UX designer has been identified as one of the top 25 jobs to have by Glassdoor in 2022, and this trend is expected to continue. The demand for careers in UX design is on the rise across various industries, but there is a gap in the availability of skills and education in this field. Many turn to self-learning through online courses, tutorials, and other resources, but often find that they provide only a superficial understanding of the subject. This is where UX design books come in.

They have become a crucial resource for many self-learners, providing a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of UI and UX design. These books offer a solid foundation for anyone looking to build a career in UX design, and for any designer looking to improve their understanding of the subject.

There are many books on the subject and picking the right one can be a tough task. This article shares some of the best UX design books, categorized into different groups. 

  • Introductory books to design 
  • UX design books for beginners 
  • Books on design guidelines 
  • Advanced design books for UX designers 

Dive into the world of design with these 10 UX design books 

“Wonder is the beginning of wisdom in learning from books as well as from nature”, said Mortimer Adler, author of the classic guide “How to read a book”. 

Listed here are books that provide significant insights into creating user-centric designs. The thoughts and real-life examples given in these books will help readers gain practical lessons to solve user challenges and create great user experience designs. 

After reading these books, readers will be able to:

  • Apply UX design principles in designing products 
  • Get inspiration for creating user-centric designs 
  • Improve design skills 
  • Stay updated on industry trends
  • Learn different UX processes 

UX design books for an introduction to design 

    1. The design of everyday things by Don Norman

The "Design of Everyday Things" is a seminal work in the field of user experience (UX) design. Written by Don Norman, a pioneering figure in the field, the book offers a comprehensive look at the principles of good and bad design through real-world examples, such as the now-infamous "Norman door" - a term used to describe a poorly designed door that confounds users.

Not only is this book a must-read for aspiring designers looking to gain a deeper understanding of the user experience and its impact on everyday life, but it also delves into various other aspects of design such as error recovery, aesthetics, and intuitive navigation. The book remains a classic in the field, and its insights continue to shape the way designers think about their craft. If you are interested in UX, it is a must-read.

A quote from The design of everyday things

    2. Hooked: How to build habit forming products by Nir Eyal

Habit-forming products are those that people use without much thought or effort. They become a part of people's daily routines and are integrated into their lifestyles. A good example of this is social media apps like Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, which many people automatically open when they're bored or want to connect with others. In his book, Nir Eyal takes readers through the process of creating habit-forming products.

He introduces the Hook Model, a framework for understanding habit formation and ways to influence it. The model consists of four stages: trigger, action, reward, and investment. When a product is developed using the Hook Model, it targets the user's core habits, which increases the likelihood of long-term engagement with the product. Throughout the book, Eyal provides practical advice for designers on how to apply the Hook Model to create habit-forming products.

UX design books for beginners 

    3. Don’t make me think by Steve Krug

The book "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug is a guide on how to improve web usability and provide a positive user experience. It lays out a set of principles and examples for making the user's journey on your website as effortless and enjoyable as possible. The book covers a variety of topics including reading and scanning patterns of users, effective content structure and clear navigation design. The author's fundamental philosophy is that web user experience design should be intuitive and self-explanatory, without requiring the user to think too much.

The author, Steve Krug, presents complex concepts in a light and approachable manner, making it easy for readers to understand and apply the principles. Additionally, the book is written as a handy guide, allowing you to easily absorb useful tips for enhancing your website's UX in a short amount of time.

A quote from Don’t make me think

    4. 100 things every designer needs to know about people by Susan Weinschenk

In her book, "100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People," behavioral scientist Susan Weinschenk provides a comprehensive and research-backed look at human behavior and thought processes. She focuses on key areas such as user perception, attention, memory, emotion, motivation, and decision-making, and uses real-world case studies to illustrate the practical application of these concepts in user experience design.

This book serves as an essential guide for understanding the user journey and the psychology behind it. With a wealth of facts, examples, and tips, it's a valuable resource for both emerging and experienced designers, as it offers insights into how people think, behave and feel, making it easier to apply the UX concepts in design to make the user's experience more efficient and enjoyable.

A quote from 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

    5. UX for beginners: A crash course in 100 short lessons by Joel Marsh

"UX For Beginners" is an essential guide for anyone looking to acquire skills in user experience design. Filled with one hundred illustrated and easily digestible lessons, this book covers a wide range of topics related to UX, including user research, usability testing, information architecture, wireframing, and prototyping. Each lesson is carefully crafted to provide a solid foundation in the basics of UX design.

