New Book Tour for 2016

photo of a deserted road

Want to host a Brain Lady keynote and/or workshop?

I’ll be going on the road in 2016 for a book tour for my new book: 100 MORE Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People. We are looking for some sponsoring partners.

We’re flexible, but here are the basics — We are looking for companies and organizations that want to bring us in for a keynote or workshop internally, or who want to partner with us to host and help market a public keynote and/or workshop in select cities.

If you are interested, let us know: info@theteamw.com and we can talk details.

100 MORE Things

Cover Of New BookSome of you who read my blog may know about my book 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People. The book came from a series of blog posts by a similar name that I started several years ago. Thank you to everyone that helped that book be as successful as it has been.

You may or may not have noticed the last few blog posts that I’ve written:

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder’s Age, Gender, And Geography

The Best Way To Process Big Data Is Unconsciously

People Read Only 60% Of An Online Article

These have been from my NEW book that has just “hit the shelves” (and the online distribution channels too!). It’s 100 MORE Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People. It’s all new stuff, and most of it is from research that has come out since the first 100 Things book was written.

I hope you check it out and I hope you enjoy it. If you do read a copy please consider writing a review at Amazon.

And if you are interested in purchasing the book now, here’s a link, and thank you in advance!

Top 10 Favorite UX And Usability Books

It’s been over a year since I wrote my last Top 10 book list for Usability and UX, so I decided it’s time to update the list.

Since I’m limiting the list here to 10, chances are high you have a favorite that I’ve not included. Let me know what your favorites are in the comments.

I have an Amazon affiliate account, so I’ve linked to the books on Amazon if you are interested in purchasing, or even just getting more info.

The list below is in no particular order:

1. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. This is a newer edition of the book. Steve is such a great writer (and an all round great guy!). He has a way of cutting through all the chatter and clutter and bringing out the essence of a topic. If you are going to get one book for your team to introduce them to human-centered design thinking, then this should be the book.

2. Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug is the other necessary book if you are doing usability testing. And you ARE doing usability testing, right? This book will teach you everything you need to know about how to plan and conduct a user test of your product.

3. Forms That Work by Caroline Jarrett and Gerry Gaffney. If you are designing anything that has a form: a web page, web app, software application, mobile app, or even a paper form, you must read this book. It’s practical and also conceptual — my favorite book on form design.

4. The User Experience Team of One by Leah Buley. I don’t agree with this title. Because this is a great book even if you are a UX team of 10! This is the best book I’ve found that walks you through processes, deliverables, and what you need to do in a very clear and readable way. Not ponderous. A really hands-on book.

5. Communicating the User Experience: A Practical Guide for Creating Useful UX Documentation by Richard Caddick and Steve Cable. In an era where many are calling for “lean UX”, and the end of the formal deliverable, I am going to be so bold as to say that there are many times and situations when you should create deliverables for communicating your user experience work, and luckily this book will show you how to do that. It’s practical and innovative at the same time. A must-read for practitioners who have to create deliverables for their projects.

6. Smashing UX Design: Foundations for designing online user experiences by Jesmond Allen and James Chudley. This book has everything. It will walk you through the idea of user centered design, teach you the details of how to do everything (stakeholder research, user research, wireframing, prototyping, user test, etc etc,) and then will show you how they did it with case studies. A great book for the UX practitioner, whether new or experienced.

7. Client Centric Web Design by Paul Boag. Have you ever had your design or UX project blow up? Misunderstandings with clients? Then you need to read this book. Paul takes the point of view of the client, not just the user. This book has critical advice for anyone who works on web design/UX design projects for clients. Unless you are only designing your own personal website, you need to read this book. It’s not available on Amazon, just through his site.

8. Measuring the User Experience by Tom Tullis and Bill Albert. Need metrics? Need numbers to back up your impressions? This is the go to book for everything measurable about the user experience. Really thorough and detailed.

9. Quantifying the User Experience: Practical statistics for user research by Jeff Sauro and James Lewis. The word “statistics” scares a lot of people. I love statistics, but I understand that many others don’t. Whether you love ’em or not, you should read this book. If you are friends with stats then you’ll enjoy the book. And if you’re not you really NEED to read it! Don’t be afraid. Jeff Sauro is a master at getting people to understand the why and how of stats for user experience.

10. UX For Lean Startups by Laura Klein. I have a lot to say about Lean UX. I’m a fan, but I also think there are misconceptions about what it means, where it comes from, how it’s different from “not lean” UX. I’ll leave you find out all my opinions in my Lean UX Workshop course! Let’s just say you should know about Lean UX. And this is the best book to learn it from.

