The Best User Experience Design Links of 2017

As the year comes to an end, it’s always good to take time to reflect. I looked at the stats for the past 50 UX Design Weekly issues and filtered out the best of the best.

It’s my hope that you’ll find a link or two that you might have missed that will help you in the new year. Here’s a look at the the best user experience articles, tools, and media from 2017.


The Irrational User
How cognitive biases can help create sticky, engaging products.

Using science to make truly tappable user interfaces
The optimal button size to confidently create user interfaces that will help your customers reduce errors and get things done faster.

The Archetypes of UX Design
7 types of archetypes of UX design and where they best fit.

Shh! Don’t Tell Them There’s No Magic In Design Thinking
As design professionals, we shouldn’t let ourselves think there’s any magic in Design Thinking.

Design for Non-Designers
Reducing clutter — the one piece of advice to instantly improve your design skills.

Mobile-First Is Just Not Good Enough: Meet Journey-Driven Design
Good design gives users the best experience on the device that the user wants to use at that point in their journey.

The Rules for Modern Navigation
A few best practices allow designers to create more effective, clearer navigation experiences. Also check out A Look into Navigation in Web Design.

Push for a point of view
Good design is all about having a clear purpose. Lessons from designers at Google, Airbnb, Slack, and more.

Great Alternatives to Hamburger Menus
Don’t make your navigation the drawer where you put all things you don’t have a place for. For more, check out Material Design and the Mystery Meat Navigation Problem.

Design Principles Behind Great Products
A collection of principles that drive design decisions from some of the top companies.

3 Ways to Fight Impostor Syndrome
A few tips from Megan Crabtree, an interaction designer at IDEO, to always remember the value you have.

The Beginning of your Design Career
Advice by Julie Zhao on how to get started on the path of a successful product design career.

The Five-Tool Designer
Everyone looks for slightly different things in the designers they hire, but for Mike Davidson, there are five tools that stand above the rest.

Tips for Becoming a Design Leader
Strong leadership from individual contributors drives product development which is why becoming a manager isn’t seen as a promotion at Facebook.

Six Steps to Superior Product Prototyping
Lessons from an Apple and Oculus Engineer on how to prototype just the right amount and to make sure it’s successful.

Design for Emotion
Tapping into emotion provokes a powerful response and can make even the simplest of experiences into something people love to use.

Anticipatory Design: How to Create Magical User Experiences
As technology has evovled, creating that perfect personalized experience at the right time and right place is finally in our reach.

Product People, Mind the Gap!
A simple question to create a product that people love.

No budget? No excuse. Here’s a practical guide to UX on the cheap.
Tips and tricks to do research research when you have little to no budget.

Iteration is not design
You can’t design by iteration and incremental improvement. The idea of producing great products without the need of designers doesn’t work.

Best Design Advice No One Ever Gave Me
Four lessons learned from explaining design decisions to learning new skills.

Poor Management and Mediocre UX Design Go Together
Weak management support for UX and lack of UX leadership and role models correlate with unexceptional designs.

Use this exercise to solve any Product Design Challenge
A simple process to create the freedom needed to be creative.

Before you can master design, you must first master the fundamentals
Some fundamentals you should master so you can take your visual design to the next level.

The Web Looks Like Sh!t
Instead of becoming simpler and more thoughtful, navigating our digital spaces has turned into an increasingly frustrating exercise.

Everyone is a designer. Get over it.
Whether you like it or not, people outside of your design team are making significant design choices that affect your customers in important ways.

A Proven Method For Showing The Value Of Good UX
How to convince people in your organization to take user experience seriously.

Questions to ask as a new designer on the team
Three simple questions to ask at the start of every project to create a collaborative environment and arrive at better design solutions.

The Most Important Part of Design You’re Probably Overlooking.
What Is information architecture, why it’s important, and tips for creating good IA.

Stop talking, start listening
Good designers are good listeners. They start by understanding, not solving.

How to not suck at design
A 5 minute guide of practical design tips for the non-designer that you can apply today.

Bulletproof User Onboarding
With onboarding, there simply is no silver bullet but you can always strive for bullet-proof.

6 storytelling principles to improve your UX
Applying storytelling techniques and methods help your UX Design and the process.

Sketch is not a UX design tool
The next generation of tools can’t be pen-and-paper simulators anymore.

Google’s 3 Secrets To Designing Perfect Conversations
Learn from great conversationalist, hide “errors” the same way people do, and don’t fear strong personalities.

How to Design Great UX for Sign Up Form
Some tips on designing forms through the whole process from start to submission. For more on form design, check out Better Form Design: One Thing Per Page.

All Thumbs, Why Reach Navigation Should Replace the Navbar in iOS Design
It’s time to move away from the navbar in favor of navigation within thumb-reach.

25 Minute Design School
A crash course in digital product design.

The Psychology Principles Every UI/UX Designer Needs to Know
Some design principles to help you understand the perception of the user.

How To Give Helpful Product Design Feedback
A framework to better guide our critiques of the changes, redesigns, and launches of our colleagues.

Why Most Designers Fail Google’s Infamous Interview Design Challenge
Being a designer means fighting the presumptive reflex to truly understand the context of a problem.

Don’t Use Split Buttons for Navigation Menus
Challenges and solutions for replicating menu on hover and category landing page on touchscreens.

Stealing Your Way to Original Designs
A primer in using other influences to create an original design.

