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Top 10 Favorite UX And Usability Books



It’s been over a year since I wrote my last Top 10 book list for Usability and UX, so I decided it’s time to update the list.

Since I’m limiting the list here to 10, chances are high you have a favorite that I’ve not included. Let me know what your favorites are in the comments.

I have an Amazon affiliate account, so I’ve linked to the books on Amazon if you are interested in purchasing, or even just getting more info.

The list below is in no particular order:

1. Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. This is a newer edition of the book. Steve is such a great writer (and an all round great guy!). He has a way of cutting through all the chatter and clutter and bringing out the essence of a topic. If you are going to get one book for your team to introduce them to human-centered design thinking, then this should be the book.

2. Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug is the other necessary book if you are doing usability testing. And you ARE doing usability testing, right? This book will teach you everything you need to know about how to plan and conduct a user test of your product.

3. Forms That Work by Caroline Jarrett and Gerry Gaffney. If you are designing anything that has a form: a web page, web app, software application, mobile app, or even a paper form, you must read this book. It’s practical and also conceptual — my favorite book on form design.

4. The User Experience Team of One by Leah Buley. I don’t agree with this title. Because this is a great book even if you are a UX team of 10! This is the best book I’ve found that walks you through processes, deliverables, and what you need to do in a very clear and readable way. Not ponderous. A really hands-on book.

5. Communicating the User Experience: A Practical Guide for Creating Useful UX Documentation by Richard Caddick and Steve Cable. In an era where many are calling for “lean UX”, and the end of the formal deliverable, I am going to be so bold as to say that there are many times and situations when you should create deliverables for communicating your user experience work, and luckily this book will show you how to do that. It’s practical and innovative at the same time. A must-read for practitioners who have to create deliverables for their projects.

6. Smashing UX Design: Foundations for designing online user experiences by Jesmond Allen and James Chudley. This book has everything. It will walk you through the idea of user centered design, teach you the details of how to do everything (stakeholder research, user research, wireframing, prototyping, user test, etc etc,) and then will show you how they did it with case studies. A great book for the UX practitioner, whether new or experienced.

7. Client Centric Web Design by Paul Boag. Have you ever had your design or UX project blow up? Misunderstandings with clients? Then you need to read this book. Paul takes the point of view of the client, not just the user. This book has critical advice for anyone who works on web design/UX design projects for clients. Unless you are only designing your own personal website, you need to read this book. It’s not available on Amazon, just through his site.

8. Measuring the User Experience by Tom Tullis and Bill Albert. Need metrics? Need numbers to back up your impressions? This is the go to book for everything measurable about the user experience. Really thorough and detailed.

9. Quantifying the User Experience: Practical statistics for user research by Jeff Sauro and James Lewis. The word “statistics” scares a lot of people. I love statistics, but I understand that many others don’t. Whether you love ’em or not, you should read this book. If you are friends with stats then you’ll enjoy the book. And if you’re not you really NEED to read it! Don’t be afraid. Jeff Sauro is a master at getting people to understand the why and how of stats for user experience.

10. UX For Lean Startups by Laura Klein. I have a lot to say about Lean UX. I’m a fan, but I also think there are misconceptions about what it means, where it comes from, how it’s different from “not lean” UX. I’ll leave you find out all my opinions in my Lean UX Workshop course! Let’s just say you should know about Lean UX. And this is the best book to learn it from.

Which makes 11!

(You might also be interested in my top 10 Psychology books to read.)

What are your favorites?


5 responses to “Top 10 Favorite UX And Usability Books”

  1. Melody Avatar

    How do you feel about Theresa Neil and Luke Kowalski’s books? Pro’s, Con’s?

  2. Dave Avatar

    What criteria do you use to determine top?

    1. Susan Weinschenk Avatar
      Susan Weinschenk

      Great question, Dave. It’s just the books that I think are the most interesting and/or useful. Very subjective!

  3. Meg Porter Avatar
    Meg Porter

    What about “Designing for the digital Age”? It’s great, especially as reference for big hefty projects.

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