Post by Kate Hansen

I like reading, and I like User Experience Design. Check out my top 5 books and resources for beginner UX designers. All are worthwhile reads, but I suggest you start at #1 and work your way down.

1. Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug

dontmakemethink.jpgSteve Krug’s straight-up common sense manual has been popular for years, but it bears repeating. The newest edition includes thoughts on mobile responsiveness, which is a big deal and cannot be ignored. If you don’t have a background in web design or development, this is an excellent place to start. It’ll give you a solid foundation in basic theory and practical application.

Main Take-Away: Follow basic conventions and common sense, and users will not want to kill you.

Find it here:


2. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People, by Susan Weinschenk

100ThingsOnce Mr. Krug has taught you standard conventions, it’s time to start thinking about users. 100 Things is an excellent primer on human behavior patterns. We’re predictable creatures, and understanding a few patterns will help you create software that works with people instead of against them. Each Thing is a short chapter with a practical tip for implementation. Well-written and fun to read, I loved this book and refer to it often.

Main Take-Away: Humans are predictable, and they want software that fulfills their expectations.

Find it here:


3. The User’s Journey, by Donna Lichaw

users-journey-front-320x480You’ve heard of The Hero’s Journey, yeah? Of course you have. Now simply understand that each user is a hero in their own story, and you get this great book. Donna Lichaw maps out in detail the ways that popular devices and services use story to delight and retain users. Did you know that iPhone in your pocket is a story? It surely is, along with the Twitter app you installed on it. After learning standard conventions from Krug and specific behaviors from Weinschenk, this book will zoom out  and teach you how to use both functionality and predictable behavior to construct a complete experience. It’s fascinating, and the book has a great balance between theory and practical techniques to apply it.

Main Take-Away: Every person is a hero, and they understand information and experiences best in story form.

Find it here:


4. User Experience (UX): The Ultimate Guide to Usability and UX, by David Travis

If you’ve read the first three books and decided you’re serious about doing this UX thing, then it’s time to learn directly from a professional. Dr. David Travis has created an online course on Udemy. He goes through fundamental theory of the discipline and then progresses into more and more specific research methods and practices. It’s an excellent introduction to actually doing projects.

The online course is extremely affordable for the value, and it’s easy to work at your own pace and complete activities on your own. Two thumbs up.

Main Take-Away: With a basic understand of theory, and a dedication to good research, anyone can be a usability expert.

Find it here:

5. The User Experience Team of One, by Leah Buley

17-ux-team-of-one-copy-320x480You’ve studied hard and gained all this knowledge, and now it’s time to get to work. Leah Buley gives you step-by-step instructions for a multitude of research methods, and she lays out when you should use it, how long it will take, and what you’ll get out of it. If you don’t know where to start, start here.

Main Take-Away: Follow a process and focus on results.

Find it here:

Those are my top 5. What are yours?

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