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The 14 Best Books to Learn UX Design in 2024

It's never been easier to learn UX design with thousands of online resources and UX books. Here's our list of the absolute best books for UX design in 2024.
Floating mockups of some UX design books
In this article

User experience design (UX design) may feel like a new and exciting field, but many of the UX design concepts and design principles we know today have been around since the late 1940s when Toyota developed its famous human-centered production system.

Traditionally, UX design has focused on the interaction between human users, machines, and contextual environments. Since the 1990s, UX design has evolved to help us understand user behavior for digital user interfaces such as computers and devices.

After decades of user research, we like to think we have a pretty good understanding of user behavior guided by key user experience design principles and best practices. As a designer, developing a deeper understanding of these UX design principles will help you design better products and websites that are not only easier to use but more effective at guiding users.

Good UX design is a competitive advantage

Good UX design is a competitive advantage

Have you ever used an app, website, or online form and been frustrated with the user experience? Maybe certain parts didn't behave as you expected and we unintuitive. That's bad UX design. Contrarily, when you use an app or website with good UX design, you likely don't even realize. Good UX design is intuitive and invisible because it's in tune with human behavior.

Many people won't consciously think about the overall user experience, but bad UX will hurt your brand and product. As more and more companies realize this, it's more important than ever to invest in UX design, user research, and usability testing.

Good user experience design is a competitive advantage:

  1. Positive user satisfaction: When users have a positive experience, they are more likely to return, churn less, spend more money, and refer others.
  2. Improved user loyalty: Good UX design fosters product loyalty. There are likely products you use every day because they have incredible user experience design, even if they are more expensive than competitors. For me, Superhuman, Linear, and Webflow come to mind.
  3. Higher conversion rates: Good UX design and UI design create a seamless user flow which will almost certainly boost conversion rates. There are countless examples like this one where small changes to user experience design can drastically increase conversion rates.
  4. Reduced support costs: Good UX design can reduce the need for customer support and troubleshooting. This is a good idea because when the user experience is intuitive, users are less likely to encounter issues and contact support.
  5. Better brand perception and trust: While this is harder to quantify, businesses can drastically improve their brand image and perception over the long term by focusing on good design and user experience design best practices. In my opinion, this is one of the highest-leverage things a business can do to build a competitive advantage.

Good UX design is a competitive advantage because it lifts every aspect of the business and user experience while saving costs in the long run. A lot of businesses and user experience teams don't realise that prioritizing user experience design is not just a matter of aesthetics; it's a strategic decision.

Human behavior changes slowly

The UX design industry changes fast but human behavior changes slowly

The field of user experience (UX) design has grown significantly in popularity over the last few years and continues to grow rapidly. More and more businesses are focusing on improving web usability and the user experience of their websites, mobile apps, and products.

10 years ago, UX designers were only just beginning to focus on user research, usability testing, design thinking for responsive/adaptive design and mobile-first approaches. Today, UX design is already looking forward to exciting technologies like augmented reality, 3D, and cross-platform design.

If that sounds overwhelming, don't worry! The UX design industry changes rapidly, but core user design principles and UX best practices remain relatively the same. A solid understanding of human behavior, psychology, and UX design process is always a good idea and will prove invaluable for your career.

Classic UX design books like Don Norman's The Design of Everyday Things, Jeff Johnson's Designing with the Mind in Mind, and Steve Krug's Don't Make Me Think are usually just as relevant today for user experience design as when they were published.

Best books for UX design

The best books on UX design

Whether you're completely new to the field of user experience design or a UI designer or product manager looking to improve your UX design skills, it's never been easier to learn UX design best practices with thousands of online resources and UX design books.

UX writing isn't always the most exciting subject and it's easy to get overwhelmed by the huge amount of books to read on user experience design. We've focused on the best UX design books that not only cover the theory behind UX design principles and the UX design process but also offer practical advice you can use in your designs today.

Here’s our list of the best books to learn UX design in 2024:

Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

1. Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

Written by UX consultant and web usability expert Steve Krug, the first edition of Don’t Make Me Think was published back in 2000.

The third edition of Don’t Make Me Think was released by Steve Krug in 2013 and included updated illustrations and a new chapter covering mobile user experience and usability.

