I would like to add a couple more books to the reading suggestions. Professor Oren suggested these books to me and they are great!!
Alan Cooper's About Face
Dan Saffer's Designing for Interaction
I am currently reading Dan Saffer's Designing for Interaction and it has proven to be very insightfull to me. I come from a Graphic Design background and this book provides a great perspective into designing for UI. Saffer talks about four major approaches to interaction design:
User-Centered Design (UCD)
Activity-Centered Design (ACD)
Of the four, UCD and ACD are relevant to the topics we came across this week. UCD stictly focuses on the idea that "users know best" and in this approach users should be involved in every stage of the project. User data becomes an important determining factor in making decisions. ACD on the other hand focues on "behaviour surrounding particular tasks". This approach helps designers to direct on the "task at hand" and then design tools/products to support the task.
Another key aspect that Saffer talks about is the importance of Brainstorming in the ideation phase. I haven't come across this as much in Interaction Design as Graphic Design. But getting different heads from different perspectives in the brainstorming segment can yield some useful insights as well as provide direction in refinement.