Recently Filed in Books

Rocket Surgery Made Easy

Steve Krug’s “Rocket Surgery Made Easy” is an engaging, pragmatic, and quick read from an experienced expert in Web usability. If you’re considering qualitative studies, or want to do them but are stopped by budget constraints, this is a great introduction to the basics of user testing.

I only have one thing I’d add to his text. It’s easy to focus on finding all the problems—and only on finding problems. When doing any kind of testing or editing, I also try to pay attention to what is working, because:

  • It balances out “Everything is horrible!” impressions
  • You can use what’s working as a model for similar areas
  • If we don’t note what ain’t broke, it’s easy for it to be casually changed by someone’s preference

Krug gets at this a bit via his mandate “When fixing problems, try to do the least you can do”—I just like to give it a smidge more focus.

As always, I’m a fan of my local library, but you can also buy it on Amazon.

Happy testing!

Cover image by Joel Best

While a fascinating read for all of us, this is most applicable if you're combining secondary research with your surveys. You'll never look at "facts" the same way again.


Cover imageby Darrell Huff

There’s a reason this is still in print after 50 years, and that’s because we still fall for the same creative charting tricks.


Cover image by Howard Schuman & Stanley Presser

Despite being in a quantitative industry, surveyors rarely conduct tests to measure what happens when we rearrange questions, add a neutral point in a scale, or make other adjustments. If you're ready to absorb some more advanced issues, complete with footnotes, this is a great book to pick up. Note that the 1996 copyright is simply a reprint of the 1981 text.


Cover image by Harry Beckwith

When you want to broaden your perspective, this will help you understand how customer and employee satisfaction mixes with and reinforces other marketing efforts. While the author focuses on services, it's useful in any industry—we're all competing on intangibles these days.


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