Although the term “user experience design” was coined in the 1990s, good design can be dated all the way back to 4000 BC. Having existed for so long, there’s a lot to learn about how a user interacts with products via design. And, any designer knows that learning the trade is a life long process. The environment, time period, demographic, product, and more are all huge influencers. So, it’s safe to say the more you study about design, the better UX designer you’ll be.
Whether you’re thinking about starting a career in UX design, or are already in one, these books below are resources you can use to become an invaluable UX designer.
- The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
- How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry, and (Every Once in a While) Change the World by Michael Bierut
- 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter) by Susan Weinschenk
- About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper
- The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) by John Maeda
- Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf
- Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter) by Steve Krug
See below for a short description of each recommended design book.
#1 The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
Though originally published in 1988, designers will tell you that this book rings more true today than the day it hit the bookstores. In this book, Norman talks about the importance of design in everyday products—such as tv remotes, light switches, etc. If a product isn’t simple enough for a consumer to intuitively figure it out, then it’s poor design. In this book, you will learn the importance of psychology in design, and the questions you should be asking yourself as you’re developing a product.
#2 How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry, and (Every Once in a While) Change the World by Michael Bierut
Michael Bierut, one of this century’s most renowned creative minds, shares his insights to good design using his own work and experiences. Graphic design, or UI design in a user experience designer’s world, is a very important aspect of the user experience. In this book you will learn Bierut’s creative process and what it takes to create a well-designed product.
#3 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter) by Susan Weinschenk
Design is a very important aspect of business, since design directly impacts whether a consumer buys a product or not. In Weinschenk’s book, she combines real science and research with practical examples to deliver and guide every designers needs. You’ll be able to design more intuitive and engaging work for websites that match the way people think, work and play.
#4 About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper
Recent decades have shifted consumer experiences to online. Whether it’s a desktop, smartphone, or tablet, consumers have high expectations. With this book, you will take a look into what it takes to create better interaction design with modern technology. You’ll also learn state-of-the-art interface recommendations and up-to-date examples of good interface. For those creating better user experience design on modern platforms, this is a great resources.
Simplicity equals sanity. In this book, Maeda explores the idea of creating simple design while incorporating complexity. You will learn Maeda’s ten laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology, and design. You’ll also learn how needing less actually gets you more. “Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.”
#6 Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf
In 2013, Gothelf’s book won the best book of the year award from Dr. Dobb’s Journal. You’ll learn how to drive the design in short, iterative cycles to assess what works best for the business and the user. It’s a tailor-made book for today’s web-driven reality, and a must read for user experience designers.
#7 Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter) by Steve Krug
Hundreds of thousands of web designers, or user experience designers, and developers have relied on Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design. Witty, commonsensical, and eminently practical, it’s one of the best-loved and most recommended books on the subject. Some say this book is required for anyone working on websites.
There are many books about design that act as an excellent resource for user experience designers. But, these seven books are a good place to start. Become a better user experience designer through other designers’ experiences.