Even though it was written more than 20 years ago, Don’t Make Me Think has become one of the most recommended books on user experience design because it is short, well-illustrated, and, most importantly, enjoyable to read! It focuses specifically on web usability, with practical tips and best practices for good design. It's still the #1 Best Seller in User Experience & Website Usability on Amazon.

Many of the best practices and design principles in Don’t Make Me Think may sound like common sense, but you'd be surprised how often they are overlooked by even experienced designers. Don’t Make Me Think is still one of the best books to introduce people to UX design and we recommend it to UI UX designers regularly.

“As a rule, people don’t like to puzzle over how to do things. The fact that the people who built the site didn’t care enough to make things obvious–and easy—can erode confidence in the site and its publishers.”
Introduction to Design Thinking for UX Beginners by Uijun Park

2. Introduction to Design Thinking for UX Beginners by Uijun Park

Introduction to Design Thinking for UX Beginners by Uijun Park was published in 2023, making it one of the newest UX design books on this list. We've added it because it's a perfect introduction to the field of UX design.

With over 13 years of experience in UX design, Uijun Park has written a concise, entertaining, modern, and practical guide book on user behavior/user experience design best practices, UX design thinking, information architecture, and user research.

Unlike many of the older UX design books on this list, Introduction to Design Thinking for UX Beginners includes up-to-date examples and case studies. We particularly loved the statistics and trends analysis included in this book. Even if you're an experienced designer, there are valuable insights about the future of user experience design.

If you're new to UX design or an experienced UI UX designer looking to brush up on your UX design skills and UX design process, this book is a good idea and covers pretty much everything you need.

Hooked by Nir Eyal & Ryan Hoover

3. Hooked by Nir Eyal & Ryan Hoover

How many times per day do you reach for your phone to open X (Twitter), Instagram, or any another app for that matter? Chances are you're often doing this subconsciously — this is the power of habit-forming products, and it's a powerful and scary development in the world of user experience design.

Hooked is written by Israeli-born bestselling author Nir Eyal with a contribution from Ryan Hoover. Hooked synthesizes Eyal’s expertise gleaned through many years studying human psychology and UX research. This book highlights the importance of psychology in product design and user experience design in products and services we can't seem to live without.

Why was the Apple iPhone the most profitable product in history? How did TikTok become one of the biggest and fastest-growing apps in the world in a short period of time? Hooked explores how product teams can use variable rewards to make us form powerful habits, even without us realising.

Eyal presents a four-phase framework for building habit-forming products, called The Hook Model, providing practical advice and best practices on how to develop user behavior that develops into habitual behavior. We're more addicted to our screens than ever before, so it's understandable that many consider this to be the dark side of user experience design. Ethical considerations aside, understanding what drives habit-forming products is an important part of working as a UX designer today.

Hooked is an essential book to read if you're in the business of creating digital products or services, whether you're a UX designer, UX researcher, product designer, or product manager.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk

4. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk

Written by behavioral scientist and UX consultant Susan Weinschenk, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People shares 100 insights on human behavior to help you design better products and improve your UX design skills. It mixes psychology and UX research with real-life examples to help you understand your users on a deeper level.

We love 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People because it's the perfect balance between UX design and psychology, with practical advice and best practices to improve user experience.

This book is a practical guide on how to increase the productivity, conversion rates, and accessibility of your product design by answering questions like:

  • What grabs and holds attention on a page or screen?
  • How do you motivate people to continue on to the next step?
  • How can you foresee what kinds of mistakes someone will end up making?

Originally published in 2011, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People still serves as an incredibly useful and practical guide for any UX designers, UI designers, or product managers looking to better understand the psychology behind creating great user experience design.

People are very willing to click multiple times. In fact, they won’t even notice they’re clicking if they’re getting the right amount of information at each click to keep them going down the path. Think progressive disclosure; don’t count clicks.

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

5. The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

The Design of Everyday Things is another of the most recommended books on UX design. Don Norman actually coined the term “user experience” in the original 1988 version of this book!

The Design of Everyday Things was republished in 2013 and to include updated best practices and examples of user experience design principles in action. The 2013 edition is 370 pages long and a brand-new introductory chapter written by the author.

