UX Books: What Designers Must Read in 2021?

David
Laura Angelica updated on 2020-09-25 16:26:16
ux books

Books may have lost their readership, but they have not left their value and the companionship. If you are an avid reader, you can resonate with the fact that there is nothing better than reading those next five pages of the book before going to bed. Well-reading not only helps form new ideas and live in a magical world but if you have the right book in your hands, you can also learn new ideas and become better at what you do.

Learning UX designing from books can seem a bit tedious in the beginning, but rest assured that it is not. Reading UX books can be a great hobby and help you learn a lot about the concepts of UX designing. Plus, these UX design books are penned by experts who have been involved in the process for years altogether. The best part is that you will make sense to every type of designer irrespective of their level and understanding of the subject.

Top 20 Books to Read on UX Designing

1. The Design of Everyday Things

Penned by Don Norma, this is one of the most influential UX books out there. It is a super interesting read not to mention the useful content written by the author that is like the holy grail for UX designers. The book teaches you how to interact with the things around you in daily life. Make sure to record your observational behavior before and after reading this one, you will surely experience a sea change. Where other books might talk about the concepts and technologies, this one talks about the power of observation in design.

2. The Non-Designer's Book

Robin Williams wants the UX designers to understand the four main tenets of every design, Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity. She has talked in length about these concepts within the book while taking the entire experience to a whole new level. This is one of the most important and useful UX design books for designers across all levels. However, even the non-designers will find this masterpiece easy to read and understand, but if you are a beginner UX designer, this book belongs in your hands and on your desk at night.

3. Don't Make Me Think, Revisited

When the author Steve Krug wrote this book for UX designers, he had one thing in mind and that is to enable the designers to think like a user. This book is all about usability and how to understand user behavior on and off the web. You will find interesting anecdotes and comparisons drawn from web life as well as real life. Understanding these aspects allows the UX designer to draw appropriate conclusions and help build the right kind of websites and applications.

4. UX for Beginners: A Crash Course in 100 Short Lessons

This one is literally for beginners and can become a great source of knowledge to learn the fundamentals of designing. Reading plain text all day because you have to do it for the sake of getting a job is not what the author, Jesse James Garett had in mind while writing this UX design book. The motive is to make even the tiniest and mundane but important detail about UX interesting. That is why the author has taken a humorous road and added some jokes that you will surely like.

5. Universal Principles of Design

The book has 125 precise and shortened principles of user experience designing. Written by the trio William Lidwell, Jill Butler, Kristina Holden, this is one of those UX books that you may want around yourself at all times. It can become your go-to resource to know about the principles of usability, influence, perception, appeal, and other aspects of design-related decision-making. It teaches you through design practices while making it easier to tame even the most complex design requirements.

6. Undercover User Experience Design

Want a hands-on guide for your journey to become a UX designer, this is the book you can consider having within your reach at all times. Along with UX designers, web designers and product designers will also like this book as it shares a great amount of practical and useful advice on solving UX problems. It may be an older version, but some of the examples given by the duo authors, Cennydd Bowles and James Box are still significant.

7. Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

As one of the lean UX books, this creative masterpiece written by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden explores the role and importance of conducting user research and testing in key decision making. The authors explain to the reader (who is a UX designer) their role, importance, and place in the company. It promotes and asks the companies to lead with a UX-led approach, which is pivotal to future success. You will find several pieces of evidence that will persuade you and other readers to solve the user's problems first and then talk about other aspects of the product.

8. Start With Why

On the whole, this book may not be specifically relevant for UX designers, but it does share some important lessons that are essential for every type of designer. So, it is recommended that you have this book on your shelf and read it after reading the other ones first. The central idea behind this book by Simon Sinek is that "Why You Do Anything". Here "you" is the user and you have to understand why the user makes a decision related to a product. So, designing is not only related to aesthetics, there are several aspects involved and this book talks about one of them.

9. Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web

While you are reading all kinds of UX books, you shouldn't miss this one written by Lukas Mathis. The aim of the book is to help designers create convenient and smooth applications along with websites. The author has penned down several examples of creating and effectively leveraging the potential of usability designing. There are several principles of designing that the author talks about, and the most important one out of them is that how should people get things done without any hassles why it is essential for a UX designer to ensure that.

10. About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design

This UX design book is a must-read to know in detail about interaction and prototyping. As these are two of the basic skills expected from every UX designer, this book will help you set up the building blocks for getting to the higher levels of understanding in UX design. Along with other things, you will find that the authors Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, and Dave Cronin share the way and importance of thinking from a user's perspective while helping you understand how to build a product from there.

11. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

Another one of the masterpieces that talks about the importance of understanding human behavior while designing. One of the intellectual UX design books by Susan Weinschenk talks about the aspects of human behavior and backs it up with scientific proofs that validate every point.

12. Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning

Since every aspect of website creation is essential, Dan M. Brown talks about ways and means of communicating that help facilitate decisions. He assures that by talking to the clients, team members, and other stakeholders, a designer can create better designs that resonate with the end-user on a more personal level and also enhance the performance.

13. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

UX designing is not an independent study, rather today's UX is more connected than ever. That is why we have listed this book, which might not be a direct UX book, but shares how to keep the user hooked to a product and what should be done to ensure that they keep coming back.

14. Undercover User Experience Design

If only there were more UX design books like this one. That is what you may after completing this book. The duo authors Cennydd Bowles and James Box have some resonating and practical suggestions to help you solve UX-related problems with real design cases.

15. Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences

If you want to learn, grow in, and master UX designing, take this book home with you today. In the book, you will find 16 things related to UX Design, tools, techniques, and aspects that are essential to delivering successful web projects.

16. Sketching User Experiences

A must-have UX books for the beginner UX designers looking to ace their game in prototyping and sketching with some real-life examples

17. The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less

Talks about the overwhelming world of choices a customer is exposed to and how, as a UX designer, you can take this into account while designing new experiences for your customers.

18. The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide

Written by Leah Buley, this UX design book is a great repository for those who wish to learn and master the basics of UX research and its approaches.

19. Emotional Design: Why We Love (Or Hate) Everyday Things

Don Norman takes an interesting take on emotional design with this book. After reading this one, you will know more about effective emotional designing and its principle, than you do today.

20. Designing for Interaction

The last UX design book is vital for UX designers if they want to know more about interaction designing and want to implement the same in their designs.


Conclusion

There is no shortage of UX books out there that can help you become a successful UX researcher, strategist, and designer. Since books are a man's great friend and the fountain of wisdom, it is a great habit if you are still into reading books.

We would recommend never stop reading one and always have something on your desk to read. To become a UX designer, start with these masterpieces and let us know if there is a book that you think must be mentioned in the list of UX design books.