10 Holiday Gift Ideas For UX’ers

10 Holiday Gift Ideas For UX’ers

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The holidays are coming for most of us. In the Netherlands, where I am from, we mostly celebrate Sinterklaas on December 5th. It is a children’s festival where they receive gifts from ‘Saint Nick’. My kids love it, my family loves it, but what do we as User Experience professionals enjoy getting around the holidays?

Have any of you managed to explain to family and friends well enough what it is that you do, and have you ever received UX related gifts?

What’s on your holiday wishlist?

I’m not sure about you, but I can name at least 20 things for my UX holiday gift wish list.

As a UX professional we usually need a little more than a developer, or an analyst. We work in the vast gap between these two types of professionals where we rely on data, code, but also physical and online tools to get our work done.

WozniakLooking in my own bag that I carry around with me everyday, no it’s not as bad as Wozniak’s bag, here is what I have on me at all time:

  • MacBook
  • iPad 2 (includes many work related books and apps)
  • Kindle Paperwhite (for when I have some free time to read)
  • Lined notepad
  • Sketch notepad
  • Pencil case (including pens/markers/pencils)
  • Mr Tappy Test Rig
  • GorillaPod Hybrid Tripod
  • Glif for iPhone 4/5
  • Nikon Pocket camera
  • Various size SIM cards (prepaid, with data, various providers)
  • Various chargers & cables
  • Duracell battery pack (field testing without it is dangerous)
  • Paracetamol (for after those internal political discussions)
  • Deodorant (essential)

Nothing spectacular, but definitely for me serious tools to keep with me while on the move. It helps me to do work no matter where I go. I can field test, record usability sessions, test devices/services, take notes, make sketches, read, relieve that headache… and stay fresh 😉

I am curious… what do you have in your bag? Please share in the comments 🙂

10 Holiday Gift Ideas For UX’ers

Alright, now that I have gotten your braincells moving, spinning, and working on coming up with your own wish list, let me help you out with 10 holiday gift ideas for UX’ers that will seriously help you become better at your game in 2014.

1. Just Enough Research by Erika Hall (eBook) – $9

just enough research by erika hall

Design research is a hard slog that takes years to learn and time away from the real work of design, right? Wrong.

Good research is about asking more and better questions, and thinking critically about the answers. It’s something every member of your team can and should do, and which everyone can learn, quickly. And done well, it will save you time and money by reducing unknowns and creating a solid foundation to build the right thing, in the most effective way.

In Just Enough Research, co-founder of Mule Design Erika Hall distills her experience into a brief cookbook of research methods. Learn how to discover your competitive advantages, spot your own blind spots and biases, understand and harness your findings, and why you should never, ever hold a focus group. You’ll start doing good research faster than you can plan your next pitch. (Source: ABookApart.com)

Learn more at A Book Apart

2. Moleskin Sketch Notebook Large (Tool) – $19.95

Moleskin Sketchbook

What is there to say about a Moleskin Sketchbook? It’s awesome quality at a good price. 🙂

Learn more at Moleskin

3. Balsamiq Mockups (App) $79

Balsamiq Mockups

And I couldn’t agree more. I have been using Balsamiq Mockups, the desktop version, for over 4 years now. If you want to ‘try before you buy’ then make use of our 90-Day Extended Trial deal (offer ends December 31st 2013) for myBalsamiq, the online version. You won’t be disappointed!

Learn more at Balsamiq

4. UI Stencils Case (Tool) – $32

UI Stencil Case GIF

If an image is worth a thousand words… then what is the going rate for an animated gif these days? Oh, and to be sure, contents of the stencil case are not included. I know, I know, a big let down, but don’t worry, look around the UI Stencil webshop, I am sure you’ll find plenty of UX tools to satisfy the most hardcore UX professional.

Learn more at UI Stencil

5. Mr Tappy Mobile Test Rig (Tool) – $295

Mr Tappy Mobile Usability Test RigRegular readers of my blog or newsletter will know who I mean when I mention Mr. Tappy. In a previous article I gave a demonstration of the test while using an iPad and iPhone (to record). Together, these or other mobile devices together with Mr. Tappy proved to be a valuable piece of kit to have on you when you are working on mobile usability research.

The kit comes with everything you need to conduct a mobile usability test, but you will need to bring your own mobile device (to test), and a camera of some sorts (I used my iPhone together with a Glif).

Learn more at Mr. Tappy or read review

6. Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition Fine Point Stylus (Tool) – $74.95

Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition Fine Point Stylus

Those clunky, squishy-tipped styluses just didn’t do it for us. So Evernote asked their friends at Adonit if they were game to build something specifically for the art of note taking. Enter the Jot Script Evernote Edition, the first true precision-point stylus that allows your handwriting to flow as freely as your thoughts. (Source: Evernote Market)

Learn more at Evernote Market

7. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug (Book) – $32

dont make me think revisited coverSteve Krug’s new book is the 3rd version to date. Since launching his Don’t Make Me Think book in 2000, it has become a huge international success. It has been used by countless of people to educate themselves about the importance of proper usability and its effects on the online visitor. A better beginner’s course does not exist.

Are you a UX pro already, then at least have the book with you to kind-of-explain to other people, in layman’s terms, what it is you do all day. Trust me, it will help. And who knows, with the new chapter on Mobile Usability, you might even learn something new yourself.

Learn more about Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think Revisited

8. UX Pin 1-year Subscription (App) – $179.85

UX Pin

“No, no, no, Balsamiq and UX Pin are not alike.” There, I have said it. Where Balsamiq Mockups is a great desktop tool to create mockups with, it is a little limited in interactivity. I recommend Balsamiq Mockups because it works offline, it’s quick, and let’s me design mockups without too much fuss.

UX Pin rocks! UX Pin’s Mercin Treder has been steamrolling the competition over the last year by simplifying his pricing plans, and supercharging his mockup/prototyping tool. The all-in-1 tool at just $14.99 a month is a must have for any UX’er working on mockup/prototyping projects be it, desktop, mobile, or even responsive, UX Pin has got you covered.

Learn more at UX Pin

9. Copic Markers 6 Pack (Tool) – $40

copic marker 6 packIt all starts with pencils. Remember those 2B pencils from elementary school (keep in mind I am 37 years old)? Well, drawing, sketching has seriously since those days sitting behind your desk in second grade. Copic markers, sold by UI Stencils, pack a serious punch.

Maybe they’re even a little bit cooler than the bigger 12 pack of Copic markers? This set gives you everything you need to make a rocking comp. Take your wireframe sketching technique to the next level by adding tone and depth to your sketches. Emphasise content and call to action. Make your sketching pop with higher contrast.

Learn more at UI Stencils

10. The Ultimate Guide to Usability by David Travis (Course) – $99

UX Ultimate Guide Course Udemy

Boost your job prospects in user experience by taking this practical, content-rich, hands-on training course.

Not only will you discover the steps needed to create great user experiences, you’ll also get the chance to try them out on a design problem you’re working on right now.

Sign up now to get lifetime access to this course. With Udemy’s 30-day money-back guarantee, it’s risk-free.

Learn more at Udemy

About Matthew Niederberger

Matthew works as Conversion Optimisation Manager at Ziggo BV. In his free time he enjoys family life as well as digging into online user research material whilst frequently generating some of his own, which he freely shares here on actualinsights.com.

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