We have taken our time to come up with a list of the best UX Design books for designers to read to become great designers. There is a general saying, “knowledge is power”. In today’s world, gaining knowledge online is a thread, and people find it easy to gain knowledge through their mobile devices connected to the internet. Though this is true, we still cannot do away the benefits that come with reading books.
Unlike going through the internet to seek knowledge, reading books does not come with distractions; you are with your book, and probably with a pen to jot points down.
Since design is not all about aesthetics, our list of best UX design books is a blend of business and design-related books. If you are in UX, the books on this list are the ones I recommend that you read. These books are essential to everyone, as one can apply them to other areas of life. In this piece, we have a brief talk on each of the books.
Without further ado, let’s look into the books we recommend for designers.
Our Recommendations For Best UX Design Books
The User Experience Team of One: A Research & Design Survival Guide
If your company is not a large design firm, there are indications that you are a one-man UX team. All the overwhelming tasks of UX rest on your shoulders. These are too much for one man to have knowledge of, handle, and carry. At least, this is overwhelming for me as a team of one.
I laid my hand on this book written by Leah Buley, in my search for a way to relieve myself the workload of a one-man UX team. My decision to get this book was two years ago when I had about four projects to work on at a time.
I dedicated my time to read this book, hoping that it will proffer a solution to my ordeal of having an array of task hanging on my neck. These were tasks I needed to achieve a positive user experience while I was having a tight time schedule. Gladly, the book didn’t disappoint me.
Although the book is dope of useful tips, it contains one important lesson to note, that there is never enough time for a team of one; the works piles up and it finds it hard to complete.
The first half of the book is an introduction to UX, while the second half is where the book comes to gain readers’ total attention. In the book, Buley gives a breakdown of the various design phases along with the required tools a designer can use at each stage. Having it in mind that the best way to get buy is to have people review your output, the author makes emphasis on output.
One thing you find interesting about this book is the advice and summary that comes at the end of each chapter. This ending seems helpful to a designer who is a newbie in the field.
Buley, at the end of the book, leaves readers inspired and not their feelings to them.
“Design is the act of creating new solutions under constrained circumstances, whether those constraints are aesthetic, technological, or resource-driven. That may sound like a restriction, but actually it’s a gift. Constraints are a designers’ friend.” – Leah Buley.
This is ultimately true. As an UX team of one, I realize that I get more constrain with how long I work in UX. This book shows how you can manage your time and how you spend it on things that really matter and seek solutions. Yes, to be an excellent team of one, you must make time for such an evaluation. This is our first recommendation on best UX design books.
Universal Principles of Design
This book gives you exactly what the title promises: 100 design principles categorized in various ways. Each page provides a description of the principle, examples showing its application in various domains as well as references for understanding more about the subject.
The author wrote this book to help individual designer make good design decisions. On each page of the book is a design principle. The book is rich in tips to design and interact with clients. Also, there are interesting tales, like the Nudge theory.
The Design of Everyday Things
This is my favorite and it has to be a part of this post on best UX design books. First published over 30 years ago, the book is still one of the best today. The book, written by Don Norman, has gained ground over the years and has become a cliché for every designer.
If you are a beginner designer, I recommend that you get a copy of this book. The book is all about usability, with much focus on product design. The book is very informative and one you will appreciate reading. Its content is very simple, straight to the point, and suggests a very simple remedy. The book also focuses more on how designs will make quality and useful products, instead of only good looking products.
This book will let you understand why there are still prevailing bad designs today. Reading this book also gives you a new appreciation for products.
According to Don, “A brilliant solution to the wrong problem can be worse than no solution at all; solve the correct problem”.
Don’t make me think
Written by Steve Krug, this book was first published some 20 years ago. I have recommended this book for many UX designers and they have always come back to me with testimonies. The aim of the writer is to look more into usability, with more focus on experiences and user interface: one more point that makes this book a must-have for every UX designer.
I have always had one lesson to learn each time I read this book. It also focuses on generally acceptable approaches to UX. The main crux is that, to improve UX, the user must think of a task.
One lesson I have always taken with me from this book is how important it is to reduce text on a webpage to the beeriest minimum.
According to Steve Krug,” Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half what’s left”.
Steve Krug goes further explains that, since most readers do not read website content as they would read a book, it is vivid that much literature on a website is a waste. He lays emphasis on how important it is to make information simple, clear, and precise. Most visitors are not ready to read log texts: they just scan for particular words, a more reason for you to minimize noise, use hierarchy, and contrast text.
Another point discussed in this great book is familiarity. The author makes it clear how better it is to make the design familiar to users. However, if you try to reinvent the things and it benefits you, it is unusual. It is, therefore, better to keep the design familiar to users, as a change in learning directions brings about friction.
Another useful tip found in the book is discussing clicks. Steve Krug makes it clear how less important the number of clicks is, and the importance of how difficult the click is and where it takes you to. In Krug’s words, “3 easy clicks are better than one click, which leads you nowhere”.
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People
This is another book that I always refer to regularly. The book looks in detail into why and how people behave. The book adopts research and science to teach how you can use these theories to achieve a great and effective design. The book is dope of common-sense principles and many that are, at first, not applicable to design. After going through the principles, I realized they are all relevant.
One point that I have learned from this book is how ore recognizable imagery and text are over others. Science has it that we look at things in three different ways: can I eat it? Can I have sex with it? Will it kill me? as such, to engage customers, images featuring any of those are essential.
Science also found that we pay attention to faces. The best way to tell customers to do something is to show them some else doing it.
According to Susan Weinschenk, “If you want to influence someone’s behavior, then show someone else does the same task”.
One other important and useful point in the book is how effective it is to show progress in design. It is also a general belief that people continue with a task when the goal of doing the task is insight. Also, stated in the book is how beneficial it is to design an original and ignorable experience to engage users.
Researchers said, The human brain looks not only for the unexpected, it craves the unexpected.
Each of these books does well in focusing on usability and principles of design. They explain deeply how you, a UX designer, can design for people.
If you will follow the instruction in these above books, you are ready to make better and educated design decisions. If you understand a beautiful interface but do not understand people and their behavior, your interface won’t achieve an expected impact for a successful outcome. I hope you have liked our top recommendations on best UX design books. Subscribe us for more such useful articles.
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