This book focuses on the way design affects our daily lives and how we, as users, interact with the products we user and the physical world we inhabit. There is great user experience design and creative problem-solving behind the most (seemingly) boring objects.

You won't find much on web usability or user interface design in this book. Instead, The Design of Everyday Things is a deep dive into human behavior, psychology, ergonomics, and research. The key takeaway from this UX design book is that all design should be user-centered at it's core.

Whether you’re a designer or not, The Design of Everyday Things will help you understand and appreciate the design of the world around you. You'll never look at a door the same way again!

“Appearances are only part of the story: usability and understandability are more important, for if a product can’t be used easily and safely, how valuable is its attractiveness?”

Laws of UX: Design Principles for Persuasive and Ethical Products by Jon Yablonski

6. Laws of UX: Design Principles for Persuasive and Ethical Products by Jon Yablonski

Laws of UX by Jon Yablonski is a practical guide on UX, specifically, how user experience teams can apply key principles in psychology to design better user experiences that are more intuitive. What more could you want in a UX design book?

Understanding the psychology behind how users behave and interact with digital interfaces is perhaps the single most valuable non-design skill you can develop. Laws of UX explores ten key principles based on user behavioral economics studies and UX research, with clear examples and best practices from each.

These key principles (or "laws") are easy to understand and the book is written concisely. Yablonski provides practical advice on:

  • How aesthetically pleasing design creates positive responses
  • The principles from psychology most useful for designers
  • How these psychology principles relate to UX heuristics
  • Predictive models including Fitts’s law, Jakob’s law, and Hick’s law
  • Ethical implications of using psychology in design
  • A framework for applying these principles

Laws of UX is a good idea to pick up, even if you're an experienced UI UX designer or UX researcher. It's well-researched and presents familiar UX research in a digestible and easy-to-understand format.

UI is Communication by Everett N. McKay

7. UI is Communication by Everett N. McKay

UI is Communication is a 378-page book written by Vermont-based author and UX Design Edge's principal, Everett N. McKay. The book was initially released in 2013 and is a perfect read for UX designers, product designers and researchers. We also featured this book on our list of the best books for UI design.

This is one of the best books to read on UX design because it focuses on the relationship between target audiences and product design and how you, as a designer, can design with the user in mind. It's a valuable book that you’ll probably re-read a few times over your career.

Unlike much UX writing who focus only on the theoretical side of user experience design, usability testing, and user research, McKay includes practical advice and examples that help you understand UX design principles more thoroughly.

“If your product solves real problems, has a simple, intuitive interaction and an appealing, easy-to-read visual design, yet people aren’t using it, chances are your product is failing to communicate at a human level.”

Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell

8. Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell

William Lidwell, a Houston-based researcher and university professor, published Universal Principles of Design back in 2003. Despite being 20 years old, Universal Principles of Design is still one of the most recommended books on UX design because it focuses on core design principles that create good user experience.

You've probably heard of the “80/20 Rule”, “Ockham’s Razor”, “Self-Similarity”, "Information Architecture, and “Storytelling” in design. Universal Principles of Design explores these concepts in UX design through the lens of human psychology, with plenty of case studies to help you develop a deeper understanding behind the design principles in this book.

Universal Principles of Design is also featured on our list of the the best books for UI design. It's become an invaluable cross-disciplinary reference for both UX design and UI design best practices.

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design

9. About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design was one of the books that shaped and evolved the landscape of interaction design. We also featured this book on our list of the best books for UI design.

Written in 2014 by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin, and Christopher Noessel, About Face is a solid foundational read on user experience design fundamentals, how users interact with screens, and how businesses can optimize this experience.

Some of the design best practices may be a little out of date today, but About Face is still a wealth of information for user experience best practices in design.

Lean UX: Designing Great Products with Agile Teams by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden

10. Lean UX: Designing Great Products with Agile Teams by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden

Lean UX was originally published in 2013 by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden. The third edition of this UX design book was published in 2021 and covers lean principles, tactics and techniques to incorporate UX design into agile product development teams.

If you're unfamiliar with agile product development and lean principles, it refers to a methodology of software development based on the Agile Manifesto. "Agile" product teams build products in short iterations with a faster continuous feedback loop.

