Top 5 UX Books that Are Absolutely Worth Your Time Reading

To be honest, reading books is a constant struggle for me. I can’t count how many I have left half-read in the past years. It is even harder when I try reading non-fiction literature. However, I’m aware of the fact that this is one of the best ways to get in-depth knowledge about my profession, so from time to time I force myself to read a book. In this post, I collected those UX books that somehow managed to grab my attention, and which I can truly advise reading.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

“When we’re unsure about what to do or buy, we look to testimonials, ratings, and reviews to tell us how to behave.”

UX books 100 things every designer needs to know about peopleDon’t be fooled by the rom-com title: this book combines real science and research to deliver a guide every designer needs. This means that it is not exclusively about product design: some of the examples can be useful for print designers or illustrators as well. You will be surprised how much useful information is presented in it. This makes it an excellent tool to reinforce design principles and it gives rationale behind your design decisions.

Why read it?

This book is very appealing visually: it’s nicely illustrated and the layout is structured in a way that it is very easy to read. For instance, at the end of each topic, there is a section which gives you practical advice on how you can apply the given principle in your design. The topics are not related to each other so you can read it anytime, even if you only have five minutes.

Just don’t forget to use your newly gained knowledge responsively, some of the examples cover the Dark side of UX.

Further reading:


The Design of Everyday Things

“Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible”

UX books The design of everyday thingsThe original title of this book was actually “The Psychology of Everyday Things” and it is not by chance, Norman’s work covers the basic concepts of cognitive psychology and ties them into usability and design. The author explores phones, water faucets, doors, car keys looking for principles that show how these work well or poorly. Even though some of the examples seem outdated, all the design problems covered in the book still apply today.

Why read it?

This book is so interesting that you will feel like reading fiction, Norman has a humorous yet credible writing style that makes this volume an effortless reading. After finishing this book you’ll never look at another door or faucet the same way, and you will also learn to use professional sounding words like “affordance”.

Further UX books on the topic

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things

by Don Norman


Don’t make me think

“Your primary role should be to share what you know, not to tell people how things should be done.”

This book is a true classic, if you haven’t read anything about usability, this is a great one to start with. It was originally published in the early 2000s and that time it was mainly about websites, but the latest release has been reinforced with app usability as well. What I like about Krug, is that he teaches you the importance of usability testing while he also demystifies it: you will learn how to conduct basic user tests without getting top-heavy on the matter.

Why read it?

The goal, according to the book’s introduction, was to make a text that could be read by an executive on a two-hour airplane flight, and the author keeps his promise. This reading is short enough to keep your attention, but at the same time it is full of helpful information. Krug has a very casual writing style, the chapters are full of humorous, understandable explanations and visual side-by-side comparisons.

Further UX books on the topic

Rocket Surgery Made Easy

by Steve Krug


Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

“Being in a curiosity mindset means being fascinated by your customers and their reactions.”

Ux books SprintFormer Google designer Jake Knapp created the five-day Sprint in order to help companies to solve problems and answer crucial questions. No wonder this book was quite a hit among product and UX designers when it was published last year. We are all curious what is the design process behind products like Google Search or Chrome. 

Why read it?

This book is one of the most comprehensive guides you can read about a lean design process, but the real value is not just the framework itself. Behind every step and decision, there is always an engaging real-life story, which makes the whole book truly enjoyable. Furthermore, there is a vast amount of techniques included in the book, that can be applied across a wide variety of scenarios. From the whole process of creating a customer-centric map to basic exercises like the Crazy 8’s. 

Further UX books on the topic

Lean UX

by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden


Product Design – A Comprehensive Guide on Designing Digital Products People will Love

“When we have to make a choice, we always opt for a solution that is better for our users, even if this is not the currently trending thing which wins prizes.”

Product Design bookLast, but not least I would like to mention our book, too. Our founder, David collected what he learned in the past 10 years about product design and research. Regardless of whether you are a programmer, marketer, business developer or designer, this book is perfect for any player in the digital product development circle.

Why read it?

The Product Design book  covers many topics from the books above, and it puts the pieces together into a comprehensive guide. It is full of real-life examples and illustrations, easy to read but loaded with a vast amount of useful information.

Click here and look inside the Product Design book. It has beautiful illustrations too.

  • Niki Jones

    Thanks very much for sharing your book recommendations.

    • David

      Thanks for your comment! 🙂 Have you read any of them?