With more UX and design books being published than ever before, it can be really overwhelming as a newcomer to the field to sort the useful from the downright bad.
I know this because one of the most common questions I’m asked is:
Hi, PLEASE can you recommend some UX books that I could read!?!*
*Real actual quote from an email!
To help, I’ve compiled a list of the UX-related books that I’ve read and loved, with a special focus on the books that were especially useful as I started out in UX design – the books that helped shape me as a UX designer, helped ground me in both real theory and practical applications and that I highly recommend.
My recommended reads for UX design book
The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald Norman
Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug
About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design, by Alan Cooper
These are the classics that got me hooked. Each of these books helped to form the way I approach user-centred design and how to see the world of design through the lens of UX. I highly recommend each of these as the absolute classics that should be destined for your bookshelf.
On UX Process:
A Project Guide to UX Design, by Russ Unger
Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience, by Jeff Gothelf
The world of actually working as a UX designer is a tricky one – you’ve got different disciplines to collaborate with, different types of designers to wrk with and different types of companies to work in, each with their own distinct design culture. These books start to fill in some of the gaps of how you can operate in the real world as a UX designer and get things done.
On unlocking creativity:
The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently, by Sunni Brown
Creativity is such an huge part of UX design but we often have never learned the skills to “be creative”. These two books were insanely helpful to me in unlocking ways to be creative, in completely different ways. The Doodle Revolution is all about getting comfortable in using the doodle to solve problems, and Gamestorming is all about helping you unlock your inner creative facilitator so that you can run workshops and sessions with designers and other stakeholders to get the most out of everyone’s time. Both seriously worth a read.
On building products:
Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products, by Nir Eyal
Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan
The Lean Startup, Eric Ries
Ultimately what we do as UX designers is build products that people hopefully will love and use all the time. These books will help you ensure that this is what you do.
Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun and Effective User Experiences, by Stephen Anderson
Playful Design: Creating Game Experiences in Everyday Interfaces, by John Ferrara
Design for Kids: Digital Products for Playing and Learning, by Debra Levin Gelman
Microinteractions – Designing with Details, by Dan Saffer
Real Life Responsive Web Design, by Smashing Magazine
These are great reads if you want to dive deep into learning about specific areas e.g. designing for kids, designing responsively, and designing for games to name a few.
On psychology & design:
How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the Art & Science of Persuasion, by Susan Weinschenk
Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click, by Susan Weinschenk
100 things Every Designer Needs to Know About People, by Susan Weinschenk
Basically Susan Weinschenk is a machine. She is the word on uncovering the psychological insights behind people’s web behaviours. I recommend all these books all the time to everyone ever because they are super useful and interesting. Buy!
There are tons of amazing design books out there, and later posts might do a deep dive into different categories of books for designers at other stages of their career. Shout in the comments if you’d like me to cover something in particular!