7 must-read books for UX designers
UX is a complex and ever-changing field.
The advancement in technology and the growth of UX have a positive correlation. Because as tech develops, the need to make it more efficient and user-friendly grows too.
This means that designers have a learning curve that’s steep most of the time. Not only this, as a designer who is designing for user experience, there’s simply no end to knowing what is a better experience and how to create one.
There are a lot of great books on UX these days. So many, in fact, that it’s hard to narrow it down to the very best ones!
Why read books on UX design when there’s so much content available online?
Whenever we feel the need to learn or know something, we simply check the internet. And not to overstate, we’re often happy to claim we are well-read.
Considering the issues of credibility and fake information everywhere, books, to date, are the most efficient and trusted sources for learning any subject.
If you’re new to UX, or you’ve been at it for a while, here are 7 books we recommend you to check out to learn or revise your fundamentals.
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
Originally written in 1988, revised and expanded in 2013, Don Norman’s The Design of Everyday Things, is widely considered the bible of UX.
The book revolves around physical products rather than digital ones but still manages to set out practical examples for the principles of cognitive psychology. A must-read for anyone who designs for humans, it explores the relationship between a user and an object’s design. Its insights are just as relevant today as they were thirty years ago, making it a UX classic.
Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug is a great introductory book about human-computer interaction and web usability aimed at individuals new to design.
It was intentionally kept concise to allow executives to read it on a two-hour flight. The premise of the book is that good software should allow users to accomplish their goals as easily and effortlessly as possible.
People have the habit of being satisfied with the very first solution they discover and Krug says design should take advantage of this.
The book aims to educate readers about how they can design websites that are intuitive and easy to use. It dives into detail about how particular pages should be designed and where certain sections should be placed to minimize users’ cognitive load when using your website.
The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide by Leah Buley
The User Experience Team of One is a highly focused and comprehensive book filled with easy-to-apply and flexible UX techniques that even a lone UX designer can start applying immediately. There are numerous visual examples in the book to ensure that the depth of the process is clearly understood.
The book offers a wide range of time-efficient and impactful approaches to standard UX deliverables. No matter where you are in your UX experience, this book will give you the tools and insight to do more with less.
Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
If you’re a UX designer who was trained in a traditional approach, this book might come as a little bit of a surprise to you. “Lean UX” provides you with the opportunity to concentrate on the design of the actual experience, rather than the deliverables. Processes and methods are detailed, and critical thinking is emphasized throughout the book.
It will teach you how to collaborate closely with your teammates and collect feedback rapidly. You’ll hopefully gain the skill to determine what is best for the user and the business with short, iterative cycles.
Just Enough Research by Erika Hall
Good research is more about asking better questions more often, and thinking critically about the answers. Aimed at explaining different types of research for web design and development, this book shares several practical and easily applicable solutions to real-life events.
Beginners can learn how to discover their competitive advantages, spot biases, and identify small changes that can have a huge impact.
It’s a fairly quick read and will have you on your way in less than a week even with a full-time job. Yet, it manages to pack a ton of information.
Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, Jill Butler
Often considered the first cross-disciplinary guide to design, Universal Principles of Design, by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler, is a great resource for understanding the intersection between design, psychology, the evolution of humans and their biases.
It contains 100 data-backed design concepts accompanied by visual examples, clear explanations and their application in practice. These concepts don’t apply just to UX or Product or Interaction design but to design in general.
With a single topic per page and multiple illustrations, the book’s presentation style keeps the content simple enough to understand while making the book easy to read and navigate. Owing to the eternal nature of principles, this book is an evergreen read for anyone and everyone in the design industry, from beginners to experts.
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk
Written by behavioural psychologist, Dr Susan Weinschenk, this book, and its sequel (100 More Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People) explore the psychological side of UX.
The book applies neuroscience to understand what motivates people and how to get them to take action. It combines real science and research with practical examples to deliver a guide every designer needs.
With it, you’ll be able to design more intuitive and engaging work for print, websites, applications, and products that match the way people think, work, and play.
UX design is no longer just a designer’s problem. All digital products have an online presence today, and understanding the UX design that can change a user’s opinion of your product is part of growth.
Everyone in the team needs to comprehend what users go through in a given product to produce, market, and finally sell it.
What’s more, not just a designer but a marketer or a sales rep can make a great change once they get in the design thinking mindset. We’re referring to new strategies, new goals, and new projects. All because they understand your users a little better now.