UX is another rapidly evolving E-Commerce phenomenon that is crucial for businesses to be able to keep their heads above water. Every single change in the online market system instantly triggers changes in the way people surf the Internet and buy something online, which creates the endless challenge of constant adoption and modification for businesses. And, because user experience covers a large set of transversal disciplines and IT spheres, it obviously requires certain devotion and skill for you to gain loyalty of those making your business grow – users.'
Mastering UX design is an important step towards reconsidering your brand, your products, your website, and, of course, your aims and strategies. And to help you successfully grasp all the essentials and practices, we’re going to review here the bestselling books on UX design and everything that is related to user experience as a concept, including interaction, information architecture, usability, user research, and more.
Table of contents
- 1 UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want by Jaime Levy
- 2 Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited by Steve Krug
- 3 Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
- 4 Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
- 5 Mapping Experiences by James Kalbach
- 6 The Design Studio Method: Creative Problem Solving with UX Sketching by Brian K Sullivan
- 7 The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
- 8 Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz
- 9 Articulating Design Decisions by Tom Greever
- 10 UX for Lean Startups by Laura Klein
- 11 The User Experience Team of One by Leah Buley
- 12 User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton with Peter Economy
- 13 Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights by Steve Portigal
- 14 The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett
- 15 Think First: My No-Nonsense Approach to Creating Successful Products, Memorable User Experiences + Very Happy Customers by Joe Natoli
- 16 Validating Product Ideas by Tomer Sharon
- 17 Designing Multi-Device Experiences by Michael Levin
UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want by Jaime Levy
This book will introduce you to the complex art of UX strategy development that combines in itself both business planning and UX design techniques and practices required to make your digital products desirable to the user. What’s even more important, all of the covered techniques are pretty accessible even to inexperienced entrepreneurs and website owners.
The content of this book is built in such a way so that you will manage to gain a complete understanding of major UX processes through both practical and historical point of view. In addition, you will see how various UX tactics can be more useful than others and what should be avoided in order to provide stability to your brand, – primarily through the eyes of professional strategists in the field. On your completion of this material, you will learn how to:
- determine your target audience and analyze its major preferences and needs;
- conduct a qualitative research of your niche in order to discover what is lacking and what you can introduce to become valuable to the customer;
- build UX funnels that will bring desired user actions to life and contribute to effective customer engagement.
The book has the majority of positive reviews on Amazon, praising the quality of its content and delivery. In addition, the author is said to put great emphasis on describing real-world case studies taken from her own long-standing professional experience in the field. Overall, the book is a great learning source for those interested in UX design, especially in the one that is made the lean way.
The book is available on Amazon for $28.92 (in paperback), and you can also purchase a digital copy that costs $16.19.
Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited by Steve Krug
This legendary book has gone through numerous updates and (re-)editions since its first publication in 2000. Despite the fact that the notion of usability has now slightly changed its primary meaning, Krug’s famous guide to UX design remains at its core the most comprehensive source of practical knowledge to all that are willing to improve their online presence for the sake of acquiring and sustaining customer loyalty.
The author’s main aim is to let the reader understand the principles of intuitive website navigation and smart information design, both of which tend to heavily influence user’s perception of your products or services. The latest edition of the book applies all major usability concepts to modern-day examples and practices. It also dedicates an additional chapter to mobile usability which is even more important for building a truly competitive online business today.
Being useful to both web developers and entrepreneurs, this book is at the same time a valuable source of UX design skills and one of the most inspirational materials you could ever find on the web.
A paperback copy of the book is now only $23.84, and a corresponding Kindle version – $21.06.
Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
This one is another must-have guide that will help you answer lots of essential questions. First of all, you will manage to understand why some companies persist in providing high-quality products and services and still fail in the end, while others offer mediocre unoriginal stuff which gets incredibly popular among customers. And more importantly, you will gain the skill of defining specific patterns and technologies that are used by successful companies to ensure the inevitable growth in their traffic and sales.
