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10 UX Design Books for UI/UX Professionals

Aspiring designers can learn a lot from experts in the field. One way to do so is to read the UX design books and apply the practices in their projects.

9 min read

User experience (UX) design is a field of study that is advancing at a rapid pace. Modern organizations are employing designers to make their products usable and gain a competitive edge in the market. The increased interest in UX design, along with the changing needs of users and technological advancements, forces professional designers to always stay updated about the new trends. The fluidity of the field makes the learning process confusing and overwhelming at times.

There are so many UI/UX design books that it can get hard to pick the best ones. If you’re wondering about UX books to read, this article is for you. This article introduces the best UX design books, covering classical laws of UX and modern trends in the field. Whether you’re new to the field or already working in a UI and UX design company, these books will help you add value to your work.

The books discussed in this article will not only help you refresh the basic principles of UX design but also provide you with modern tips and tricks that can be of great help in your career. Read along as we discuss the top UX books.

Must-Read Books About UX Design

So, what user experience books should you read? It is always helpful to get acquainted with the universal principles of design and to gather theoretical knowledge. Academic books, however, can be less attractive at times. While there are a lot of UX design books out there, it is difficult to find the ones that are interesting and helpful at the same time. This article addresses this concern by presenting a list of books that you’ll enjoy as well as benefit from.

"Don’t Make Me Think"

Author: Steve Krug
Year: 2000
Publisher: Pearson Education
Page Count: 216

Don’t Make Me Think, as the name indicates, is a book that talks about common sense practices in design. The simple approach of this book and the way it encourages designers to prioritize the needs of users at every stage, particularly when it comes to web usability, makes it one of the best books on user experience.

Steve Krug, in this UX design book, talks about pretty much everything that is needed for an effective, useful, usable, and attractive web design. The new editions of the book also include chapters on accessibility which is an important concern in the digital environment. This book is a must-read for UI/UX designers, particularly those interested in online information design.

"The Design of Everyday Things"

Author: Don Norman
Year: 1998
Publisher: Basic Books
Page Count: 368

Don Norman is considered a veteran in the field of UI/UX design. The Design of Everyday Things is one of his earliest and most influential books for UX designers. This book introduces designers to an approach that is relevant for physical as well as digital products. The design of all things should be easy to understand and use so that the users do not get confused when interacting with them. The principles of simplicity and familiarity are the key to the success of any design.

The best thing about this book is that it does not involve highly technical and academic language. The book keeps you interested with stories and incidents from the author’s life and also his insightful thoughts on various products that we interact with on a daily basis.

"The Non-Designer's Design Book"

Author: Robin Williams
Year: 2014
Publisher: Pearson Education
Page Count: 240

If you’re new to the field of design, The Non-Designer’s Design Book is one of the best UX design books for beginners. The primary audience of this book includes individuals who have just started their career in the design industry or are thinking about switching careers.

The book starts with four basic principles of UX design – Proximity, Alignment, Repetition, and Contrast – and then moves on to more complicated topics such as contrast, the use of colors, and typography. This book will leave you with a lot of tips that you can implement in your projects. The simplest things such as the choice of a font style or the significance of contrast are discussed with a lot of detail, making this one of the best books on UX writing.

"The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less"

Author: Barry Schwartz
Year: 2004
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Page Count: 304

The Paradox of Choice deals with a problem that every user faces in the digital age: the problem of too many choices. From online shopping to choosing a streaming service, there are so many alternatives available and this can be overwhelming for the users. The problem of choice is something that the designers have to negotiate with every single day.

This work by Barry Shwartz is not one of the typical UX designer books. Instead, this book highlights the concerns of users in a whole different way. UI/UX designers can use these insights as a motivation to create simple and usable products where the audience does not get confused. A successful design is one that makes the lives of users easier and this is one of the key takeaways from this book.

"Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything"

Author: Peter Morville
Year: 2014
Publisher: Semantic Studios
Page Count: 198

Intertwingled is one of the most interesting UX books to read. The simple writing style of Peter Morville and a common-sense approach to the design of products and services, make this a UX design for beginners book. This book, published by Semantic Studios, deals with the organization of information in the online world and how everything is connected in one way or the other.

