A Must Have Book Collection on UX

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I present to you the cornerstone of my book collection on UX: 17 highly recommended books on User Experience by UX professionals. If you are looking for books about user research, interface design, information architecture or UX strategy, you will find a book to your liking.


For who is this book collection on UX?

I’ve been reading loads of books on UX but not every book made it to this list. I think this book collection on UX is suitable for both the aspiring UXers as the UX professionals. However, if you’re a seasoned UX professional, chances are you’ve read most of these books but I hope I’ve included some of which you haven’t heard of.


Undercover User Experience Design

Undercover User Experience Design – by Cennydd Bowles and James Box

A must-read which is an accessible, up-to-date and concise guide of UXD techniques and principles from a professional’s perspective, full with practical advice. UX professionals however will already know most of its contents. You can also read the full review.

The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience - By Pardha S. Pyla
Most popular bookpopular

The UX Book: Process and Guidelines for Ensuring a Quality User Experience – By Pardha S. Pyla

Few books in the field of human-computer interaction offer such a comprehensive, logical overview of contemporary methods and processes like this one. Pardha S. Pyla did an excellent job of distilling HCI techniques into a form that is digestible for newcomers to the field; showing where, when, why, and how requirements gathering, design, prototyping and evaluation should be done.
In my opinion it’s a bit pricy but you get a lot in return!

Don't make me think

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) – By Steve Krug

Usability guru Krug, with years of on-the-job experience, explains the usability principles and the do’s and don’ts that will determine your Web sites’ succes.

A Project Guide to UX Design
Most popular bookpopular

A Project Guide to UX Design: For User Experience Designers in the Field or in the Making – by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler

If you’re looking for a fantastic practical guide to help you design user experiences for your next project, it would be “A Project Guide to UX Design”.

Designing Web Usability

Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity – by Jakob Nielsen and Hoa Loranger

Designing Web Usability, written by the world’s leading expert on Web usability, is considered being the Bible of every UX-designer. Although published back in 1999, it still covers most of the ux issues of the present day.

Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-it-yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems

Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-it-yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems – by Steve Krug

Yet another best-seller by Steve Krug! A handbook for putting usability principles into practice, focusing in particular on user testing.

Measuring the User Experience

Measuring the User Experience: Collecting, Analyzing, and Presenting Usability Metrics – by Thomas Tullis and William Albert

Effectively measuring the usability of any product requires the right metric, applying it, and effectively using the information it reveals. Thomas and William explore each metric and shows you how to collect, analyse and present the data.

Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design

Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design – by Giles Colborne

I just ordered this book because I heard so much positive feedback about it. I will let you all know my two cents once I finished it.

When Search Meets Web Usability

When Search Meets Web Usability – by Shari Thurow and Nick Musica

In short: Creating a satisfying user experience is the key to maximizing search effectiveness and getting conversions. Nice read!

The Elements of User Experience

The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond – by Jesse James Garrett

Garrett’s book is a perfect introduction for someone who is just getting into the field of user experience design and want to understand its core ideas.

Designing the Obvious

Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web & Mobile Application Design – by Robert Hoekman

User Experience Designer Robert Hoekman has written many wonderful books but Designing the Obvious is definitely the one you should read. Don’t buy it if you’re only interested in mobile applications because that chapter is pretty thin.

Designed For Use
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Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web – by Lukas Mathis

A great and practical book written by Lukas Mathis where he’s not only explaining the why but also the how. Nice read!

Seductive Interaction Design

Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences – by Stephen P. Anderson

Seductive Interaction Design will give you a great insight into the psychological aspect of design and user experience. It focuses on finding out what would engage your customers and every point is backed up by psychological principles and well chosen examples. An absolute must read

Designing Web Interfaces

Designing Web Interfaces: Principles and Patterns for Rich Interactions – by Bill Scott and Theresa Neil

A great book that explores all kind of interface patterns into detail. Really usable material for interaction designers. I even wrote a little review of Designing Web Interfaces a while ago because I think it’s really worth reading!

The Design of Everyday Things

The Design of Everyday Things – by Donald A Norman

Although published in 2002, The Design of Everyday Things is still an excellent guidebook (and a classic) for the understanding of basic user-centric design in products, fixtures, software, and the everyday things that make up our world. I’ve written a more extensive review of this book.

Sketching User Experiences

Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design – by Bill Buxton

This one is still on my to-do list because it was recommended by one of my collueges. If someone already read it, let us know how it was!

If you have read books other than the ones in this book collection on UX, let us know!

Editorial note: If you are more into ebooks, you must have a look at my collection of 15 free ebooks about User Experience and Interface Design.