The author introduces you to the so-called Hook Model implemented by a great number of leading companies worldwide. It primarily consists of four consistent steps designed to lead the customer to gradual appreciation of the given product or service. Even if the user feels sceptical about your product at first, by the end of the fourth step they are likely to get encouraged to finally buy it, thus becoming “hooked” by your hidden marketing approach.This model also guarantees that the user will return to your website on its own will, which eliminates the need for additional advertising, e-mail messaging and other annoying means of attracting customers’ attention.
The author of the book allows you to take a role of a customer thus giving you a better understanding of primary psychological processes lying behind people’s desire to buy certain products. You’ll also discover how products influence your behavior and how you can use it to create better products of your own to bring more loyal customers to your brand.
The hardcover copy now costs just $14.58, so don’t waste your money on doubtful expensive materials – buy one proven book that is there to make your business work.
Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden
By utilizing the lean approach to UX design, you will discover endless opportunities for your business to meet the needs of the most demanding user. The author’s rich experience in Agile UX and Lean UX will help you find and implement the best working design ideas for your own digital products and later assess their effectiveness through real customer interaction processes.
The main aim of this book is to show you how to maximize the effectiveness of your website by constantly interacting with other members of your team and gathering feedback from your visitors at every stage of your design campaign. This can be achieved through a few meaningful steps:
- Focus on one problem at a time and try to come up with the most effective solution for it;
- Share your tool repertoire with other members of your team – get the best results faster;
- Actively apply MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) to see how good your ideas are at the early stage;
- Use iterative cycles to introduce new design features to your customers – be patient and attentive to user opinion;
- Combine Lean UX and Agile UX to achieve better productivity;
- Learn which steps you should take in order to successfully integrate Lean UX to your business.
The book is available in hardcover and costs just $12.43 on Amazon.
Mapping Experiences by James Kalbach
This book will teach you how to integrate existing user experience into a valuable source of improvement for your business. And, to be able to see possible problems clearly, you will learn how to build intelligible alignment diagrams containing each and every customer-related issue as its basic component. With the resulting UX map, you will manage to identify the main source of your problems and concentrate on resolving it in the most efficient way.
Being useful to product and service managers, marketers and business owners themselves, this guide is a proven way of understanding your drawbacks through the eyes of your customers and deciding on the best strategy for improving your brand quality. Your final aim is therefore to provide users with the value they deserve in order to encourage future conversions and sales.
The book presents various methods of visualizing user experience and covers the following topics:
- Introduction to primary diagramming principles and how to use diagrams to fulfil your marketing strategies;
- The four iterative diagram models that are most frequently used for mapping UX, specifically: creating a mapping initiative, investigating the given evidence, visualizing the process, and using the resulting diagrams to illustrate certain problems during your experiments and workshops;
- Developing your diagrams into actionable maps, including customer journey maps, UX maps, mental and spatial models, etc.
Mapping Experiences is now available on Amazon for $23.93 for a paperback copy. And, as always, you can also purchase a digital copy which is worth $17.
The Design Studio Method: Creative Problem Solving with UX Sketching by Brian K Sullivan
This one is a great practical guide that primarily presents UX design as a creative process. Moreover, according to this book, each step of your design strategy is supposed to be the result of a productive collaboration with your team which includes constant brainstorming, creative approach to problem-solving, ability to agree on one thing, idea analysis, and its safe realization. As a result of this complex interaction process, you get the opportunity to build innovative and efficient product or service without sacrificing its quality or customer value. This book is a true guide towards understanding where each member of your team belongs to in your UX design studio, and how to ensure their most effective involvement in this comprehensive process.
This guide is an essential reference to success that covers:
- various methods of involving your team-members into the creative process;
- bright examples of great Design Studio projects aiming to illustrate the effectiveness of the author’s method and help you build your own successful project;
- includes additional online materials serving as an aid to the main book and covering a more detailed description of each meaningful step of your design strategy as well as other handy procedures to help you be sure that you’re on your way.
