We asked our favourite UX Designers as well as the UXmentor.me mentors for their top UX books of all time. Not all of the books are specifically UX based – some are general design or psychology books but they have all inspired a UX Designer somewhere.
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1. UX team of one
Author: Leah Buley
Best for: People on their own
Recommended by: All of the Datacom Digital Experience team and David Montero, UX Lead at Blippar
This is the number one favourite UX book of all the Datacom DX team. We had one copy which got passed around from pillar to post so in the end we had to buy a second one. David agrees saying ‘it’s a very resourceful cookbook to find your way around in any step of the product design cycle’. He invited Leah to a Q&A session at the UX Amsterdam Bookclub and it went down a storm.
2. Don’t Make Me Think : A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
Author: Steve Krug
Best for: UX 101 – people who want a complete introduction
Recommended by: Futurist Jason Cranford-Teague, Career Foundry Mentor Chava Canolli, Invision’s Jennifer Aldrich, Steven Entezari, Senior Research Associate in HCI and Cyber Security and SketchnoteHangout.com organiser Dr Makayla Lewis
Jennifer says ‘If someone just wants to flip through a quick, run read, Don’t Make Me Think is a great place to start’. Steven agrees saying ‘Krug breaks down the UX process into delicious and digestible chunks – my students are able to spot examples from the book in the world immediately.’
Chava particularly likes the before and after glimpse into Amazon’s navigation style as it really shows why navigation is important.
3. The Design of Everyday Things
Author: Don Norman
Best for: The classic
Nick says ‘This won’t be a surprise to many of you – my favourite book is quite common choose among UX designers. Don Norman provides universal examples of good (and bad) design. The examples may not be specifically about graphical UI design, but the lessons learned are directly applicable. And I really love his vision of user experience’.
Jennifer says ‘The Design of Everyday Things completely changed the way I look at the world around me! :)’
4. Lean UX
Author: Jeff Gothelf
Best for: Learning about lean methodologies
Tom says ‘Lean UX is an excellent method of remaining lean and focusing on learnings’
Mark says ‘Lean UX helps drive these core UX tenets into actionable outcomes for real world problem solving & design thinking.’
Natalie says ‘We run a Lean UX methodology in BNZ Digital as it’s a really fast and efficient way to bring everybody on the UX journey and every person, irrelevant of role, develops a deep empathy for the customer.’
5. About Face
Authors: Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin, Christopher Noessel
Best for: Dipping in and out
Jade says ‘I love that you can flip to any page, have a quick read and then put it away and feel that you’ve learnt something new. It’s great for daily or weekly references when you need a top up or be reminded on some UX fundamentals’
6. Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming
Author: Anthony Dunne, Fiona Raby
Best for: People interested in the social and cultural impact of design
Recommended by: Design Director at GE Aviation Digital Solutions, Phil Balagtas
Phil describes this as the seminal book on speculative design. He says ‘this discusses and showcases projects that have emerged in the realm of speculative and critical design—a form of design that interrogates the social and cultural impact of design and the ethical challenges around emerging technology. This book will question design’s role and impact and how we can pave a path toward a more preferable future by avoiding potential negative outcomes of products and services’.
7. Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences (Voices That Matter)
Author: Stephen P. Anderson
Best for: People who came into UX from a technical background
Tom says ‘This is an excellent guide to the psychology behind great interactions’ and Steven adds ‘Anderson opens the minds of UX’ers with a heavy tech background into the world of designing pleasurable experiences.’
8. Undercover User Experience Design (Voices That Matter)
Authors: Cennydd Bowles, James Box
Best for: When you’re on a budget
Sophie says ‘A brief but extremely effective book which gives UX designers all the practical tools to research and design, even on a budget’
9. Applying Cognitive Psychology to User-Interface Design
Author: Margaret M. Gardiner (Author), Bruce Christie (Author)
Best for: The golden oldie
Recommended by: Pete Pavan, UX Consultant at LexisNexis
Pete says ‘it’s the seminal book in UX design. The professor who taught me UX , Bruce, co-wrote it in 1987 and I loved it because it was so ahead of its time. Bruce Christie was a shy, lovely man with zero patience or tolerance for weakness in academic rigour. I read the book to understand where he was coming from and to make sure I met his expectations – he’d previously failed a student for using the wrong type of bullet points in his coursework! Top guy though…he had an acerbic, cynical wit about the profession even in 1999.’
10. The UX Book
Author: Pardha S. Pyla.
Best for: A complete UX thesaurus
Recommended by: Paul Olyshager
Paul says ‘since UX is such a broad topic, this is the only one that covers most of them. It can be used like a thesaurus; the only downside being it is rather expensive’.