This book is an excellent resource for both beginners and experienced designers, as it presents complex concepts in a clear and straightforward way, making it accessible even for those with a non-technical background. The lessons are immediately actionable and can be applied to real-world UX projects, allowing designers to level up their careers and master the fundamental principles of UX design quickly.

A quote from UX for Beginners: a crash course in 100 short lessons

    6.The user experience team of one: A research and design survival guide by Leah Buley

"The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide" is an ideal resource for those just starting out in the field of user experience (UX). The book aims to help newcomers navigate the challenges of conducting user research and design work. It provides practical advice on how to prioritize tasks, manage time effectively, communicate work to stakeholders, and advocate for user-centered design within an organization.

One of the biggest challenges in UX design is ensuring that all team members are on the same page and working towards a common goal. This book offers a comprehensive guide on how to achieve this, making it easier to create user-centered designs when everyone is aligned. It's a valuable resource for anyone who wants to succeed as a lone UX professional or someone who is starting a new role or working on a small UX team.

A quote from The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide

UX design books for design guidelines 

    7. Universal principles of design by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden, and Jill Butler

"Universal Principles of Design" is an indispensable reference guide that provides an in-depth overview of 125 design principles, including visual examples of key concepts such as the Red Effect, the Rule of Thirds, and Color and Highlighting. The book is divided into five main sections: Form, Space, Time, Sound, and Emotion. Each section delves deeply into different design principles and offers real-world examples of how they have been applied in design projects.

Whether you're an experienced designer or just getting started, this book is a must-read. It offers a wealth of tools and concepts that can be applied to any design project and will help you develop a deeper understanding of the underlying principles of design. It is an ideal companion for anyone who wants to refine their design skills and gain new perspectives on how to create effective designs that stand out.

A quote from Universal Principles of Design

    8. Creative confidence: Unleashing the creative potential within us all by Tom and David Kelly

"Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All" is an essential guide for any user experience designer who wants to tap into their full creative potential. The book is all about exploring the power of creative confidence, and the belief in one's ability to generate innovative ideas. It provides practical tips and strategies for developing the necessary skills and mindset to solve design problems and achieve goals.

Creativity is an essential ingredient in UX design, and this book makes it clear that it is the foundation of user-centered design. The book stresses the importance of creativity, innovation, and design as the key elements for any successful user-centric design. The author provides guidance on how to build up your own creativity by unlocking the potential within you and the teams, leading to the creation of exceptional user experiences.

A quote from Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All

UX design books for advanced designers 

    9. Lean UX: Applying lean principles to improve user experience by Jeff Gothelf & Josh Seiden

"Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience" is an insightful and informative guide for UX designers looking to improve the efficiency and quality of their work. Written by experts in the field, this book explains how to design and deliver high-quality user experiences in a lean and efficient manner. It is based on the idea that traditional UX design practices can be resource-intensive and time-consuming.

The authors of the book aim to provide a solution for designers who want to adapt to the fast-paced world of technology and keep up with the changing landscape. By implementing Lean UX principles, designers can experiment with design ideas rapidly, collaborate with their team members, and validate and improve their design decisions. The book provides the insights and guidance necessary to improve their workflow, boost their creativity and productivity, and create exceptional user experiences.

A quote from Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

    10. Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky

In "Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days," the authors provide a step-by-step guide to a powerful process called a "sprint" that can help turn innovative ideas into successful products or solutions. This process is designed to help teams solve complex problems and test new ideas quickly, by focusing on defining the target, finding a solution, and testing a prototype within just five days.

The book is rich in case studies and examples that demonstrate the sprint process and how it can be applied to any organization or challenge. It provides clear, actionable guidance on how to conduct a sprint, and also illustrates how this process can be used to develop user-centric products in a short amount of time. The book is a must-read for anyone who wants to improve their problem-solving and innovation skills and learn how to quickly bring great ideas to life.

A quote from Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

Get started with a UX design book 

The field of UX design is constantly evolving, and staying current requires continuous learning and engagement. Whether you're new to the field or an experienced designer, reading books about UX design is an important way to deepen your understanding and expand your knowledge. 

The books discussed in this article are for readers of all skill levels and cover a wide range of topics, from the basics of UX design to more advanced concepts. By reading these books, you will gain valuable insights into the nuances of UX design and gain new perspectives on how to create effective and user-centered designs. These books can be a valuable resource to learn and grow as a designer.

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