You can now buy this book on Amazon for $33.61 in paperback or for just $19.22 as a Kindle e-book.
The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
If you would like to dig deeper into the psychological aspects of user behavior, this one is likely to take your interest. Written by a professional engineer in the field of cognitive science, the book conveys major processes of the human brain that shape the way people perceive brands, their products and services, advertising, and more. And, based on this theoretical background, it further elaborates on how to create a user-friendly product that would suit the budget and bring more awareness of your brand to the world.
The core of usability, according to the author, lies in the ability to build simple yet visible things that promote natural business-customer relationships and allow you to effortlessly guide visitors to conversion. And if you manage to use the right approach for designing your product, you will definitely gain good results even if at some point something goes wrong. All in all, the book contains a deep analysis of every UX design topic you might be interested in, with tons of real world examples and analogies.
The book is available in both paper and digital format and costs just ~$12 on Amazon.
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz
With this useful guide, you’ll learn how to save your precious time and money by implementing a refined and proven method for testing new design ideas for your business – regardless of how big it is. It’s written by three well-known design experts from GV (former Google Ventures), the company which is primarily concerned with venture capital investments. In recent years, GV has invested into many promising startups which now became successfully growing companies: Slack, Carbon, Nest, Uber, Collective Health and many others. What’s more important, the company did a great job in helping those businesses implement the best-working strategies fast and without risk, which gave them a big push in shortest terms possible.
The authors came up with an easy and efficient way of evaluating your ideas that’s called the sprint. It is essentially a five-day process that includes 5 successive steps:
- mapping the idea: shaping its content, defining aims, team discussion, etc.
- sketching the idea: creating an outline, planning the realization process, putting estimated numbers and general outcomes;
- building a prototype;
- conducting user testing (it’s generally enough to have 5 users for it) and evaluating the results.
Overall, the book is said to be one of the greatest sources of UX wisdom, providing a large amount of enthusiastic examples, practical recommendations and best-working solutions that will suit the needs of both large and small businesses.
Sprint is available for you in different formats, including hardcover ($15.73), paperback (from $11.14) and Kindle e-book ($14.94).
Articulating Design Decisions by Tom Greever
This one should become a hands-on book for every UX designer that wants their ideas to be approved of by their management. As the author suggests, this is a common issue with many UX specialists – not to be able to sell the idea to those in charge of running the project, be they marketers, investors, executives, or even team members. This is why it is so important to manage not only to design good stuff but also to prove to others that it’s really worth the effort and/or money at stake.
The book contains many handy principles, tactics and tips that will allow you to articulate your ideas in the most efficient way, thus being able to persuade everyone in that your designs are the best for innovating the company’s product, improving user experience on the website, and finally driving more sales to the business.
Apart from that, the readers have found the book to be easily digestible, clear and pretty much entertaining. It is essentially suggested to front-end developers who need to deal with managers, executives and other non-technical team members and present new designs in the most accessible way.
You can purchase this book on Amazon as a paperback copy for $22.20 and as a digital e-book – for $17.00.
UX for Lean Startups by Laura Klein
As its title suggests, the book is aimed specifically at startups that are at a very early stage of product development. What’s even more important, dealing with user experience under such conditions can become quite a tough task: building, testing and implementing new designs requires time and money, which is hard for a beginning entrepreneur. However, if you apply Lean UX techniques to this problem, you are likely to successfully develop your product but also to do it much faster than ever before. By following Lean UX principles, you will make it to the market ten times earlier than all your potential competitors put together.
One of the main advantages of this book is that you don’t need to experienced in UX – the book will give you all the necessary tools and recommendations on how to start and bring positive results to your project, no matter how complex it is. Specifically, you will learn how to research ideas for your product, identify one that is likely to work best for your particular case, and finally design the product itself ‒ easy-to-use, intuitive and innovative at the same time.
