Some of my favorite books for user experience:

  • The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman – Not just a UX book and not focused on digital products, but still the first book I would recommend to anybody interested in the field.
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – Okay, this book is not even technically a design book. This is probably the most thorough book you will find on how the human mind works outside of a college psychology textbook. Kahneman’s overarching theme is that our brains have two separate system: fast, or system 1, which tries to respond immediately to our environment through heuristics and previous experience; and slow, or system 2, which actually does the hard work of thinking when we really need. Understanding heuristics and biases is invaluable in design, and this thick book walks through the ways our brain works and can trick us through numerous studies over the decades by the author and others.
  • Designing with the Mind in Mind by Jeff Johnson – If you read Norman and Kahneman, you’ll know more about cognitive psychology than you ever though possible. This book takes the principles of cognitive psychology and explicitly shows how they apply to the design of digital products.
  • The Handbook of Usability Testing by Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell – This book taught me everything about usability testing that they didn’t teach my in school. It’s just an incredibly practical guide to all the nitty, gritty details you need to think about when planning, executing, and evaluating usability tests.
  • Sketching User Experiences by Bill Buxton – Not only is this a really visually interesting book, I enjoy how it blows up the concept of “sketching.” Sketching is more about the process of quickly and roughly getting ideas out so you can evaluate and learn from them than it is about the specific method you use. Lots of great ideas and lots of inspiration in this book.
  • Web Form Design by Luke Wroblewski – Some books cover the big pictures of design, the principles, the psychology of human-computer interaction, etc. This book is not one of those books. Based on a ton of research by the author and others, this book is a dive into the details of how to make forms on the web easy to use.