Most traditional jobs require you to go to college, study for at least 3-4 years then figure out how to navigate the job market. While there’s a lot of value to traditional education, User Experience Design (and many on-demand tech skills in general) and are moving in more nontraditional directions.
Learning UX is a matter of self-learning. UX design is an interdisciplinary study and there isn’t a single academic area that covers everything that goes into the field. Self-education is your best option out there.
Now, self-education can include many things - online courses, videos and books.
We’ve talked about educating yourself UX/UI Designer here in this article.
But right now, here are some of the best books you can read to become a great User Experience Designer.
1. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
This has got to be the first book on this list. This is the bible of UXers.
Before the 1990s, the job of a UX Designer was done by many different job titles, and it wasn’t clear at all. It was Don Norman, who coined the term “User Experience Designer” and gave UXers their new identity.
This book is not highly technical, gives the eye for design and the mentality one needs to have while entering the world of UX. All this makes this book a great read for beginners.
2. Don’t make me think by Steve Krug
Today, thousands of UX designers and web developers have followed Krug’s guide to learn the principles of UX design.
This is a go-to book for usability design. And if you’re a beginner, learning about Usability and how to design products with good usability is going to help you a lot in becoming a great UX/UI Designer!
3. UX for Beginners: A Crash Course in 100 Short Lessons by Joel Marsh
A one-stop guide for beginners. Joel Marsh talks about user psychology, usability, and much more principles a UX designer needs to know. UX is a multi-disciplinary field and having a knowledge of many different fields - psychology, tech, business - is going to help you as a beginning designer. This book is a great starting point as it combines all those fields and gives a basic, yet insightful overview of them.
4. 100 things every designer needs to know about people by Susan Weinschenk
This book looks at how and why people behave, using real science and research this book focuses on how you can apply these theories and thoughts to the way you design. There are some common-sense principles, but also some that I wouldn’t have thought to apply to design.
With many different useful concepts concise in one place, this book serves the purpose of a great “go-to” time and again.
5. About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design
A worldwide shift on interaction design with tablets and smartphones into account. This book si for both UX and UI Designers. The authors explore valuable principles about thinking from the user’s perspective and tell us how to design user-centred products, as well as how to design for modern times when people spend most of their times on their smartphones, not on computers.
6. Lean UX by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
Both the authors lay out a way of thinking about and building amazing products that work well for users and business. They provide invaluable insight into how product, technology and UX can work together to validate ideas quickly and iteratively. Basically, this is a great read if you want to know about how UXers work in a business and how product management works.
7. Emotional Design by Don Norman
This book is a design approach to create products that deliver positive experiences for users. UX/UI designers use this design approach to design creative interfaces in order to trigger a positive emotional response from the users. This leads to users loving the product even more.
This book helps you to create a strong influence on the designs of websites or applications for better and more delightful UX.
8. Hooked by Nir Eyal
This book delivers exactly what it says. This book is less about a list of principles of design and usability, but more on how to design to keep your users engaged with the product. Nir Eyal talks about the 4 stages of keeping consumers hooked to the product, he calls it a ‘hook cycle’.
Reading books is always a great way to consume knowledge and gain years worth of experience from the authors. You can learn so much just by sitting down and reading.
A User Experience Designer works on the experience and having a good grasp of the concepts, a good knowledge of user psychology, usability design, UX process and more, having a good knowledge of these helps make it easier to apply them in real world and create great products. This will certainly lead to your career growth and also boost your confidence!