Interested in UX Design? 13 Books to Get Started Today
Want to start reading about UX design but don’t know where to begin?
Well, that’s not a surprise since there are so many great books out there finding the right one for you can be a bit daunting.
To help, here are our recommendations of UX books we’ve read and love. These aren’t the only great books out there, but every book on this list definitely has a claim to being an all-time great one.
Don’t make me think is Krug’s First Law of Usability. The book is a light-read that covers all the basics of UX, human–computer interaction and web usability you need to know.
It explains the notion that a good online experience should let users accomplish their intended tasks as easily and directly as possible. If users need to stop to think about that they’re doing then it isn’t designed well enough.
Krug points out ways to reduce clutter, noise and anything unnecessary to make designs simpler, providing clear examples accompanying each rule.
2. Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences – Jesmond Allen and James Chudley
Smashing Magazine is probably the most popular resource for web designers and developers around the world. So when they publish a book, you should probably pay attention.
The book aims to be a complete reference manual for the entire UX and User Centered Design process, examining different UX tools and techniques.
The book includes high-quality illustrations, examples, top tips, and detailed how-tos to share UX knowledge.
Jakob Nielsen is the co-founder of world renowned usability consultancy NN/g and also developed what’s become the most referenced set of usability heuristics for UI design.
Designing Web Usability is Nielsen’s definitive guide to website usability and is a must-have for any usability professional. The book provides guidelines for everything web, from page and content design to designing accessibility for users with disabilities.
The second half of the founding team behind the NN/g consultancy, Don Norman is widely held to be the one responsible for inventing the term “User Experience”.
Norman’s book includes timeless solutions to design flaws backed by psychology principles. This book will change the way you perceive and experience your physical surroundings and will raise your expectations about how things should be designed.
A behavioral psychologist who’s been working in the field of design and user experience since 1985, Susan Weinschenk believes designing without understanding the science behind how people behave is what results in unusable and inefficient products.
Her book is a collection of scientific theories and research side-by-side with practical examples that act as a guide for designers to understand people’s behaviour. It breaks down how people behave, from the way they think, see, remember, focus, feel and more.
6. Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-it-yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems – Steve Krug
We know the value and necessity of usability testing, but for a lot of businesses and startups, it’s not always financially feasible to invest in hiring usability consultants.
Instead of accepting “I can’t afford it” as an excuse, Steve Krug published this book as a how-to companion to “Don’t Make Me Think”, with step-by-step guide for usability testing that anyone can do on their own.
Krug explains how to test any design, understand which problems to be focusing on and use the “least you can do” approach to fix them.
Rocket Surgery Made Easy includes demonstration videos, before-and-after examples, humorous illustrations, and practical advice to facilitate grasping the ideas better.
7. Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests – Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell
If there’s one book you need to read in order to learn everything there is to learn about usability testing, it’s this one. This fully revised handbook provides clear, step-by-step guidelines of every aspect of a usability testing project.
You’ll learn how to recognize factors that limit usability, decide where testing should occur, set up a test plan to assess goals for your product’s usability, and more. The book also includes numerous case studies and tips that are proof of the importance of applying usability testing.
Currently Product Director at Google, Luke Wroblewski shares all his knowledge in this entertaining, to-the-point guidebook. Mobile First makes the case for why websites and applications should increasingly be designed for mobile first.
With more advances in technology, mobile devices are becoming dominantly used by people to get things done. Luke outlines how web design teams can make the transition from designing for desktops/laptops to mobile to design delightful experiences.
9. The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond – Jesse James Garrett
If we had to pick one book to give to someone as the perfect entrance to all things UX, it would be this one.
The Elements of User Experience provides a conceptual framework for understanding the field of UX and has come to define the core principles of the practice.
Designed to be read easily within a few hours, the book helps readers understand the big picture of web user experience development and eliminates the complexity of creating user-centered designs. It covers the “why” of developing for the web rather than the “how”. If you need to understand the context for the decisions that user experience practitioners make, this book is for you.
An essential tool for all researchers (not just UX) Interviewing Users will help you learn how to ask the right questions and draw the correct insights when conducting user interviews. It provides techniques and steps to follow for everything from before the interview even happens to documentation and optimization of the interview.
Steve Portigal uses stories and examples from his 15 years of experience to show how interviewing can be incorporated into the design process, helping you learn the best and right information to inform and inspire your design.
Taking its lead from Lean and Agile development theories, Lean UX is a must-read for anyone who’s managing a product team.
Full of practical advice, Jeff Gothelf teaches you everything you need to know about the principles, tactics and techniques of applying lean processes to UX design.
Set up in three sections, first, delivering an introduction to what Lean UX is and it’s founding principles. Gothelf goes on to discuss the process of Lean UX and why each step is important, and in Section 3 covers the application of Lean UX practices into your organization.
Known for his work in the field of information architecture, usability and service design, Eric Reiss shares his knowledge from decades of experience in this book.
Usable Usability is a comprehensive guide to spotting and fixing usability problems. The book teaches you how to understand a user’s needs, reveals techniques for exceeding user expectations and provides advice for improving the overall quality of a user’s experience.
13. Measuring the User Experience: Collecting, Analyzing, and Presenting Usability Metrics – Tom Tullis, Bill Albert
Measuring the User Experience is a how-to guide for to evaluate the user experience for any product.
Authors Tullis and Albert share their decades of experience in UX with practical lessons throughout the book. They explore different usability metrics, considering best methods for collecting, analyzing, and presenting the data. The book includes in-depth case studies to show how organizations have successfully used usability metrics and the information they revealed.
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