with practitioners, and chapter exercises."--Reference and Research Book News, Inc.

Table of Contents



Guiding Principles for the UX Practitioner

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Ubiquitous interaction

1.2 Emerging desire for usability

1.3 From usability to user experience

1.4 Emotional impact as part of the user experience

1.5 User experience needs a business case

1.6 Roots of usability

Chapter 2: The Wheel: A Lifecycle Template

2.1 Introduction

2.2 A UX process lifecycle template

2.3 Choosing a process instance for your project

2.4 The system complexity space

2.5 Meet the user interface team

2.6 Scope of UX presence within the team

2.7 More about UX lifecycles

Chapter 3: Contextual Inquiry: Eliciting Work Activity Data

3.1 Introduction

3.2 The system concept statement

3.3 User work activity data gathering

3.4 Look for emotional aspects of work practice

3.5 Abridged contextual inquiry process

3.6 Data-driven vs. model-driven inquiry

3.7 History

Chapter 4: Contextual Analysis: Consolidating and Interpreting Work Activity Data

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Organizing concepts: work roles and flow model

4.3 Creating and managing work activity notes

4.4 Constructing your work activity affinity diagram (WAAD)

4.5 Abridged contextual analysis process

4.6 History of affinity diagrams

Chapter 5: Extracting Interaction Design Requirements

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Needs and requirements: first span of the bridge

5.3 Formal requirements extraction

5.4 Abridged methods for requirements extraction

Chapter 6: Constructing Design-Informing Models

6.1 Introduction

6.2 Design-informing models: second span of the bridge

6.3 Some general “how to” suggestions

6.4 A New example domain: slideshow presentations

6.5 User models

6.6 Usage models

6.7 Work environment models

6.8 Barrier summaries

6.9 Model consolidation

6.10 Protecting your sources

6.11 Abridged methods for design-informing models extraction

6.12 Roots of essential use cases in software use cases

Chapter 7: Design Thinking, Ideation, and Sketching

7.1 Introduction

7.2 Design paradigms

7.3 Design thinking

7.4 Design perspectives

7.5 User personas

7.6 Ideation

7.7 Sketching

7.8 More about phenomenology

Chapter 8: Mental Models and Conceptual Design

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Mental models

8.3 Conceptual design

8.4 Storyboards

8.5 Design influencing user behavior

8.6 Design for embodied interaction

8.7 Ubiquitous and situated interaction

Chapter 9: Design Production

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Macro view of lifecycle iterations for design