Overall, the book covers the following topics:
- Conducting proper research on whether your product would be popular among customers;
- Receiving and applying customer feedback to your product at every stage of its lifecycle;
- Testing your product and understanding the reasons behind those tests;
- Acquiring 9 major tools that will help you to design a high-end user-centered product;
- Being able to distinguish between really important features and just nice ones;
- Understanding the role of MVPs in your final UX decisions;
- Using proven UX practices and a/b testing for getting the best of your design tests;
- Accelerating product development process without risking the quality.
The book’s price is now $20.87 for a hardcover copy and $14.99 for a Kindle e-book version.
The User Experience Team of One by Leah Buley
While some of the previously mentioned books rely a lot on modern types of businesses and organizations, i.e. those concerned with more innovative product design philosophy, this one puts an emphasis on more traditional companies and their UX specialists that suffer through the daily challenge of making their executives take your design ideas seriously. Thus, this book is a helpful practical guide for beginning UX experts and business owners who want to finally take control over modifying user experience in their company and provide the maximum value to their product or service.
The book is structurally divided into two parts: one is dedicated to the core UX philosophy and the other – to specific tactics you can take in order to win at every step of your project development. These tactics are presented by 27 distinct recipes that, although not being described in detail, provide you with enough insights on how to apply them under the real world conditions. However, one of the key elements of each recipe remains the same throughout the book, and this is collaboration. So no matter how good and elaborated your idea can be, it has little chance to be put into action without mutual cooperation with your fellow team members.
You are free to purchase this book on Amazon in paperback ($33.63) or as a Kindle e-book ($12.49).
User Story Mapping by Jeff Patton with Peter Economy
This is a rather different UX guide that covers one particular user experience method – mainly user story mapping – which is most frequently adapted for software development processes. With the help of this meaningful tool, you will manage to keep yourself and your team focused on users and their needs rather than on less important features, however innovative or promising they may be. In addition, providing your team with these story maps is more likely to give all the project members the true understanding of your main tasks and aims as well as reasons behind each and every design choice.
From this book, you will learn the following:
- What is story mapping, how it works and how to realize its full potential in your particular case;
- The hidden meaning behind user stories and how they’re applicable to Lean and Agile UX practices;
- Discovering the major stages of a story, starting from the investigation of its opportunities and ending with exploring possible ways of its realization in your project;
- Putting your ideas together, monitoring their implementation, analyzing their effects on your project.
The reviews reveal that the book is essentially useful to those UX practitioners involved in Agile UX design, as user mapping does a really good job in accelerating the development process and ensuring complete flexibility at its every stage.
The book is currently available on Amazon in paperback ($31.91) and as a Kindle e-book ($16.99).
Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights by Steve Portigal
When talking about this book, one can be 100% sure that interviewing is a rather comprehensive activity which goes beyond actual question-answer structure, especially in case of UX. The author of this book proves it by presenting users as complex entities, and to be able to understand their needs and desires, you should ask specific questions and in the most appropriate way. Apart from representing one of the basic types of usability test, interviewing is also the best way to gather insights about your customers that will later help you innovate your product and bring more sales to your business.
While the art of interviewing may seem hard for an average developer, it is pretty easy to conceive if you learn a few handy tips and real-world examples that were once used by the author himself. In general, the main idea of this book is that asking good questions and getting valuable answers can take fewer words than you might first think.
Regardless of whether you decide to have this book as a handy reference to your daily routine or as an introduction to UX design in general, this purchase will be definitely worth the money. A paperback copy of the book is available on Amazon for $33.97, and its digital e-book alternative – for just $13.99.
The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garrett
The first edition of this book was published back in 2002, but it still has a more bulky volume of useful materials on UX design and interaction than some modern books on the same topic. Now, having been updated to the second edition (2011), this book represents even a more valuable source of information for UX practitioners of all kinds.
With this book, you are going to reconsider the whole notion of web and interaction design by going a bit deeper than usual desktop issues, namely – to mobile. Considering a huge popularity of mobile devices around the world, it gets hard to imagine comprehensive UX design that ignores usability in relation to smartphones and tablets. So the author is going to pay a lot of attention to the ways of creating the best user experience on both desktop and mobile.