Morville also introduces the cultural factors which are getting more and more important for UI/UX designers. Today, when products, services, and applications across borders in no time, it is important for technological companies to localize their designs. This is where designers can bring in the user-centered approach, attract more customers, and make their designs truly global.

"Universal Principles of Design"

Author: William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler
Year: 2010
Publisher: Rockport Publishers
Page Count: 272

Universal Principles of Design is a UX/UI design book that is essential for anyone who is even slightly interested in the field of design. The book does not talk about a single type of design nor should it be restricted to designers only. One of the best features of this user experience design book is that it takes a cross-disciplinary approach, highlighting the importance of design in every field.

The authors talk about 100 basic principles of UX design, making it one of the most comprehensive UI/UX books in the market. From the 80/20 rule and accessibility to consistency and the use of colors, this book takes every major design principle into consideration. When talking about the best books on UX design, it is impossible to leave this workout.

"100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People"

Author: Susan Weinschenk
Year: 2011
Publisher: Pearson Education
Page Count: 256

Susan Weinschenk has, quite literally, created a checklist for designers in the form of this book. The book introduces you to the psychology of design and how users interpret and interact with certain design features. If you look at the contents, you’ll get a quick glance at the 100 things you need to know about your audience.

What makes it one of the best UX books is the way it simplifies all the complicated things that designers need to, and are expected to, learn before even starting a project. Most of the user experience design books, despite their focus on a user-centered approach, fail to provide such a comprehensive list. This book does not just list down the concerns of users but also provides useful tips for designers such as the ways in which you can keep the users focused, help them accomplish their tasks, and make sure that they come back to your design.

"Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights"

Author: Steve Portigal
Year: 2013
Publisher: Rosenfeld Media
Page Count: 176

UI/UX designers interact with people on a daily basis to test their prototypes, conduct user research, and get feedback on their designs. One of the most beneficial, and commonly used, practices in the field of design is interviewing. Designers need excellent skills to conduct interviews and gather insights from the feedback they receive. There are very few UX/UI design books that really address the need for interviews and provide solutions that can make this process more effective. Interviewing Users is specifically written to meet this need of designers.

This book falls in the category of user research books where the focus is on conducting active research that can add value to the process of design. Steve Portigal starts by highlighting the need for interviews and goes on to explain the ways in which questions can be framed so as to get the most out of an interview. This book is a must-read for designers, beginners and experts alike.

"Lean UX: Designing Great Products with Agile Teams"

Author: Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
Year: 2016
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Page Count: 181

Lean UX is one of the most practical UX/UI books out there. The authors introduce the practices of Lean and Agile theories to the field of design and make a case for Lean UX, showing how it can greatly improve the performance of a design team. The book is divided into three parts including an introduction to Lean UX, a description of the entire process, and the ways in which modern organizations can integrate this process into their design practices.

When we talk about the best website and app design books, Lean UX sits at the top of the list. The book is not too long, is written in a simple and understandable manner, and provides a workable plan for designers to implement in their day-to-day life. The best feature of the book is the way in which it guides the designers at every step of the process and also makes sure that a user-centered approach is not ignored.

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Author: Nir Eyal
Year: 2013
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Page Count: 256

Familiarity is one of the key principles of UX design and this is what new designs should always aim for. This principle is highlighted in many UX/UI books but none talks about it in as much detail as Hooked. This book explains how users develop a habit of interacting with designs, both in the physical and digital environments, and then expect new designs to meet their expectations.

Nir Eyal brings a lot of experience and industry knowledge while talking about real-world examples in this book. Hooked, arguably, is one of the best books for UX design. Aspiring designers can benefit from the simple way in which this book is written and the tips it shares to add value to all design projects.

Conclusion

When designing a mobile application, a website, or even a physical product, UI/UX designers meet with a number of challenges. Professional designers and expert researchers have invested years of studies to devise strategies that can help aspiring designers in meeting these challenges. A lot of these insights can be found in quality UX design books.

There are a number of quality books in the field of UI/UX design that beginners and professionals can benefit from. Individuals in the field of design should always stay in touch with new trends and gather useful insights which then can be implemented in their own projects. This article lists down top UX design books that are not only interesting to read but also lead you to other, similar literature, thus enhancing your knowledge.