The body of knowledge required for a good designer can be intimidating. Amid a growing number of online and offline resources, for individuals looking to learn more about interaction design, research, facilitation, and motivation, it can be hard to figure out which resources are worth ones time.

Below some books that have been useful in my career. I’m working over time to build out this list for students and individuals looking to learn more about design and research.

User experience research

A world of materials for UX workshop facilitation


Facilitating exercises (empathy maps, user journeys, card sorts, etc.) can be an essential part of a good design practice. Getting people in a room to ideate, sketch, and evolve ideas provides transparency to the design process and allows an easy way for people from a variety of backgrounds to get involved in solutioning.

The wise facilitator will come prepared across a variety of sessions if they create a useful toolkit of materials to help these exercises run smoothly. Below, a list of such materials for your own UX facilitation toolkit, one we continue to try to evolve.

Please add feedback…

While the problem and question at hand will always determine how, when, why, and to what extent to do research, with hundreds of methods available to the user experience researcher, it’s helpful to define a few principles and a few core methods to practice before trying to get too creative.

In the last five years of researching a few key principles have returned again and again to guide my research. In addition, a few key methods have returned to determine my

The principals

User research is essential

Research helps us define and improve:

  • product usability
  • potential benefits and costs to design decisions
  • product progress towards business…

Talk to users to learn (Source)

Interviewing users isn’t always easy, but it’s often one of the most insightful and useful practices you can undertake to learn more about your users, your product, and the world at large

After five years in user research, and about 500 user interviews, I’ve gathered a few tips for those interested in evolving their practice. Hopefully a few of these are new to you. As always I’d welcome feedback and criticism of these tips from others experienced in the craft!.

Setting it all up

Find and recruit the right users

  • Define users who best match the information you want to ascertain, typically those who use the product you are wanting…

Once, things were separate

Born in 1986, I can just remember the time before the emergence of the PC as a staple in the American home. My first computer arrived when I was in elementary school. Between the monitor and tower, it was was the size of a poor man’s mini-fridge.

I remember playing mahjong before school, being amazed at the textures and sounds as I connected the various tiles. I’d spend my nights creating animated shorts in Felix the Cat’s Cartoon Toolbox. I can remember traveling through the MindMaze in Encarta in the same study that held our A-to-Z set of Encyclopedia Britannica.

Knowledge and entertainment at your fingertips with Mindmaze (Source)

I’m often approached by friends new to the design world about which books have been most influential and useful for me as a designer. Here is a list of some of the best books I’ve read, on topics ranging from facilitation, visual design, negotation, planning, behavior change, usability research and more. If you’re curious for more indepth thoughts on any of these works, don’t hesitate to reach out to

Seductive Interaction Design

Anderson digs into the psychogical and behavioral underpinnings of why we do what we do, and how interfaces can use aesthetics, language, path-shaping and, yes, fun, to be subtly engaging…

“Final” Visuals

For years designers have lived outside the code, relegated to the realm of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Being satisfied with graphic design programs in this modern age, however, can be hazardous to your health. Problematic UIs and convoluted work-arounds must be used in Adobe for simple tasks such as a pixel-perfect circle. Modifying positioning or groups of elements can be painfully slow. It can be impossible to judge elements against each other in any fast or meaningful way. While Fireworks alleviates some of these problems, and other tools have and may still surface, many graphic artifacts remain in the legacy…

Some years ago, I was asked about my feelings on design and design at Atlassian. See what I had to say!

If you want to dig in a bit more, I did a brief interview with the friendly folks at invision here:

I was invited by the product management meet-up group to give a quick talk on “eating your own dog food” and the benefits for organizations.

Check it out!


I’ve been thinking more and more about progressive disclosure. My interpretation of the term is to provide enough information when a user needs it, with the opportunity and affordance to get more information if the user wants it — sometimes at the cost of the deeper details or quick access to that information.

In healthcare design we’re often challenged by balancing informing a physician without overwhelming them. From another angle we also want to put all information and actions in reach, while trying to discern which actions should be most salient. …

Gerald Gordinier

Interaction Designer @ Google

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