Have UX guru David Platt work with your development team, on site or remotely, with services customized to your needs. The earlier you bring me into the development process, the more money and time I’ll save you. Call today to discuss your specific needs. More...
The first and only comprehensive developers’ guide to achieving a world-class user experience
Learn why it does, and why it doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t.
David Platt brings you a week-long workshop, transferring skills while applying his UX principles to your specific project. Our workshop will get you moving quickly, avoiding blind alleys and wasted effort. More...
Success in today's software marketplace requires an excellent user experience (UX). That's why all developers, architects, and managers today need to understand the basic principles of UX, even if it's not their primary job. In this course, we take an in-depth look at the foundations of an excellent UX in a platform-agnostic manner. More...
David S. Platt teaches user experience engineering at Harvard University Extension School, and at companies all over the world. He is the author of 12 books, and of MSDN Magazine’s monthly back-page column “Don’t Get Me Started” . Microsoft designated him a Software Legend in 2002. He lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
A Book for Anyone Who Uses a Computer Today … and Just Wants to Scream!
Today’s software sucks. There’s no other good way to say it. It’s unsafe, allowing criminal programs to creep through the Internet wires into our very bedrooms. It’s unreliable, crashing when we need it most, wiping out hours or days of work with no way to get it back. And it’s hard to use, requiring large amounts of head-banging to figure out the simplest operations.
It’s no secret that software sucks. You know that from personal experience, whether you use computers for work or for personal tasks. In this book, programming insider David Platt explains why that’s the case and, more importantly, why it doesn’t have to be that way. And he explains it in plain, jargon-free English that's a joy to read, using real-world examples with which you're already familiar. In the end, he suggests what you, as a typical user, without a technical background, can do about this sad state of our software—how you, as an informed consumer, don’t have to take the abuse that bad software dishes out.
As you might expect from the book’s title, Dave’s exposé is laced with humor—sometimes outrageous, but always dead on. You’ll laugh out loud as you recall incidents with your own software that made you cry. You’ll slap your thigh with the same hand that so often pounded your computer desk and wished it was a bad programmer's face. But Dave hasn't written this book just for laughs. He’s written it to give long-overdue voice to your own discovery—that software does, indeed, suck, and it shouldn't—and to make you a wiser, happier citizen of our computer-using world.
“For years now, I’ve been running around preaching to anyone who’ll listen that UX is something that everybody (not just UX people) needs to be doing. Dave has done an excellent job of explaining what developers need to know about UX, in a complete but compact, easy-to-absorb and implementable form. Developers, come and get it!”
STEVE KRUG, author of Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Today, software must deliver an outstanding user experience: if it doesn't, it will fail. For developers, UX expertise isn't just "nice to have" anymore: it's a must. The Joy of UX is a comprehensive developer's guide to achieving world-class user experience.
Unlike previous "UX" guides, David Platt's guide is written from the standpoint of the developer who must successfully address user experience while also coping with all the technical, scheduling, and budget challenges of modern software projects. Platt takes a technology-agnostic approach to the principles and techniques of effective user experience development and addresses crucial issues such as telemetry and security that other UX guides largely ignore. Through concrete examples and a complete, start-to-finish case study, you'll learn how to
Recognize why so many software user experiences have been so terrible--and what can be done about that
Create personas that deepen your understanding of your users
Use stories to discover what problems your users are really trying to solve
Quickly implement and iterate user interfaces with wireframes and layouts
Test early to see how users reacted to your approach
Utilize telemetry to capture the best possible usage information
Make sense of the user data you capture
Solve the unique experience problems presented by mobile environments
Capture and effectively present "big data"
Address tradeoffs between security and usability
"Polish" your user experience to professional quality
Whether you're participating in UX development as a team member, implementing a UX someone else has already designed, or leading the entire process yourself, The Joy of UX will be your indispensable companion.
Jumpstart Workshops for Your Project
Have David Join Your UX Team
User Experience Engineering CSCI E-34
Success in today's software marketplace requires an excellent user experience (UX). That's why all
developers, architects, and managers today need to understand the basic principles of UX, even if it's
not their primary job. In this course, we take an in-depth look at the foundations of an excellent UX in a
platform-agnostic manner. We learn to ask and then answer the vital questions that everyone involved
in software needs to consider when making every design decision; we learn to start with the user, not
the toolkit. Who are our users and how do we represent them? What problems are these particular
users trying to solve, and what would they consider the characteristics of a good solution? How should
the user interaction flow, and how can we represent that with stories? How can we prototype and test
different designs? How can we create programs to learn what users really do, instead of what they can
remember doing or are willing to admit to doing? How can we measure how well we've succeeded?
Rather than getting into the implementation of such elements, we focus on how one decides what to
implement, and why, in order to make the user happier and more productive. For example, the web and
other channels contain an enormous amount of information about how to program a color gradient or
an animation. There is almost zero discussion anywhere about when to use a color gradient or
animation and when not to, or why you should use them in this situation but not in that one. This course
aims to correct that imbalance. Useful design tools, such as the Balsamiq mock-up editor, are discussed
as they bear on specific covered topics. Tools aimed primarily at user experience implementation, such
as Microsoft Expression Blend, are not covered.
Watch for advanced class coming soon.
Harvard Extension Courses
Invite me! I will come to you.
I'm offering a FREE speaking session to any software user group or meetup that
discusses my new book The Joy of UX. I'll give you my latest take on the industry and my It Just Works tm crusade. I'd like to hear what you think about the book and the computing industry.
We’ll work via Skype. I guarantee a great session. Contact me now to reserve your dates.
UX Jumpstart: Two-Day or Three-Day In-House Workshop, Featuring the Plattski Protocol™
By David S. Platt, Software Legend, Harvard University Extension School Instructor, Author of Why Software Sucks
These workshops jump-start your UX projects, while upgrading your team’s UX skills This isn’t an academic exercise. We tailor the work to your team’s current level, and we directly attack your specific UX problems. We provide a vertical slice through your UX.
The Jumpstart works especially well with an interdisciplinary team. Bring your developers, architects, business analysts, managers, tech support people, marketing; they all have insights to share.
"David's keynote "Why Software Sucks" at SD West was easily the most popular keynote we booked for the SD conference series -- so popular in fact that the Fire Marshall had to clear the auditorium due to overcrowding. David was inspiring, thought-provoking and, most of all, funny. If you have a chance to book him for your event, take it."
--Tami Carter, Former General Manager / Conference Director, SD Events.
David Platt is a spellbinding keynote speaker, sure to be the highlight of your conference. Just look at these examples. He’ll tailor the message to your conference, meet with your attendees, have dinner with your sponsors. Call early to reserve dates.
User Groups and Meetups
Why Does Software Suck? Because geeks drive stick-shift cars
Why does Software Suck? Because geeks think their customers are buying software
The mobile app provided by the Boston area’s commuter rail authority is absolutely terrible. It makes the classic mistake of making the user sort through all of its information to pick out the pieces she cares about. We examine a better alternative: automatically figuring out what each user actually needs, and automatically presenting these items in an easy to understand format. Read more...
Too many developers think that throwing elaborate graphical features into their application will somehow magically make their UX good. This case study examines three graphical features of Microsoft’s WPF environment. In the same application, I show each used in a good way and also in a bad way.
MBTA Commuter Rail Mobile App
Using WPF for Good and Not Evil
When you need some help with UX, you need it right away. You don’t have time to spin up a rookie. Sometimes it’s help in brainstorming, sometimes in the user iteration process. I can get on board quickly and get you moving ahead. Everything is customized to your exact needs. So call me, as early in the process as possible please. Together we’ll get your project storming ahead.