Essential Reading for the User Experience Designer

For some time I had been slowly acquiring books, reviewing books, and recommending books to collegues who were interested in “getting into” interaction design, user experience design, information architecture or usability. This eventually led to me cataloging my list of what I consider the best books in the field. With help from my friend Dave Malouf (co-founder of the IxDA and Professor of Interaction Design at SCAD), we edited this list of my canon, and now I want to share this list with you. If you have a question about a particular book, feel free to email me.

Next steps, besides slowly acquiring and reviewing more books, is to begin further classification of books. Until that can happen, this is my UX library. If I don’t own it or haven’t read it, it’s definitely not on this list. At the same time, there are books that I own that aren’t included because I thought they sucked for one reason or another. The fourth option is that I have it, have read it, liked it, but simply forgot to include it. So if you ask “Why haven’t you included X, Y, or Z – it’s one of those reasons.”

The Big UX Picture

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity by Alan Cooper

Emotional Design: Why We Love (Or Hate) Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies by Ben Shneiderman

Core: Required Readings in UX

About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper , Robert Reimann , David Cronin

Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites by Louis Rosenfeld , Peter Morville

Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge

Designing the User Interface by Ben Shneiderman

Introductions to UX

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

A Project Guide to UX: For user experience designers in the field or in the making by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler

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

Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices by Dan Saffer

Thoughts on Interaction Design (Perfect Paperback) by Jon Kolko

Thoughtful Interaction Design: A Design Perspective on Information Technology by Jonas Löwgren , Erik Stolterman

Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design by Robert Hoekman Jr.

Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web by Christina Wodtke

The Electronic Design Studio: Architectural Education in the Computer Era by Malcolm McCulloughWilliam J. Mitchell (Editor), Patrick Purcell (Editor) (Editor),

Digital Ground: Architecture, Pervasive Computing, and Environmental Knowing by Malcolm McCullough

Practice, Methods and Tactics in UX

Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning by Dan Brown

The User Is Always Right: A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas for the Web by Steve Mulder , Ziv Yaar

Design Research: Methods and Perspectives by Brenda Laurel and Peter Lunenfeld

Rapid Contextual Design: A How-to Guide to Key Techniques for User-Centered Design by Karen Holtzblatt , Jessamyn Burns Wendell , Shelley Wood

Contextual Design : A Customer-Centered Approach to Systems Designs by Hugh Beyer, Karen Holtzblatt

Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research (Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive Technologies) by Mike Kuniavsky

User and Task Analysis for Interface Design by JoAnn T. Hackos, Ph.D , Janice C. Redish

The Persona Lifecycle : Keeping People in Mind Throughout Product Design (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Interactive Technologies) by John Pruitt , Tamara Adlin

Context and Consciousness: Activity Theory and Human-Computer Interaction by Bonnie A. Nardi

Design Research: Methods and Perspectives by Brenda Laurel (Editor), Peter Lunenfeld (Preface)

Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior by Indy Young

Card Sorting: Design Usable Categories by Donna Spencer

Prototyping: A Practitioners Guide to Prototyping by Todd Zaki Warfel

Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces (Interactive Technologies)  by Carolyn Snyder

Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become by Peter Morville

Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design by Jenifer Tidwell

Designing Social Interfaces: Principles, Patterns and Practices for Improving the User Experience by Christian Crumlish and Erin Malone

Search Patterns: Design for Discovery by Peter Morville

Modular Web Design: Creating Reusable Components for User Experience Design and Documentation by Nathan Curtis

Web Form Design by Luke Wroblewski

Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook by Dan Cederholm

Designing with Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman

User-Centered Website Development: A Human-Computer Interaction Approach by Daniel D. McCracken , Rosalee J. Wolfe , Jared M. Spool


Don’t Make Me Think: A common sense approach to web usability by Steve Krug

Human Factors in Information Systems: The Relationship Between User Interface Designand Human Performance (Human Computer Interaction)  by Jane M. Carey (Editor)

Web Usability: A User-Centered Design Approach by Jonathan Lazar

Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines by Sanjay J. Koyani , Robert W. Bailey , Janice R. Nall

Usability for the Web: Designing Web Sites that Work (Interactive Technologies) by Tom Brinck , Darren Gergle , Scott D. Wood

Handbook of Usability Testing: How to Plan, Design, and Conduct Effective Tests by Jeffrey Rubin

A Practical Guide to Usability Testing by Joseph S. Dumas , Janice C. Redish

Prioritizing Web Usability (VOICES)  by Jakob Nielsen , Hoa Loranger

Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity by Jakob Nielsen

Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability (Paperback – Jun 28, 2002) by Luke Wroblewski

Web Site Usability (Interactive Technologies)
by Jared Spool , Tara Scanlon , Carolyn Snyder , Terri DeAngelo

Visual Thinking & Info Viz

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, 2nd edition by Edward R. Tufte

Beautiful Evidence by Edward R. Tufte

Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte

Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative by Edward R. Tufte

Information Design by RobertJacobson (Editor)

Information Graphics: Innovative Solutions in Contemporary Design by Peter Wildbur , Michael Burke

Visual Function: An Introduction to Information Design by Paul Mijksenaar

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