Starting your UX career? 5 UX designers share their “must read” books

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Want To Work In UX? The 4 Books You Must Read! But before you get into that - Why get into Design?

UX Design is becoming more and more valuable to companies with each growing day. When done well, it provides users a good experience that in turn keep them reliant on that platform i.e. website, mobile etc. This enables them to stay as long term customers.

User Experience (UX) is one of those disciplines that’s useful in just about all modern age roles, as it covers the experience a person has with any product or service. From online shopping to researching and booking tradies, and even the way candidates move through a recruitment process.

Good UX Design helps bridge the gap between us and any digital platform. In this digital-first world and especially post covid, UX Design is becoming the most sought after position in any company.

Whether you’re starting your UX career, or you work alongside UX and are looking to extend your knowledge, we’ve got you covered. Divya Lopez recenlty asked five experts to share their recommended reads.

Lise Heymer | Experience and Product Design Leader

Recommendation: Cooper, A, Reimann, R, Cronin, D, & Noessel, C 2014, About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design, Fourth Edition, John Wiley & Sons Inc, USA

Lise says, “If the UX design field had a bible, this would be the book. The first edition is from 1995 but it's still so relevant. Alan Cooper, one of the authors started his user experience design practices in 1992, after almost two decades of developing software. He created one of the most well-known design techniques, the Personas, and the Goal-Directed Design methodology – pure gold. This book covers what real user experience design should be and goes deep into User Interface Design best practices.”

Linh McDermott | Senior UX Design Lead

Recommendation: Krug, S 2014, Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Pearson Education Heg, USA

Linh says, “Don’t Make Me Think is a great book that should be a part of every UX arsenal. It provides a practical framework and approach for responsive product design. 

One of Krug’s principles is that users come to sites with a reservoir of goodwill which diminishes each time they experience inconvenience, confusion, or frustration. Various chapters in the book provide recommendations to improve the overall experience so that users are left with enough goodwill, which in turn, will produce revenue. 

An important consideration for any site is the homepage. Krug proposes asking four main questions when approaching the homepage design to help guide the decision making. 

Finally, the chapter on user testing explains the importance of validating the design as well as championing a test and learn, iterative design process. Overall, this is an insightful book for any aspiring UX.”

Chen Cao | Senior UX Designer

Recommendation: Knapp, J, Zeratsky, J, & Kowitz, B 2016, Sprint: How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, Random House UK

Chen says, “This book was recommended by a product owner I worked closely with. It introduces a great UX design method which can be done in 5 days, including how to facilitate workshops with team members, how to generate great ideas and solutions, how to create prototypes in a short period of time, and how to conduct usability testing.”

Olive Pan | Senior UX Designer

Recommendation: Krug, S 2014, Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, Pearson Education Heg, USA

Olive says, “The book that came to my mind is Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug. The key message that is already summarised in the title: usability is to help users achieve their goals in a simple and easy way. It resonates with what Jared Spool said: ‘Good design, when done well, should be invisible.’”

Arpita Das | UI UX Designer

Recommendation: Norman, D 2013, The Design of Everyday Things, Little Brown

Arpita says, “The Design of Everyday Things is a mind opening book which focuses on user centred design and design thinking. It helped me to understand the psychology of good and bad design. I would recommend this book to all designers as it will give a good insight of human-centered designing.”

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