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Lisa Min

Lisa Min

Akendi Alumnus

3 Books Every User Researcher Should Read

Before the beginning of every summer, I like to research and choose my summer reading list.  I try to balance my list with fiction and non-fiction books, alternating as I read on.  So with about a month left of sunny skies and warm weather, I thought I would share with you some of the classic non-fiction books that I like to re-read from time to time to keep me motivated as an experienced architect.

The Three Books that Highlight the Importance of Designing for the User, that I Recommend are


The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

The early edition was called ‘The Psychology of Everyday Things’ and affectionately referred to as ‘POET’ by those in the field. This book includes examples of items we use on a day-to-day basis that can make us feel inept – think VCRs.  He was one of the first to argue that human error is the fault not of the user but rather in the design of the product.

Set Phasers on Stun

Set Phasers on Stun by Steven Casey

This book contains several examples of real technological disasters that have happened due to poor design; where the technology wasn’t in line with how the intended user perceives information and thinks.  A great read!


The Human Factor by Kim Vicente

A personal favourite (perhaps because it’s written by a professor at the University I am a graduate of) but similar to ‘Set Phasers On Stun’, this book includes real world examples that will surprise you.  It is a quick and enjoyable read, and will keep you engaged until the very end.

These books remind me also that whatever we choose to call it, whether it be Human Factors, Human Computer Interaction, User Experience, Usability, User Interface Design etc. the focus of this area of work is to research and understand users in order to create an informed and intentional product.

What are some of your favourite reads that keep you motivated? Please share in the comments below.

Lisa Min

Lisa Min

Akendi Alumnus


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Akendi is a human experience design firm, leveraging equal parts experience research and creative design excellence. We provide strategic insights and analysis about customer and user behaviour and combine this knowledge with inspired design. The results enable organizations to improve effectiveness, engage users and provide remarkable customer experiences to their audiences.