 

Which makes 11!

(You might also be interested in my top 10 Psychology books to read.)

What are your favorites?

How To Get People To Do Stuff Book Tour

bookcover

To celebrate my new book, I’m going on a book tour! I will be touring the US and Europe and speaking on the new book How to Get People to Do Stuff.

If you’d like me to come speak/lead a discussion or have a Q&A in your city or for your group, let me know. These sessions are FREE. You need to provide the location and room. I do a one-hour session. Before and after the session books are available for purchase and I am available to sign them.

I’m putting together the schedule of locations now, so if you are interested you should let me know. Preference is given to groups who can publicize the event,can accommodate a large audience (i.e., 300 people), and fit into my travel schedule and map!

If you are interested contact me at susan@theteamw.com

 

Top 10 Best Usability, and UX Books You Should Read

Part of the work I do is to consult, mentor and teach how to design technology products so that they better fit how people work, think, and play. The teams I work with often ask me for my ideas on the best books to read in this field. So I thought I’d update my list of favorite usability and user experience books.

There are lots of great books these days, and I’m limiting the list here to 10, so chances are you have a favorite that I’ve not included. Let me know what your favorites are in the comments.

I have an Amazon affiliate account, so I’ve linked to the books on Amazon if you are interested in purchasing, or even just getting more info.

The list below is in no particular order:

1. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. Steve is such a great writer (and an all round great guy!). He has a way of cutting through all the chatter and clutter and bringing out the essence of a topic. If you are going to get one book for your team to introduce them to human-centered design thinking, then this should be the book.

2. Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug is the other necessary book if you are doing usability testing. And you ARE doing usability testing, right? This book will teach you everything you need to know about how to plan and conduct a user test of your product.

3. Forms That Work by Caroline Jarrett and Gerry Gaffney. If you are designing anything that has a form: a web page, web app, software application, mobile app, or even a paper form, you must read this book. It’s practical and also conceptual — my favorite book on form design.

4. Usable Usability: Simple Steps For Making Stuff Better by Eric Reiss. Eric combines what usability is, why it’s important, and how you do it, in one easy to read book. Give this book to anyone who needs to understand an overview of usability concepts in an interesting and practical way. Written with wit and clarity.

 

5. Communicating the User Experience: A Practical Guide for Creating Useful UX Documentation by Richard Caddick and Steve Cable. In an era where many are calling for “lean UX”, and the end of the formal deliverable, I am going to be so bold as to say that there are many times and situations when you should create deliverables for communicating your user experience work, and luckily this book will show you how to do that. It’s practical and innovative at the same time. A must-read for practitioners who have to create deliverables for their projects.

6. Smashing UX Design: Foundations for designing online user experiences by Jesmond Allen and James Chudley. This book has everything. It will walk you through the idea of user centered design, teach you the details of how to do everything (stakeholder research, user research, wireframing, prototyping, user test, etc etc,) and then will show you how they did it with case studies. A great book for the UX practitioner, whether new or experienced.

7. Client Centric Web Design by Paul Boag. Have you ever had your design or UX project blow up? Misunderstandings with clients? Then you need to read this book. Paul takes the point of view of the client, not just the user. This book has critical advice for anyone who works on web design/UX design projects for clients. Unless you are only designing your own personal website, you need to read this book. It’s not available on Amazon, just through his site.

 
8. Measuring the User Experience by Tom Tullis and Bill Albert. Need metrics? Need numbers to back up your impressions? This is the go to book for everything measurable about the user experience. Really thorough and detailed.

9. Quantifying the User Experience: Practical statistics for user research by Jeff Sauro and James Lewis. The word “statistics” scares a lot of people. I love statistics, but I understand that many others don’t. Whether you love ’em or not, you should read this book. If you are friends with stats then you’ll enjoy the book. And if you’re not you really NEED to read it! Don’t be afraid. Jeff Sauro is a master at getting people to understand the why and how of stats for user experience.

10. Card Sorting by Donna Spencer. This is a little book and just about one topic, card sorting, but it’s a great book and worth reading and having on your bookshelf if you need to learn about the user research technique of card sorting. It also has lots of great information about user research in general.

and one more bonus book: I hope you forgive me, but I’m going to recommend my own book: 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People.

Which makes 11!

(You might also be interested in my top 10 Psychology books to read.)

What are your favorites?

The Top 10 Psychology Books You Should Read

NOTE: I’ve updated this list. Go to this blog post for the newest list of Best Psychology Books.