One of the biggest criticisms of agile-focused teams is that they can easily lose sight of the user needs and the entire product user experience while building new features as fast as possible. I've seen it happen in companies I've worked at and it is a frustrating experience. Lean UX was written to help UX designers, product designers, software developers and product managers focus on the entire user experience rather than just deliverables.

 Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems by Steve Krug

11. Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems by Steve Krug

Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug was published in 2009 and is a friendly and useful guide to identifying and fixing common web usability issues. Think of it as a practical companion and sequel to the hugely popular Don’t Make Me Think by the same author, which was published in 2000.

While some of the examples in Rocket Surgery Made Easy may be a little dated now, it's still one of the best books on web usability, information architecture, and user experience optimization, with valuable insights. Krug's UX writing style is great at explaining user experience concepts in Layman's terms — it's accessible, easy-to-read, and does a good job of demystifying the entire user experience design process.

“Yes, there are things you can learn only by watching a target audience use the site. But there are many things you can learn by watching almost anyone use it. When you begin doing usability testing, your site will probably contain a lot of serious problems that “almost anybody” will encounter, so you can recruit much more loosely in the beginning.” – Steve Krug, Rocket Surgery Made Easy

Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda

12. Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda

This is a bit of an unusual addition to this list of the best UX design books, but an important one. Many people may not know who Ken Kocienda is, but he played an integral part in Apple's success. Hundreds of millions of people use Apple products every day. Apple's processes are worth studying—they've created some of the most profitable products of all time.

Ken Kocienda worked at Apple for nearly fifteen years, experimenting with unique user interface ideas and concepts, and has developed user-friendly and easy-to-use software software for the Safari web browser, the iPhone, and the iPad.

Creative Selection was published in 2018 and tells the remarkable insider’s story that reveals how Apple's user experience design team utilised a Darwinian approach to user research, ideation and creativity. The sheer craft, diligence, empathy, and user research that goes into designing great Apple products is mind-blowing. We have Creative Selection on our list of best UX books because it will inspire you to think differently about your design process.

Designing with the Mind in Mind by Jeff Johnson

13. Designing with the Mind in Mind by Jeff Johnson

Designing with the Mind in Mind was originally published in 2014 by Jeff Johnson and has become an everlasting textbook on the concepts of perceptual and cognitive psychology in user experience design. The third edition was published in 2020.

If you're wondering what "perceptual and cognitive psychology" is, don't worry! This book is essentially about the psychology behind the user interface design principles and rules that we know today. Early UI designers were trained in cognitive psychology — the science behind how users behave and make decisions — but somewhere along the way, the UI design industry has moved onto established "rules".

Jeff Johnson wrote Designing with the Mind in Mind to help the next generation(s) of users understand the cognitive psychology behind these rules so they can apply them more effectively and thoughtfully in UX design.

Strangers to Ourselves by Timothy D. Wilson

14. Strangers to Ourselves by Timothy D. Wilson

Turns out we know very little about the brain and can't decipher our most basic human motivation levers and decision-making models most of the time. Strangers to Ourselves was written by Social Psychology Professor, Timothy D. Wilson, and explores the idea of the unconscious and the role it plays in human behavior.

Strangers to Ourselves isn't a book about user experience design, but a deep dive into human psychology and how we think. At the core of great UX design is a deeper understanding of user behavior and psychology and this can influence design.

Strangers to Ourselves is a fascinating read, even if you're not a UX designer. It draws on years of psychology research to uncover invaluable insights into human psychology. It will change the way you think about user experience design and what drives human behavior.

The best books for UI design

What about UI design books?

We've written this guide to focus specifically on books that are focused on learning UX design. If you're looking to level up your UI design and product design skills, we've written a separate guide specifically on the best books for modern UI design.

Find any other useful UX design books? 

There are hundreds of UX design books being released every year. We've picked out the best of the best and regularly update this post.

If you come across any other useful books for UX design that should included on this list, let us know! We'd love to check it out.

Learning Figma?

We hope you find this list of some of the best UI design books helpful. Regardless if you're new to UI UX design or a professional product designer, there's always room to learn and improve your design process and design skills.

If you're learning UI design and Figma, we've also recently updated our lists of the best Figma courses for 2024. Learning on a budget? We also have a post on the best Figma courses that are 100% free. Check them out!

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