What I will be reading this summer – besides the 7 parts of the Seven Sisters ;-)

I am one of those people who just love books: wandering through a bookstore, looking at different book covers, glancing over the content, reading the first lines.

I am also one of those people who just never find the time to actually read the book. I want to, but there is always something else more pressing to do. 

But then there’s the summer.

Holiday, children playing at the pool, nothing going on. Time to catch up on my reading. This year I plan to take with me:

The Jobs To Be Done Playbook by Jim Kalbach

The Jobs to be Done theory is not new, but Jim has a lot of practical experience in applying it. With the JTBD theory, you force yourself to look at the user problem, without the constraints of the solution space your organization is working in. It also offers a practical language for UX researchers to talk to designers, but also marketing professionals and other stakeholders. 

I was fortunate enough to attend one of Jim Kalbach workshops recently, learned a lot, and I am now looking forward to reading more about it.

The Jobs To Be Done Playbook

Race After Technology – Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code by Ruha Benjamin

Do you remember the video that went viral some years ago of two individuals trying to wash their hands with an automatic soap dispenser: the soap didn’t come out for the person with darker skin. In the development of the soap dispenser, skin tone was not taken into account apparently. 

Ruha is associate professor of African American studies at Princeton University, and she studies the effect of social context and existing biases in how technology is developed. With this book she wants to offer us tools for analysis and change. 

Feels very relevant for us UX researchers as well. 

Race After Technology

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk

Many years ago I studied psychology. A lot of the theories I learned during college are now outdated, refuted or extended. Susan Weinschenk is a behavioural psychologist herself and translates current scientific knowledge into practical information for UX people. I am waiting for the second edition of her book to appear later this month.  

This summer I hope to freshen up my knowledge of the human psyche.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People

Dare to Ask – Els Dragt & Jeroen Timmer

Els and Jeroen look into the craft of people asking questions. They state that asking questions helps us to establish connections, learn and transform.

Thus far nothing new for us UX researchers.

For their book, however, Els and Jeroen took inspiration from Socrates and Einstein, but they also interviewed a detective and a hairdresser to learn more about the craft of asking questions. 

I expect it to be a fun and interesting read, just relaxing at the poolside. 

Dare to Ask

What are the UXR books on your summer reading list?

Maybe you will not have any time to read this summer, watching over your small children not drowning, or working extra hours making up for some lost time. But still, we would love to know what’s on your list.

Karin den Bouwmeester (she/her)

Karin is the founder of UXinsight. With over 20 years of hands-on research experience, she’s determined to help the research community grow to a mature level. She loves to connect UX researchers from all over the world and facilitating user research training and workshops.

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