IDEO’s secret to better brainstorming sessions
IDEO developed a brainstorming strategy that relies on three simple words: the phrase “How might we.”

Designing interactive experiences
The ‘what, when and how’ of interactive prototyping.

Send me problems, not wireframes
Why a good designer would probably prefer to not get them from you.

How to identify Good Design in 6 steps
A list of principles that could define good design so it doesn’t have to be subjective.

The Golden Age of UX is Over
How to stay relevant in the new, mature era of digital product design.

How to Write a Perfect Error Message
The 3 vital parts of every good error message.

How to build a UX research system that runs on autopilot
A step-by-step guide for automating your UX research flow to make sure you’re receiving a steady stream of user feedback throughout your entire product cycle.

Designers are using “dark UX” to turn you into a sleep-deprived internet addict
When is design too engaging for users’ own good?

A quick beginner’s guide to drawing
6 drawing exercises to get you started right now.

How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Design Thinking
Breaking down design thinking and why it works.

How to present design decisions
A 5 step framework to prepare to explain design decisions.

A Unified Theory for Designing Just About Anything
A theory for designing stuff based on contexts, architecture, mechanics and poetics.

Flat UI Elements Attract Less Attention and Cause Uncertainty
Flat interfaces often use weak signifiers which more user effort than strong ones.

Optical Effects in User Interfaces (for True Nerds)
How to make optically balanced icons, correct shapes alignment, and perfect corner rounding.

Designer’s Self-Checklist
What kind of designer are you or want to become?

How Designers Turn Into Design Leaders
Design leadership doesn’t necessarily mean design management.

Study: Clean Design Really Is Better
A look at 300 e-commerce sites showed that the cleaner the design, the lower the bounce rate.

Apple is really bad at design
Apple seems to have lost its knack for either envisioning the future, or expertly ripping off the people who do.

Google is really good at design
Google is finally unifying devices and software through design.

Dead-End UX
The big problem that Facebook, Twitter, and others need to solve.

Ghost buttons: Why you should be afraid
How ghost buttons have gained in popularity and what their impact can be on user conversion.

14 Uncomfortable Habits That Will Make You a Better UX Designer
Learn and grow by getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Fake designs yield real results
How doing fake design work was critical to Daniel Burka’s career.

The Most Important Rule in UX Design that Everyone Breaks
Miller’s Law of the magical number seven, plus or minus two.

The First 15 Seconds
How do you build a product that engages a user quickly enough to engage them over time?

Tools & Resources

Design Guidelines
The best publicly available design guidelines and the thought process behind it.

One place for all the best design thinking.

Apple UI Design Resources
The Apple UI Design Resources include Photoshop and Sketch templates, and other UI materials for quickly designing iOS apps.

An open-source tool from Airbnb that renders After Effects animations in real time to any native app.

UX Research Cheat Sheet
A list of user research methods and activities to help you decide which to use when at any point in the design cycle.

U.S. Web Design Standards
After a year and a half of development and user research, version 1.0 of the U.S. Web Design Standards is officially out.

AI & sketching means fast drawing for everyone.

Design Sprint Kit
Google put out resources for planning and running a Google design sprint.

Shopify Polaris
Shopify’s design system complete with design principles, UI kit, voice and tone, and component library.

52 Research Terms you need to know as a UX Designer
Your A-Z list of research terms in plain English.

Atlassian’s Design Language
Atlassian’s end-to-end design language to create straightforward and beautiful experiences.

Interface Lovers
An online magazine that spotlights designers and features a collection of mixes by your favorite designers.

Design Better Data Tables
A list of design structures, interaction patterns, and techniques to help you design better data tables.

Style Guide Guide
A boilerplate for creating superb style guides.

18F Method Cards
A collection of tools to bring human-centered design into your project.

Another Lens
A research tool for conscientious creatives by Airbnb.

Resources to the world’s best design practices including books, podcasts, and more.

InVision Studio
InVision announced their free all-in-one design tool due out in the new year.

Questions UX Designers Should be Asking
A list of questions to ask at every stage of the process.

Really Good UX
A library of screenshots for UX inspiration.

2018’s UX Designer Salary Forecast
The biggest trend for 2018 is the widening salary range for more experienced designers


High Resolution
A video podcast with design leaders from all around the world.

The Art of Storytelling
A free course by the people that tell stories best, Pixar.

Design in Tech Report 2017
The third annual Design in Tech Report by John Maeda examines how design trends are revolutionizing the entrepreneurial and corporate ecosystems in tech.

Interaction 17
Videos of talks from this year’s Interaction 17 conference.

All the slides (and more) from the 2017 IA Summit
Links to session slides and notes, posters from the poster session, and photos from the conference.

Talks from Adaptive Path’s Leading Experience Conference earlier this year.

40 books to maximize your creative potential and level-up in design
A list for designers who feel stuck, need inspiration or hungry for knowledge.

THE LOOP: a documentary on IBM design thinking
A documentary about IBM’s inspirational journey to adopt design thinking and transform business outcomes throughout the company.

Giant List of UX Books
A giant list of UX books for UX designers and researchers.

Did you know this is the 4th straight year I’ve done this? For past years, check out The Best User Experience Design Links of 2016, 2015 and 2014.

What will be the top UX trends of 2018? Get a curated list of the best user experience design links, published and delivered to your inbox every week for free.