Books to get you started in UX

There is an overwhelming amount of books available today for UX (user experience) professionals of all levels. In this post I will share the books that helped me get started in UX.

The following books got me hooked on the idea of working in UX and educating myself on the topic. They helped me shape an idea of what UX is and how to explain my new career choice to other people in an easy way.

Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

A rockstar inside and outside the UX community, Don Norman speaks about importance of design both in digital and physical world, providing examples and using terms easy to relate to.

UX Storytellers

As you might have guessed this book features stories by successful UX professionals. Storytelling is a crucial skill for building great user experiences and those insightful stories on finding unique UX career paths are both educational and motivational.

The Best Interface is No Interface by Golden Krishna

This is a book that reminds you that the first thing you have to do — if you really want to make people’s lives easier — is to question the need to make another app and work on another interface design. The author encourages creating more meaningful work.

Here are more books from which I gained valuable insights and step-by-step guidance. I started with books dedicated to UX in general and went on to more specialized ones. I have to say that I found very useful bringing books on business and psychology into the mix.

UX for Beginners by Joel Marsh

This is a quick read that gives you a lot to work with. It would be a great book to get you on UX path and give a general overview of the work process. It is split into 100 short lessons with an impressive amount of information packed into them.

Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett

This book in a well-structured way gives you a graphic representation of core UX principles, addressing multiple levels of interaction design. The book’s main point is that you need to look beyond code and sharp graphics to create a cohesive and consistent user experiense.

Sketching User Experiences by Bill Buxton

A great book that will boost your confidence to get out there and start working. There are plenty interesting ideas “sketched out” in the book accompanied by multiple pictures. Seemingly big, the book is very educational and easy to read.

UX Strategy by Jaime Levy

A great book that shows how UX should be incorporated into the business process. Behind every successful project stands a well thought-out and carefully implemented UX strategy and soon it will be your job to make sure there is one in your company.

Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf

The book has pretty much become a must-read for designers working for startups. It introduces lean process to UX design practices, with the emphasis on fast, iterative, collaborative work. Moreover, it simply shows you another way to approach the process of working on a project even if you are not a part of a startup team.

Remote Research by Nate Bolt and Tony Tulathimutte

The book proves that you can do successful user testing with users from any part of the world and the results can be even better than with in-person testing.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People by Susan Weinschenk

The book gives you a quick introduction into behavioral patterns and human motivations. Very useful if you want to better understand your users. Naturally, there is more to human psychology, but this book is a good way to start.

Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro

A great read if you are starting out on your own and do not have experience in dealing with clients. The book provides advice on how to be professional, deliver good work, receive feedback and be paid on time.

As important as it is to read UX books, you need to get out there and explore other topics that are not strictly UX-related. From my experience, they can be the fuel driving your motivation to move forward in your career and self-education. Those could be books with inspiring success stories, books on architecture, fashion, sport — you can learn new things from any industry and apply them to your UX process.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of good reads, and I haven’t included some of the big names such as Steve Krug and Alan Cooper — you should definitely check out their books. I add new books to my reading list almost every day and here I shared the ones that got me started in UX. I’d love to hear what the books made an impact on you.

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