8 UX Classics: The Best UX Books That Every Designer Should Read

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There’s a handful of UX books that should be on the shelf (or iPhone) of every UX designer. These pioneering works offer insight and techniques that have stood the test of time as our industry has evolved over the last few decades.  Below is a list of key books that have profoundly shaped the field of UX design and continue to educate new generations of designers.

#1: The Design of Everyday Things

Considered almost a sacred scripture of UX design, Don Norman's The Design of Everyday Things offers a primer on interaction dynamics with various commodities.

Norman implores designers to make things visible, eliminating any guesswork. He calls for the inherent connection of function and control, enabling intuitive interactions. Finally, he encourages the use of constraints to guide users towards the desired actions. The ultimate objective is to pave a path for the user that navigates to the correct control for the appropriate action at the precise moment, creating a seamless and effortless user experience.

#2: Don't Make Me Think, Revisited

The ageless classic Don't Make Me Think, Revisited by Steve Krug is a treasure trove of wisdom on web usability.

Krug advocates for a design paradigm that avoids cognitive overload, facilitating simple user interaction with digital UIs. His practical exsmple and case studies dissect the fundamental ethos of user-friendly design, making it a must-read for anyone with a curiosity for improving usability.

#3: 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

Susan Weinschenk’s book is a revealing odyssey into the human psyche and its influence on our interaction with design elements.

Weinschenk artfully brings together insights from various disciplines - psychology, neuroscience, and behavioural economics - to unveil how people engage with design elements. This work is a gold mine for designers seeking to build engaging experiences that truly echo their users' preferences.

#4: UX Strategy  

UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want by Jaime Levy offers an interesting approach to UX design, putting the spotlight on strategic dimensions.

Levy's books illustrates the crafting of a thorough UX strategy, emphasizing competitor analysis, user research, and product validation. It's a requisite read for designers and product managers who aim to develop digital products that not only fulfill user needs but also align with overall business goals.

#5: Laws of UX

Jon Yablonski's Laws of UX: Using Psychology to Design Better Products & Services offers an interesting perspective on utilizing psychological principles to augment UX design.

Yablonski's book shines a light on how a nuanced understanding of human psychology can fuel the creation of more compelling and engaging user experiences. It's exploration of design acumen and psychological insight makes it a great resource for designers striving to create user-centric products.

#6: Storytelling in Design

Storytelling in Design: Defining, Designing, and Selling Multidevice Products by Anna Dahlström explains the art of marrying storytelling with UX design.

Dahlström underscores the potency of narratives in creating immersive user experiences across multiple devices. Her methodology instructs designers to mix compelling narratives into their design process, capturing user interest and creating captivating experiences.

#7: Design for How People Think

Design for How People Think: Using Brain Science to Build Better Products by John Whalen reveals how cognizance of human cognition can contribute to superior product design.

Whalen outlines the latest advancements in cognitive science to share invaluable lessons for designers. His work explains how an in-depth understanding of human thought processes can be harnessed to create designs that are truly user-focused and intuitive.

#8 The UX Book: Agile UX Design for a Quality User Experience

This book offers pragmatic guidelines for integrating UX design into agile development cycles. It serves as a comprehensive manual for UX practitioners aiming to harmoniously fuse user-centric design practices with the agility and flexibility of agile methodologies.

In Summary

The UX design path is one of constant exploration, and the books listed above can help guide you on your journey. Regardless of whether you’re an accomplished designer or a newbie embarking on just starting in UX design, these books can help to deepen your comprehension and enhance your UX design knowledge.