9.3 Intermediate design

9.4 Detailed design

9.5 Wireframes

9.6 Maintain a custom style guide

9.7 Interaction design specifications

9.8 More about participatory design

Chapter 10: UX Goals, Metrics, and Targets

10.1 Introduction

10.2 UX goals

10.3 UX target tables

10.4 Work roles, user classes, and UX goals

10.5 UX measures

10.6 Measuring instruments

10.7 UX metrics

10.8 Baseline level

10.9 Target level

10.10 Setting levels

10.11 Observed results

10.12 Practical tips and cautions for creating UX targets

10.13 How UX targets help manage the user experience engineering process

10.14 An abridged approach to UX goals, metrics, and targets

Chapter 11: Prototyping

11.1 Introduction

11.2 Depth and breadth of a prototype

11.3 Fidelity of prototypes

11.4 Interactivity of prototypes

11.5 Choosing the right breadth, depth, level of fidelity, and amount of interactivity

11.6 Paper prototypes

11.7 Advantages of and cautions about using prototypes

11.8 Prototypes in transition to the product

11.9 Software tools for prototyping

Chapter 12: UX Evaluation Introduction

12.1 Introduction

12.2 Formative vs. summative evaluation

12.3 Types of formative and informal summative evaluation methods

12.4 Types of evaluation data

12.5 Some data collection techniques

12.6 Variations in formative evaluation results

Chapter 13: Rapid Evaluation Methods

13.1 Introduction

13.2 Design walkthroughs and reviews

13.3 UX Inspection

13.4 Heuristic evaluation, a UX inspection method

13.5 Our practical approach to UX Inspection

13.6 Do UX Evaluation rite

13.7 Quasi-empirical UX evaluation

13.8 Questionnaires

13.9 Specialized rapid UX evaluation methods

13.10 More about “discount” UX engineering methods

Chapter 14: Rigorous Empirical Evaluation: Preparation

14.1 Introduction

14.2 Plan for rigorous empirical UX evaluation

14.3 Team roles for rigorous evaluation

14.4 Prepare an effective range of tasks

14.5 Select and adapt evaluation method and data collection techniques

14.6 Select participants

14.7 Recruit participants

14.8 Prepare for participants

14.9 Do final pilot testing: fix your wobbly wheels

14.10 More about determining the right number of participants

Chapter 15: Rigorous Empirical Evaluation: Running the Session

15.1 Introduction

15.2 Preliminaries with participants

15.3 Protocol issues

15.4 Generating and collecting quantitative UX data

15.5 Generating and collecting qualitative UX data

15.6 Generating and collecting emotional impact data

15.7 Generating and collecting phenomenological evaluation data

15.8 Wrapping up an evaluation session

15.9 The humaine project

Chapter 16: Rigorous Empirical Evaluation: Analysis

16.1 Introduction

16.2 Informal summative (quantitative) data analysis

16.3 Analysis of subjective questionnaire data

16.4 Formative (qualitative) data analysis

16.5 Cost-importance analysis: prioritizing problems to fix

16.6 Feedback to process

16.7 Lessons from the field

Chapter 17: Evaluation Reporting

17.1 Introduction

17.2 Reporting informal summative results

17.3 Reporting qualitative formative results

17.4 Formative reporting content

17.5 Formative reporting audience, needs, goals, and context of use

Chapter 18: Wrapping up Evaluation UX

18.1 Goal-directed UX evaluation

18.2 Choose your UX evaluation methods

18.3 Focus on the essentials

18.4 Parting thoughts: be flexible and avoid dogma during UX evaluation

18.5 Connecting back to the lifecycle

Chapter 19: UX Methods for Agile Development

19.1 Introduction

19.2 Basics of agile SE methods

19.3 Drawbacks of agile SE methods from the UX perspective

19.4 What is needed on the UX side

19.5 Problems to anticipate

19.6 A synthesized approach to integrating UX

Chapter 20: Affordances Demystified

20.1 What are affordances?

20.2 A little background

20.3 Four kinds of affordances in UX design

20.4 Affordances in interaction design

20.5 False cognitive affordances misinform and mislead

20.6 User-created affordances as a wake-up call to designers

20.7 Emotional affordances

Chapter 21: The Interaction Cycle and the User Action Framework

21.1 Introduction

21.2 The interaction cycle

21.3 The user action framework-adding a structured knowledge base to the interaction cycle

21.4 Interaction cycle and user action framework content categories

21.5 Role of affordances within the UAF

21.6 Practical value of UAF

Chapter 22: UX Design Guidelines

22.1 Introduction

22.2 Using and interpreting design guidelines

22.3 Human memory limitations

22.4 Selected UX design guidelines and examples

22.5 Planning

22.6 Translation

22.7 Physical actions

22.8 Outcomes

22.9 Assessment

22.10 Overall

22.11 Conclusions

Chapter 23: Connections with Software Engineering

23.1 Introduction

23.2 Locus of influence in an organization

23.3 Which scenario is right for you?

23.4 Foundations for success in SE-UX development

23.5 The challenge of connecting SE and UX

23.6 The ripple model to connect SE and UX

23.7 Conclusions

Chapter 24: Making It Work in the Real World

24.1 Putting it to work as a new practitioner

24.2 Be a smart UX practitioner

24.3 UX professionalism

24.4 Cost-justifying UX

24.5 UX within your organization

24.6 Parting words