“Selling Usability,” by John Rhodes.

April 1, 2009

Topics: Usability.

The worst thing I can say about John Rhodes is that the writing coming from his usability blog has been alarmingly infrequent in the last couple of years. 13 posts in the last 12 months just doesn’t really cut it!

Thankfully, the reason for his blogging silence is pretty straightforward: he’s been writing a book. Sweet!

The book is entitled “Selling Usability,” which is a bit of a misnomer, since the subject of the book is perhaps more accurately described as “Making Usability Happen, Despite the Regrettable Lack of Understanding on the Part of Your Managers.” To be fair, that would be a pretty unusable title.

It’s clear within the first 20 pages that John and I share a core philosophy concerning the application of usability: as much as you’d like people to buy in to the core ideals of user experience, you need them to buy in to making the change. By hook or by crook, making the change is what needs to happen in the end.

You can only teach those who are willing to learn; but you can guide anybody to the right decision if you use the arguments they understand and care about.

Selling Usability: User Experience Infiltration Tactics is a guide to convincing decision-makers towards user-experience focused decisions by using business-focused arguments and tactics.

“Selling Usability” is about communicating effectively.

John’s writing is frank and clear. He writes in a casually persuasive voice which quickly drives through the description of a problem into the analysis of why this is a problem — and how you might start to solve it.

This book is not about usability. You’ll learn a lot about understanding and communicating the user experience by reading this book, but it’s not going to teach you how to study user interaction.

Buy it now. You’ll learn more than you think you will, no matter your background.

8 Comments on ““Selling Usability,” by John Rhodes.”

  1. Well, I have to agree with the author on the issue that usability is key.

  2. Spanish Property Bargains; August 17, 2009 at 6:09 am

    Yes, I’d agree with the above comment that usability has applications throughout the business world, and too many business take it for granted.

  3. Definetly worth reading just to pick up point that userability is important to understand for whatever business you are involved with.

  4. Selling usability is different from making usability happen..the book is good to read from management perspective!

  5. site update service; May 7, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    “Making Usability Happen, Despite the Regrettable Lack of Understanding on the Part of Your Managers.? funny title for a book. good thing you use the shorter one. about the cover i think its great!

  6. Well, I can’t argue with you on that – the book cover is a bit electric.


  7. If he wanted to sell usability, a better book design might help him. The neon green is too much of an eyesore–but that’s just my two cents on the book cover.

    From your review, this would definitely be a good and educational read for those who want to communicate better. Communication is key, after all, to making understanding, cooperation and success to happen in whatever field.

    Thanks for featuring the book. 😀

  8. As profit margins diminish and the cost to acquire new customers continues to increase, I don’t know how business executives can afford to ignore the issue of usability. The user experience has to be thoroughly examined to better communicate a given message.

    Although I’m no expert in web design, I cannot believe, for example, that many business owners do not list their contact information in a prominent location or have no discernible call to action. All owners should try to place themselves in the user’s position (seeing the reflection of their company through the eyes of the user) to improve their financial picture.

    Best Regards,
    Andy Lax