Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

Book Review - Doorbells, Danger and Dead Batteries

I have just finished reading Steve Portigal’s Doorbells, Danger and Dead Batteries, User Research War Stories.

This is a book about field research. But it is more than that, this is a book about people, how we interact with them, how we can learn from them, how we should not judge them, how to learn from your mistakes and so much more.

Book on table.
Doorbells, Danger and Dead Batteries, User Research War Stories by Steve Portigal

It is actually a collection of stories from Researchers across the world. And these are war stories, about when things did not quite go to plan. We can all empathise with the stories of forgetting to set your alarm, or not having spare batteries for the recording device, but what about research participants who are blatantly lying about their experiences or whose beliefs do not match your own?

Steve really believes that by acknowledging our failures we can improve ourselves (check book for quote here)

If you are thinking about going out into the field, this is the perfect read to set you on your way. It will not stop you from making your own mistakes, but it can help you to start thinking about some of the sorts of things that could happen.

If you have already been out in the field this book will have you nodding your head in agreement/acknowledgment at some of the things you may well have experienced yourself, or indeed make you glad that you have not experienced it yourself!

Wherever you stand on user research this is a great read, if only to understand a bit more about our fellow humans.

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