And, unlike other UX design authors, Jesse Garrett will focus on a rather broad picture without getting into too much detail as to describing certain UX design methods and techniques. As a matter of fact, he’s going to present the reader with all the general processes and requirements that accompany every user experience strategy, allowing you to analyze the basics and try to apply it to your project by building your own specific development strategies and techniques.
The book is now available on Amazon and costs $32.82 for a paperback copy and $23.39 for a Kindle e-book version.
Think First: My No-Nonsense Approach to Creating Successful Products, Memorable User Experiences + Very Happy Customers by Joe Natoli
This one is a real windfall for all UX designers, developers and business owners out there who can get an instant help from the user experience guru with more than 25 years of experience in the field. The author used to design projects for various companies dealing with all kinds of products, starting from online shops and ending with IT service providers. And the main idea behind this book is pretty straight-forward: people are complex beings, but they are pretty easy to approach if you know the means to do that.
Apart from exposing basic psychological principles behind the right UX design, the author also puts a great emphasis on the diversity of the very design development process. Specifically, he points at the necessity of a mutual cooperation between the team members in order to ensure that every aspect of your project is equally understood by every person involved. In addition to having to work with multiple people, you will also need to face various types of activities on your way to building your product, so understanding the essence of each activity will only add up to your confidence and a subsequent success.
The book has a deep coverage of the following topics:
- How to perform effective user research even if you’ve never done it before;
- How to retrieve relevant data from your investors and customers at the right time;
- How to distinguish between what people say they need and what they really need;
- How to set proper tasks for your UX strategy in order to make it work right for you;
- How to define the best features for your UX to make it for both you and your customers;
- How to set definite limits for your projects so that it didn’t ruin your expectations.
If you feel inspired by this synopsis and want to start your own product design campaign, feel free to purchase this book from the Amazon store. A paperback copy costs $24.99, while its Kindle version – $14.99.
Validating Product Ideas by Tomer Sharon
This insightful book will take you to the journey of exploring your customers from every angle of their consumer behavior. You will learn how to analyze user actions in relation to your products and services in order to come up with the best-working choices for their improvement and innovation. The final validation process takes some time, as you will need to conduct a comprehensive research of your audience, including its demographic features, action history, feedback, and more.
Essentially, this book will help you find the best path to your product development – by means of your customers. Based on their needs and preferences, you can come to right design decisions and make sure they’re satisfied with the outcome. As of the actual content, the guide follows you, step-by-step, through a series of analytical tasks that are designed to get necessary data about your users, namely:
- Choosing the most appropriate method for user research;
- Specifying questions that need to be asked;
- Defining the number of people for the interview which is relevant for getting objective results;
- Interpreting the results in accordance with the given data excluding subjective factors;
- …and more.
This guide is now available on Amazon for $39 for a paperback copy. Alternatively, you can purchase a digital copy of the book for just $17.59.
Designing Multi-Device Experiences by Michael Levin
As clearly as the author states, modern times force us to go far beyond traditional UX through adoption of new technologies and solutions. Regardless of your product, more attention must be paid to the ways in which your customers can reach it. Not only desktop and mobile, but also TV becomes vital for offering a high level of usability and experience for the users. And this, in its turn, requires more effort and innovation from those involved into the development process. This book guarantees that you will deliver the best user experience for you customers through every existing device by implementing the following tactics:
- Building a unified multi-device framework by using three proven approaches: Consistent, Complementary, and Continuous;
- Shifting from offering too much on every device towards offering proper things at the most appropriate time on the most suitable device;
- Adoption of IoT (Internet of Things) principles for delivering your product or service to provide a fully connected system that is available at hand – everywhere, always.
- Learning useful techniques to analyse your multi-device UX performance against user behavior and other proven testing tools;
- Aiming at the future and not being afraid of inevitable changes.
If you want get a full access to the wisdoms of this book, you can purchase it on Amazon for $33.29 in paperback or as a Kindle e-book for just $19.79.'