I don’t know why I keep overlooking literature in its classic form as one of the important resources for information in software design and the UX field, but somehow I have. As a result, I feel responsible for not providing everyone with comprehensive lists of UX books that give people a definitive source for offline, inclusive reading that they’re sorely missing out on.
What are the best UX books out there? Well, there are so many to choose from that I have to first point out that books not on this lest are not necessarily not as good as ones that are. There is so much good writing out there that it’s impossible to be properly inclusive. So, I’ll just talk about ones either I have read, or that others whose opinions I happen to value have recommended.
#1 – Don’t Make Me Think (Steve Krug)
On top of having a rather interesting last name, Steve is known for cutting through all the fluff and nonsense in a field, and giving you the bottom line. This is an introductory, or extended piece, which covers the mentality and philosophies that are crucial to being an effective UX designer in the 21st century. He’s a very competent writer, and his style flows well, which is important when presenting material like this. I recommend Steve’s work whole heartedly, both to the novice UX dabbler, or the professional UX consultant.
#2 – Rocket Surgery Made Easy (Steve Krug)
Continuing with Steve’s work, here’s a book with the same verve and no nonsense flow, but focused entirely around usability testing. Steve will explain how to select demographics, establish general metrics, and how to apply testing for productivity and true usability readings. This is an important phase in UX testing, so this is something you need to read up on. I’ve already talked about how good Steve’s writing is, so why not read about it from him?
#3 – Forms that Work (Caroline Jarrett and Gerry Gaffney)
This is the book on form design. People often misinterpret forms to only mean web forms or other fields of data entry/retrieval, but in fact, it applies to any instance of interface in web, mobile or software application design. This is an important basically art form, and Caroline and Gerry know their stuff. Their writing style works well, which is not always the case with multiple author books, so that’s an accomplishment worthy of note, for them. As important a forms design is, I really think this books is a must read for any designer, programmer or software producer.
These are only three of the beat UX books out there, but they’re definitely ones I recommend. We cover the basic concept of UX, and then we cover testing and design, from three competent professionals and excellent writers. I could write lists of 20 or more books I’d honestly recommend, but if you only have time for so much reading, these are the ones to go for, most definitely.