The UX design process is becoming an increasingly important aspect of creating quality website applications and software products. There are many different UX design books out there with a myriad of different techniques and methods that are important for us to know and use as UX designers. It can sometimes be confusing figuring out the best UX design practices to use, so I’ve put together a list of some useful and practical UX design books that are definitely worth a read. I’d love to hear what your favourites are and how they helped you improve your design process.

smashing ux design

Smashing UX Design

By Jesmond Allen and James Chudley

Smashing UX Design is a great introductory book for anyone new to user experience design and working in project teams. The first half of the book concentrates on the UX design process, while the second part deconstructs the user experience of specific website elements.

It’s a very practical resource that provides a solid outline of popular UX design processes, tools and techniques – from conducting initial research and defining requirements to creating wireframes and prototypes. I liked that the authors used examples of real-life projects throughout the book and I did notice that there was a focus on e-commerce websites. Overall, it’s a great read for UX designers looking for practical solutions to use in team projects.


The UX Book

By Rex Hartson and Pardha Pyla

This UX design book offers a comprehensive, practical overview of the UX life cycle processes and methods. Human computer interaction techniques are distilled into an easy-to-understand format and the authors do a great job of showing readers how to gather requirements, sketch ideas, create wireframes, build prototypes and evaluate designs. While not a short read, this book is a solid resource for UX and interaction designers at all experience levels and I definitely think it’s worth having on your bookshelf.


Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited

By Steve Krug

Don’t Make Me Think was first published way back in 2000 and since then it has been one of the most popular and best-loved books on usability. The author is friendly and witty and uses a lot of practical, common-sense examples and illustrations throughout the book. If you’ve read the original book you’ll already know the main concepts, but the new edition does include some updated examples as well as new a chapter on mobile usability.

The book basically consists of a bunch of usability rules based on simple human psychology that will help you create a better experience for your users.Don’t Make Me Think is a staple for anyone in the website business; it’s quick and fun to read and I guarantee it will help you understand your users better.


Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

By Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden

Lean UX provides a framework and structure for an effective UX design process. The book encourages us to move towards a more iterative, outcomes-based design process rather than relying on classic and sometimes unnecessary deliverables. The three underlying principles of Lean UX are: (1) removing waste from the design process; (2) improving the efficiency of the team; and (3) shifting your mindset away from relying on a single expert to come up with the solution and instead using rapid experimentation to learn what works best. A great read with a good balance of theory, practical advice and case studies.


About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design

By Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin, Christopher Noessel

About Face was one of the books that was instrumental in bringing interaction design into the everyday language of product design and development. It is a comprehensive guide on interface design and interactions on both web and mobile devices. The book’s main focus is on creating well-behaved products that are a delight to use, and it covers project process, goal-directed design, persona development and interface element best practices. I’d recommend reading the first third of the book and using the rest of it as a resource when needed as it does go into a lot of detail.


The Elements of User Experience

By Jesse James Garrett

A great initial UX design book for those interested in learning about UX design. The Elements of User Experience cuts through the sometimes complex process of creating an intuitive user experience and includes clear explanations and great illustrations. It’s not a very comprehensive book on UX design methods or techniques but it does provide a great outline of what user experience design is and what it involves. This book is a clear, concise primer on UX design best suited to those new to the industry.


Designing Interfaces

By Jenifer Tidwell

This book basically documents hundreds of different UI patterns. Each pattern includes examples of best practices of when, why and how to use it in your interface designs. Experienced UI designers would probably be familiar with most of these UI patterns and examples but it would be a great resource for those with less experience in UI design. This book isn’t focused on the user experience process as a whole; instead, it takes a more practical look at the many UI patterns used to construct an interface.


A Project Guide to UX Design

By Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler

A UX design book that covers the core elements of the user experience design life cycle and also identifies the different stakeholders and how they’re involved. There’s quite a lot of information on the logistics of dealing with the business side of things including required documentation and meetings. I would say that this book is better suited to less experienced designers and project managers looking for an overview of the basic UX design process. If you’re already in the UX field, the authors do refer to quite a few useful external resources that you can look into for more detail. Overall a great introduction to the UX design life cycle.


Agile Experience Design

By Lindsay Ratcliffe and Marc McNeill

If you’re a designer moving from a traditional waterfall background into an agile project work flow this book will help you overcome the problems with that transition. The first part of the book is basically advocating the advantages of agile UX design and the rest of the book outlines how to create user experiences in an agile project team. The book is presented well and easy to read and is a great resource for designers looking to work in an agile team environment.


Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design

By Giles Colborne

The title says it all: this book is a practical guide to achieving simplicity in UI design. The core concepts which are central to achieving simplicity are to remove, organise, hide and displace features and UI elements. It’s a very practical guide that teaches designers to figure out the most important tasks for mainstream users and make them easy to accomplish while removing non-core features. Effectively organising an interface can also make it feel simpler to use and the author shares many useful techniques to achieve this. This book is an enjoyable read packed with practical strategies for achieving simplicity in your products.

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