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post about my favorite psychology and usability books. Since then there have been more great psychology books to hit the bookstores, so I thought it was time to update the list.I’ve also decided to split the list, so this one is just psychology books. I’ll do another post on UX and Design books.

I do have an Amazon affiliate account, so I’ve included a link to each book after the description if you are interested in purchasing or just getting more info.

1. Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, 2011 – If you want to understand how people think and how and why they react, then this is a must read. Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel prize winner in Economics, but this book is all about how people think and react. It’s very well written, but I will warn you, it’s not an easy read. Plan to spend time reading this one. But it will be worth it for the understanding you get into why we do the things we do.

 

2. Redirect, by Timothy Wilson, 2011 – This is the second book of Timothy Wilson’s on my list. If you want to know how to make permanent and lasting change in your behavior, or the behavior of someone you know, then this is the book to read. Wilson covers the recent and often very surprising research on interventions and therapies that result in people actually changing. Permanent behavior change is hard to come by. This book tells you what does and doesn’t work based on research.


 

3. Drive, by Daniel Pink, 2011 – What really motivates people? This book covers the research on human motivation in the last few years. It’s well written, and an easy read, and will explode some long-standing beliefs.

 

4, The Invisible Gorilla by Chabris and Simon, 2011 – Chabris and Simon explain their research that shows how what we think we are seeing and experiencing is not really what’s out there. A fun book about how we deceive ourselves.


 

5. Strangers to Ourselves: The Adaptive Unconscious, by Timothy Wilson, 2004 – This is the book that actually got me started seriously on the topic of the unconscious. I had read Blink (Malcolm Gladwell) and although that was an interesting book, I wanted more depth and detail. Gladwell referenced Wilson’s book so I started reading it and light bulbs went off for me. This one is a bit more academic and psychological, especially the first few chapters, but all in all, a great book with lots of interesting insights and strong research.

 

6. Stumbling on Happiness by Dan Gilbert, 2007 – This is a fun read. I don’t think it’s really about Happiness, so I don’t totally understand the title. To me it’s mainly about memory of the past, and anticipation about the future, and the research on how accurate or inaccurate we are about both past and future. It’s full of fascinating research, but is written in a very readable way.

 

7. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini, 2006 – This is a newer version of the original book that came out several years ago. This book is the “granddaddy” of all the other books on the topic of persuasion. A very worthwhile read. Interesting too, because at the time he originally wrote this book each chapter had a section on how to RESIST the persuasive techniques. He wasn’t a proponent of using them; he wanted you to know about them so you wouldn’t fall prey. He did a turn-around on that mindset for his later work and writing.

 

8. Brain Rules: 12 Principles For Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, by John Medina, 2009 – This is a somewhat misleading book. From the way it’s described you would think it’s a very practical book, for everyone, not academic or research oriented. But actually it’s quite a treasure trove of research, which I think is a good thing. He has this weird section at the end of each chapter where he tells you how to apply the principles in that chapter to your everyday life. I think those sections are the weakest, actually. But the material in the body of each chapter is solid, well referenced and well written. If you want a basic book that explains some basic brain functioning I would definitely read this book.

 

9. Predictably Irrational, by Dan Ariely, 2008. There is some great content in this book, but I have a basic disagreement with the premise. If you have read my blog posts or books you know that I believe that it is not that our decision-making or mental processing is “irrational”.  It’s unconscious, but that doesn’t mean irrational or bad. Our unconscious mental processing works most of the time. Ariely’s view is that we are irrational and irrational means bad, and that we should learn how to counteract our mental processing. I don’t agree. But the research in the book is still good (it’s his interpretations and recommendations I take issue with).


 

10. And please forgive me if I put one of my books on the list! — my latest: How To Get People To Do Stuff

Do you agree with my list? Do you have some favorites that I’ve failed to mention?

If you like psychology check out the YouTube channel Brain Signals. It’s a collaboration between the Brain Lady and animator Truscribe.

 

Top 10 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People: #1 – People learn best in 20 minute chunks

20 Minutes

I’m wrapping up my new book, 100 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People (It’s available for pre-order and will ship on May 17th), so I thought I’d take some ideas from the book for some blog posts. I’ve picked my 10 favorites (always hard for me to pick only 10 when I love all 100!), and will do a “Top 10” series here in the blog. This is the first post in the series.

When I am coaching and mentoring people on presentations I almost always recommend that they watch some TED talks. If you aren’t familiar with TED talks, go to www.ted.com and watch some. These are short talks by accomplished people in their fields. Most of these people don’t earn their living making presentations, but all of the presentations are very interesting. You can learn a lot about effective presentations watching TED talks.