I'm the creator and editor of paulolyslager.com, a blog about on Web Design, User Experience and Usability. Currently I'm working as UX Manager for a leading supplier of nutrients and supplements to the European market based in Berlin, Germany. Follow me @paulolyslager or google+.
My Book Collection on UX
My Book Collection on UX

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36 responses to “A Must Have Book Collection on UX”

  1. Joe Sokohl says

    i’m surprised that two key UX strategy books aren’t here:

    The Inmates are Running the Asylum and Subject to Change.

  2. @Joe Sokohl: Thanks for the recommendation Joe. I haven’t got the chance to read them yet, which is why they’re not included in the list. I will have those books standing in the bookcase pretty soon and will update the article once I have read them. Cheers.

  3. igorskys says

    some of those books are classics of ux. like don’t make me think. Common word, known sugestions. nothing new for expert. so, to whom you recomed these books? experts? noobs?

    Measuring ux is good book. a lot of practice and 20% theory.. if you like to copy without understanding what you are doing, then this book is for you

  4. @igorskys: I recommend these books to everyone who is interested in UX. As I have said in the intro, I believe both the aspiring UXers and the UX professionals could benefit from this list. I do realise that most books are “classics” in the field of UX – and therefore could be considered less interesting for UX pro’s – but I believe that even they can find new insights, thoughts and inspiration.

    I consider this collection an eye opener for noobs and a great reference for UX professionals.

    I think you are spot on with your review of “Measuring the User Experience”. Although the authors show you step by step how to set up an Excel sheet I found little explanation about the statistical methods being used.

  5. Krishna says

    Hello Paul,

    What if i ask you to suggest me only 2 books to pick and read among the ones which you mentioned above ?. Can i go according to the order you specified and start off with the first two books. You advise is much appreciated.

    I’ve gone through Smashing Magazine UX Design by Jesmond Allen, James Chudley until now.

  6. @Krishna: It all depends what you are looking for of course but I tried to divide this book collection into groups of interest.

    If you are looking for an introduction into User Experience, I would suggest to start with “Don’t make me think”, “Designing the Obvious” or “The Elements of User Experience”.

    If you are interested in a more practical approach of Usability testing and User Experience Design, you should go for “Handbook of Usability Testing”, “Measuring the User Experience” or “Sketching User Experiences”.

    For a more psychological approach you can’t beat “Seductive Interaction Design”.

    I hope this will help your decision making.

  7. Teri O’Connell says

    Hi, Paul,

    Lots of good material on your list. A more recent, easy to read, work that I’ve also found indispensable is Hartson, R. & Pyla, P. (2012). The UX book: Process and guidelines for ensuring a quality user experience. Waltham, MA: Morgan Kaufmann. It appears to sum up just about everything in the books on this list, plus adds value of its own. Hope you get a chance to read it too.


  8. Hi Teri, thank you for the tip. I’m working on a second article with more UX books and I believe your suggestion would be a nice addition to the list! Cheers!

  9. Vicky says

    *cough* er, ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ was published in *1988*, albeit under the different title of ‘The Psychology of Everyday Things’ (to Norman’s chagrin, it got put in bookshops under psychology, hence the name change!)

    Other good ones are ‘A Project Guide to UX Design’ (thorough and practical, I lend it to people a lot) by Russ Unger Carolyn Chandler and Kim Goodwin’s good reference book ‘Designing for the Digital Age’.

  10. Hi Vicky, in the extensive review of ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ I got things right, but thanks for letting me know.

    I haven’t heard of ‘Designing for the Digital Age’ yet, but it is on my to-do list now. Care to write a review about it? :)

  11. Speaking frankly, I haven’t read any from the list. However someday, I would like to snap up all – try to digest them and enrich my own knowledge base.

    Not only the books, the way you have categorized the books while answering “Krishna” – just more helpful for newcomers like me who really don’t know – where to start makes sense?

    I just finished with my reading – landing page optimization by Tim Ash! A classic at least to me. Wondering why no mentioning about it anybody here!

    I wish if I could have the soft copies of all these stated books here! Does anybody have any idea where from I will get (if at all possible?) the PDF versions?

    Good comments! \m/

  12. dreflydre says

    Can’t get the free books to download.

  13. Hi dreflydre, have a look at http://www.paulolyslager.com/free-ebooks-about-user-experience-interface-design/. Enjoy the reading!

  14. eeklipzz says

    Earlier this year, I did a little looking around to see what some of the ux professionals suggested as good books to start reading if I wanted to get up to speed with UX. I noticed that each of these sorts of articles suggested different variations, but some seemed to be more popular than the others. I wanted to know what books were “Most Suggested” in order to get me into the “popular reading zone” of user experience / interface design.

    Here’s my findings. I think I see one or two of the one’s you suggest here on the list.

    Getting Started in User Experience: Reading List 2013

  15. A great resource eeklipzz, thank you for sharing this.

  16. Bruno says

    I Like This

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