Knowledge is the key to becoming a better designer all around. Although it’s easy to obtain more information online, reading a good book helps to slow down. In turn, you can retain more of what you learn in a world of constant distractions.
So to deepen your UX design knowledge, give yourself a brief moment to shut off your phone and read. Here’s a list of the best UX books you should add to your library today.
1. The Design of Everyday Things
The Design of Everyday Things is a must-read for people who design with humans in mind. This UX book explores how good product design is possible with a few simple rules. It shows you how to make the most of usability and provides simple solutions. The ultimate goal of UX design is to guide the user through the right actions with the right controls at the right time.
The Design of Everyday Things gives you a good look at why some products satisfy users, and others get frustrated.
Moreover, people often blame themselves when objects malfunction. Most of the time, it’s not the users’ fault. It’s just poor design. That’s why this book will give you insights into good design and how to be a better UX designer.
2. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
If you had a favorite go-to book, this one should be it. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People gives you an insight into how and why people behave. With a mix of science and research, this book focuses on applying these theories to your design.
Some of the principles are common sense. However, there may be thought-provoking ideas that you haven’t considered before.
For instance, people can’t help but look at others’ faces. So, if you want a user to take action, you can influence them by showing a person doing it.
3. Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web and Mobile Usability
Steve Krug spent 25 years as a usability coach and had Don’t Make Me Think first published in 2000. Krug examines how software is easy to use and reflects on why it shouldn’t make you think.
Don’t Make Me Think is one of the best UX books because it helps you think deeper about usability and accessibility. In this book, you’ll learn all about UX design and why research is important. It also dives into how you can improve people’s lives with great products.
Krug explores how you can take the opportunity to solve problems and take matters with user satisfaction seriously.
4. Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction
Interaction Design is an academic resource for those interested in interaction design. It’s widely popular among students and professionals for learning the skills to adapt to design human-computer interactions.
Some of the chapters will cover developments of human data interactions. Furthermore, it demonstrates ways organizations can manipulate data regarding human and digital behaviors.
If you’re searching for a comprehensive resource on interaction design, this book is for you.
5. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
If you’ve ever wondered what makes us use certain products more than others, then this book will show you how. Hooked by Nir Eyal is a best-seller and looks at addictive creations. He refers to the Hook Cycle, associated with users’ emotions and routines with products.
When you read Hooked, you’ll learn about how to design products that keep users engaged and coming back to it. Essentially, the user is forming a habit without even thinking about it.
Although it talks less about design principles, Hooked will explain the four stages of the Hook Cycle:
- Variable Reward
6. Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience
Lean UX by Josh Seiden and Jeff Gothelf changes the perspective of design thinking. By unifying product development, design and business into one methodology, designers can learn about great user experience.
Lean UX gives you the techniques to apply to traditional UX processes to enhance performance and efficiency. In addition, it also explores the key decisions you should make through user research and testing.
Although companies have difficulty adopting this approach, designers and leaders can solve user problems more effectively with this book.
7. The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
In this book, Barry Schwartz argues that life becomes close to unbearable when people have less control over choices. The Paradox of Choice explains how the number of options continues to grow. As the number of choices increases, consumers become overloaded with vast amounts of decision-making.
The Paradox of Choice is a good book because it focuses on psychology and human behavior. It makes you realize how more choices can inhibit feelings of freedom. Having too many options can make you feel doubtful as well.
That’s why UX designers should read this book. It offers something valuable that they should take into consideration when designing.
8. The User Experience Team of One
The User Experience Team of One offers practical advice on creating UX designs with limited resources. The most important factor of this book is how much one person can produce UX work. Additionally, you can gain insight into the skills of a UX leader.
The User Experience Team of One is one of the best UX books. It offers guidance and visual details about UX designers working in small businesses. When they are the only designer in the company, the responsibility falls on them.
Many people highly recommend this book because it’s inspirational and factitious. It also provides a list of UX design tools to use when designing independently.
9. Just Enough Research
Just Enough Research teaches you all the different methods of user research. It’s a great book for those who are new to UX. However, the book is good for seasoned designers too. Just Enough Research will give you all the information you need about interaction design and UX research.
Erika Hall provides insightful advice about survey and interview designs, qualitative data and observations. In addition, the book gives you a good understanding of her immersive techniques with interviewing and so much more.
10. Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research
Observing the User Experience uncovers a way to develop better products through several methods. In this book, you’ll learn to design more engaging and interactive experiences. It also bridges the gap between designers and users. Plus, it offers simple techniques to use, especially when working with time and budget constraints.
The latest edition also contains updated sections about observational research, studies on mobile usability and more. You may also find it insightful if you are not familiar with user research yet.
11. Drawing Ideas: A Hand-Drawn Approach for Better Design
Drawing Ideas is a book about being able to sketch ideas while having the ability to communicate and sell them effectively. The book gives you a look into the role and purpose of drawing in design, providing illustrated examples.
As you read Drawing Ideas, you’ll pick up the valuable skills you need to sell your visions. While it’s great for reference, it also provides you with methods and materials regarding the philosophy of drawing.
Explore the Best UX Books Today
The UX books you see here can be helpful in your journey of UX design. Each one offers something unique to think about when designing user experiences. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned, the books you end up choosing will help you grow as a designer.
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About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.
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