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8 Books Every UX Designer Should Read

UX Design is about solving problems and improving lives by making things easier for users through intuitive and appropriate design.

In this post, we want to provide you with gems that will become important allies in the moments when you lack inspiration. These top UX books will make you think and will teach you the essentials in a practical and simple way. Are you ready? Here we go!

1. Don't Make Me Think

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug is an incredible guide to understanding how users think. Translated into more than 20 languages, the key to its success lies in the multitude of tips it brings together not only on functionality but also on design and interactivity.

Grounded in the idea that we all try to complete tasks with as little effort as possible, Krug aptly demonstrates how website and application functionality is a key aspect of design. He also includes many practical examples of how to apply these design principles on your own.

Why should you read it? With simple, enjoyable, and addictive language, this book is ideal for beginners and seasoned professionals alike - don't miss out!

2. Understanding Industrial Design: Principles for UX and Interaction Design

Good design has the power to redefine the way we interact with the world, and few understand this better than Kuen Chang and Simon King, two directors of the international design and innovation firm IDEO. In this book, Chang and King use examples based on their experiences to show us how that is possible. Design has become a competitive differentiator and this book can teach you how to wield that power. 

Industrial Design can serve as a profound source of inspiration for UX designers, even those working on digital products. This publication provides an opportunity to see projects from new perspectives, something essential for carrying out creative work. By understanding that design not only creates beauty but also generates significant results that have relevance in the market, designers can learn how to create innovative and unforgettable products. 

Why should you read it? This is an essential book for all designers, especially those who, in addition to working with digital products, feel a certain fondness for physical products and industrial design.

3. The Laws of Simplicity

In this book, John Maeda will teach you how to get more with less. He reveals ten laws of simplicity with which to achieve a balance between the simple and the complex. His key message is that we should not distract users with unnecessary functionality.

Simplicity is directly responsible for how products like the iPod and Youtube revolutionized the market, conquering millions of people around the world requiring no more than a few clicks to complete an action.

Life, technology, business, and even design depend on our ability to find harmony between simplicity and complexity or, in other words, enjoyment and effort. Why not make simplicity a basic feature of every process we do?

Why should you read it? This is a simple and enjoyable book that perfectly complements the very interesting TED talk that Maeda gave on the subject a few years ago.

4. Usable Usability: Simple Steps for Making Stuff Better

Eric Reiss, CEO of the international design agency FatDUX, is one of the gurus of UX. In this title, he details the secrets for detecting and solving many common problems in web design. Packed with practical examples showing typical day-to-day functionality flaws, it is particularly easy to read. Reiss begins by delving into ease of use before focusing on the importance of elegance and clarity in design.

Why should you read it? This book serves as a great guide for making users happy while ensuring they don’t feel lost, thereby achieving better results in your work. 

5. Lean UX: Designing great products with agile teams

Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden use the Lean methodology to teach principles and techniques for validating design ideas through experimentation with real users and adjusting designs based on those learnings.

The Lean method is known worldwide as an alternative to the traditionally adapted linear development process for business projects. When applying this method, we must seek constant experimentation that leads to continuous innovation.

Why should you read it? The book explains three fundamental concepts for Lean: Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Agile Development. The reading includes practical advice and case studies in addition to theory. It should be on your shelf!

6. Sprint

Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz, three partners in Google Ventures, have provided us with a brilliant framework for completing swift and effective design sprints. Frankly, if you’ve read this book, it’s difficult to get the process wrong. 

Here, you will find references to Agile/Lean-Startup tools, the importance of teamwork (knowing how to choose a good one) and individual work, and the value of time. You’ll discover, through a multitude of provided examples, how to effectively do all of this in only five days of work.

What is Sprint and why should you read it? Sprint is “a unique and foolproof five-day approach to solving complicated business problems and getting a project off the ground quickly”. Sprint has been applied to startups such as Slack, Medium, Uber, and Hubspot, and is an extreme and effective method for saving time in a period when optimization is vital. 

7. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

The book has a unique 10-block structure that allows you to travel through all the topics in a very agile way. In essence, you can navigate directly to the area that interests you most depending on the moment. Each of these blocks (How people see, How people read, How people remember, etc.) has conclusions that help you understand each of the readings, thus ensuring you finish each chapter with the sensation of having fully digested the information. 

Why should you read it? It is full of examples, references, sources, and many other studies making it a multi-faceted reading experience. And most importantly, as a designer, it helps you understand the psychology of your audience and their deepest motivations.

8. Grid Systems in Graphic Design

This book by Josef Müller-Brockmann is a visual communication manual for graphic designers, typographers, and 3D designers. This book is a classic in the life of designers and it will help you appreciate the beauty of a grid.

Why should you read it? It gives instructions for using all the grid systems correctly, always accompanying them with examples that help you understand and imagine them. Designers and non-designers alike can benefit from this book as it outlines how to organize graphic elements and information in a logical, coherent way.

This list of best-selling books about UX Design provides you with a wealth of knowledge from the hands of great masters. And if you have any doubt, we are here to help you!

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