For Designers Who Read …

With UX being a young discipline, it's still hard to know what the required readings are (and in fact where there are readings aside from blog posts). However, a number of people have created compilations of appropriate books. Here they are:

Adaptive Path Reading List

The 101

If you're looking for a place to start, look no further than the list by Adaptive Path. This compilation includes a number of seminary texts (it doesn't hurt that a lot of them are ex-Adaptive Path employees), with comments on each book.

Simon Whitley – User Experience Books Free To Read Online

I want to read it … now!

The title is a misomer as not all of the books are free, but for this list is valuable for Jennifer Tidwell's 'Designing Interaces' alone.

Semantic Foundry: The UX Canon – Essential Reading for the User Experience Designer

Everything and the kitchen sink

Will Evans and Dave Malouf have created a comprehensive list of UX texts. The sheer size of it (and the lack of comments) does not make it for the faint hearted, but for those who know their Search Interfaces from Social Web will appreciate this text to check what they have and haven't read.

Karen McGrane – Interaction Design History Resources

Before IXDA …

Interesting compilation of texts from the beginning of computing/HCI.

Fat Dux – Customer Service Reading List

You say service, I say experience

A companion list for Eric Reiss's UX London talk, these books are an insight into the customer end of experience, with detailed explanation of their relevance.

Eric Stolterman – Design Thinking Reading List

Get up with the lingo

This list is more academic than pragmatic (think Klaus Krippendorf rather than Tom Peters), and unannnotated, but interesting for those looking to deepen their knowledge on design thinking.

Jonas Logren – Interaction Design Bookshelf

For those looking for variety

A wonderfully eclectic annotated biography, ranging from phenomenology to Arduino. Great list for those looking for a range.

Where are the Younger Voices?

I recently attended IXD10 (it rocked). But one thing concerned me – a defininite lack of younger people (not too many under 30, and next to none under 25, those few being students). What's more, I'd seen this happen at other conferences, and even looking around mailing lists. Where are the younger voices?

As someone in this age group, I know how difficult it can be to commiting money to a conference or time to a blog, and so on – if you're a student, you have no money, if you're working you're desperately trying to hone your skills – but this aging of the industry concerns me somewhat. Many of the pioneers in our industry were, as far as I can tell, pretty much as vocal when they were starting out 10 or 15 years ago as they are now. Where are the up-and-coming people prepared to juggle their job and be actively be involved in the larger industry?
It may be a matter of not feeling good enough. I know I battle this thought regularly, and I have to admit that at times I worry that my work in the UX community such as Johnny Holland and others maybe ought to be time spent improving my own craft. However, a student in the 'Future Leaders' podcast done by Jeff Parks at Interaction 10 tackled this by pointing out that while she'd love a mentor, she could potentially mentor those with less knowledge than her such as high school students. And when it comes to being involved in a community, the adage “99% percent of life is just showing up” is as true as ever.
In my previous life in industrial design, I did come across a different and more concerning reason – a feeling that things such as conferences, or even deeply investigating other peoples' work wasn't particularly relevant. I'd like to think this isn't so much of a problem in interaction design, but it could be a matter of maturity and respecting others knowledge that transcends disciplines.
Whatever it is, I hope it changes. We may not all be able to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or iJustine, but merely being at conferences, contributing to UX events, creating content. I hope that in the next few years people my age actively contributing to the industry won't seem like such of a minority. Not because our elders haven't been doing a great job, but because pretty soon, we'll be them.