What are some good books about UX? UX Question #9

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D.K. from Georgia, asks: what are some good books about UX?

I love that question. Thanks for asking, D.K. This is UX Question number 9 and I am Ben Judy.

What are some good books about UX? Well, hundreds of books have been published over the past few decades about various aspects of user experience. There are, however, a few foundational classics that I always recommend to anyone who doesn’t already have deep familiarity with UX.

Here are my top five book recommendations:

  1. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman. This book will teach you not to blame the user, but to demand that intuitive guidance should be inherent in the design of all things. Originally published in 1988, a revised and expanded edition was published in 2013.
  2. The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett. I got a copy of this probably around 2004 and the diagram of the five elements helped me form my understanding of what UX was all about. This one also has an updated edition.
  3. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug helps you understand why simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, as the old saying goes. This one also has been revised and revisited by the author. I don’t know where my copy is. I think I let someone borrow it.
  4. Designing Visual Interfaces by Kevin Mullet. The examples are outdated, but it will teach you that design isn’t just intuitive, there are principles, patterns, rules and psychological theory behind good visual UI design. Which is so vital to good UX design.
  5. UX Strategy by Jamie Levy which organizes a very fuzzy, complex topic into four simple categories you can begin to make sense of.

Okay, a bonus 6th book because it’s been so influential for me: Org Design for Design Orgs. Which probably won’t mean much until you get into a design practice leadership position, but it’s a very thought provoking book.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to go back and read the older books, to get a grasp on foundational principles that are timeless.

Sure, you can find more modern books than these five that I mentioned. Books with patterns and examples that are more recent. But those books won’t do a better job of teaching you *why*. They can show you how, but if you want to know the why behind being a UX designer or researcher, go back to the old books that have stood the test of time. Then you can go forward to more recent publications.

If you’re really itching for more contemporary book, I recommend two publishers. A Book Apart and Rosenfeld Media. Links are in the description.

But you know, reading an entire book can takes days. Wouldn’t you rather just get the answers you need in three minutes or less? Yeah, I thought you would.

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