Most TED talks are 20 minutes long —  I think that’s one reason why they are so effective. These same presentations stretched out to an hour might not be quite so brilliant.

20-minute presentations are an ideal amount of time —  Maureen Murphy tested this idea in an experiment. She had adults attending a 60 minute presentation at work, and tested to see the difference in memory and reaction to the same talk given in one 60 minute long presentation, versus a presentation that had 20 minute segments with short breaks in between. What Dr. Murphy found was that the people enjoyed the 20-minute chunked presentations more, learned more information immediately after, and retained more information a month later.

Plan your presentation in 20 minute chunks —  See if you can build in some kind of change every 20 minutes. For maximum learning you want a break every 20 minutes, as opposed to just a change of topic. The best ways to accomplish this are:

  • If you are presenting for more than one hour you probably have a break planned. Time the break so that it comes at one of these 20 minute time periods.
  • Instead of taking one long break, take several short ones. For example, it is common for a half-day workshop to go from 9 to 11:30 or 9 to 12 with one 20-30 minute break at around 10:30. Instead of one 30 minute break, have one 15 minute break and then 3 other short 5 minute breaks.
  • When I am presenting I sometimes introduce short “stretch” breaks. These are anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes in length. I just announce, “Let’s take a short 3 minute stretch break”. I time these to fall in the 20 minute intervals.
  • If you have activities, exercises, or interactions, plan them at 20 minute intervals. Although they are not true breaks, they allow people to assimilate the information just presented.

If you want to read the research:

Murphy, Maureen. 2012. Improving learner reaction, learning score, and knowledge retention through the chunking process in corporate training. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library.http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5137/.

And if you want to check out the book here’s a link to Amazon:

 

 

"Bad Powerpoint Presentations Are A Serious Threat To The Global Economy"

IPresenter Book Cover   
100 Things Every Presenter Needs To Know About People

In his TED talk, John Bohannon says that “bad powerpoint presentations are a serious threat to the global economy”. He estimates that:

Each day $250,000,000  (USD) is spent on presentations, assuming each presentation is ½ hour long, with an average audience of 4 people that have an average salary of $35,000 USD.

Each day there are 30,000,000 presentations created

¼ of presentations are a total waste of time

$100,000,000,000 (USD) is wasted globally on presentations each year

I don’t know how accurate his numbers are, but I do know that I feel blessed when I see/attend a great presentation, and bored and antsy when I”m watching/attending a bad one.Which got me thinking about why a lot of presentations are so bad, and only a few are good. Having been a presenter all of my adult life, I’m dedicated to, and fascinated by, the science of giving a great presentation, and therefore decided to make that my next book: 100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People.

Score a free copy of the book — For this book I am including “Stories From The Field” which is a collection of tips and stories from YOU. I’m asking people to send me their presentation tips, techniques, good, and disaster stories. If I use the story or tip you send me in the book, then you’ll get a free copy of the book (due out in May).

So if you have stories, tips or techniques email them to me at: thebrainlady@gmail.com

Thanks!

 

Gamestorming — An Interview With Author Dave Gray

Picture of Dave Gray
Dave Gray

I actually can’t remember how I came upon the book Gamestorming. I probably read a review of it on one of the blogs I regularly read. I ordered the book and started reading it right before I was going to leave for a trip to meet with a client team. The book is full of design “games” and other group activities that you can do with teams. I read through it to see if there were some new ideas I could use for my meeting. I picked out two “games” to use with my client. They were a great success, making the meeting more productive, efficient, and fun for me and the team.

I contacted one of the authors, Dave Gray, to see if he would be willing to do a podcast interview with me.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on this link

In the interview we talk about:

  • Different ways to do brainstorming that are more interesting and more effective
  • An interesting activity called “dot voting” that I tried out at my meeting
  • The history of the corportate meeting, and how meetings have evolved over time
  • Why having someone facilitate a meeting is a bad idea and what to do instead
  • Why design games and meeting games can make your meetings and sessions more powerful and productive
  • A low-tech social network “game” you can use with up to 100 people in the room that makes invisible connections tangible and visible
  • A quick simple “game” you can use to help keep your meetings on task and on time.

Have you read the book? If so, comment on what you think.

Here’s a link to Amazon if you are interested in the book:

 

Here’s how to contact Dave Gray and get more info:

website for the book: Gogamestorm.com

twitter for Dave: @davegray