7 excellent UX books you should read

ux design

Grow your skills

Reading is one of the easiest and cheapest ways if you would like to grow your skills on a specific topic.

Do you want to expand your know-how in UX, product design or self-promotion?

I am sharing a list of UX books I read recently and all of them I can highly recommend to you. They cover different topics from UI patterns and design systems over customer experience maps, an how to hook users to the art of showing your work.

Which one will you read next?

Practical UI Patterns for Design Systems

— Diana MacDonald

Have you ever wondered of the differences between component libraries, design systems, front-end style guides or brand and editorial style guides? If you want to get answers, then you should read this book.

With many practical examples Diana MacDonald explains the most common UI patterns which you can use in your Design Systems and where some difficulties will await you.

You will learn what UI patterns are, how you can use them and why consistency is king when it comes to product design. Diana MacDonald also shows in her book the best examples of very common UI patterns so that you get inspired for your own work.

A true treasure of knowledge.

Buy Practical UI Patterns for Design Systems.

CX That Sings

— Jennifer L. Clinehens

Maybe not one of the typical UX books, but definitely worth reading. Jennifer Clinehens tells you all about understanding, building and using customer journey maps — from start to finish.

The best thing about the book is that there are great examples and templates you can use for your daily work which is also very helpful for UX work.  

❌ Personally I think personas are not the right way to think about your users. 

But what I really loved about the book were the many examples and the bonus material containing valuable tips.

Buy CX That Sings.

Atomic Design

— Brad Frost

Brad Frost is a legend when it comes to design systems. In his book Atomic Design, he explains what a design system is and how he got the idea for this. He shows in a detailed way how the basic properties of a design become complex components – from the atom to the multi-layered organism.

In addition to explaining the design system itself, he also explains how to collaborate in cross-functional teams using a design system, as well as how to pitch and communicate a design system to different stakeholders.

Buy Atomic Design from Brad Frost.

The Best Interface is No Interface

— Golden Krishna

One of my favorite UX books as it opens up a new way of thinking when it comes to digital products. That book is a real eye-opener regarding today’s digitalization mess. 

It becomes so clear that you don’t need «just an app» for everything. Instead, we need effective software solutions that really add value to the users.

The best example from this book for me was:

🚙 When you want to drive with your car
📱 but you have to take out your smart phone
👀 find the app
🕰 open it and wait until the app loaded
🔓 and then unlock your car
😜 you’ll look like an idiot. 

Undeniable – the best interface is no interface! 

Buy The Best Interface is No Interface.

Don’t make me think

— Steve Krug

The undisputed bible among books for designers. 

Steve Krug gets to the heart of how to make it as easy as possible for users in every chapter. 

👉 We only scan through the web and that’s how the design should be aligned. The important stuff has to stand out, the rest is ignored anyway. 

👉 Take the decision away from the users through guided design. 

👉 Really good responsive design is hard to accomplish.

Buy Don’t make me think.

Hooked

— Nir Eyal

When you’ve read this book, you truly understand how to engage your users. 

You will get to know tactics how to stay present in your users’ minds and let them come back to your product in a world of infinite distraction.

My best take aways:

👉 Habits are not addictions 

👉 Triggers get users into action

👉 Increase the ability to make actions as easy as possible

👉 Use humans’ desire to feel accepted, attractive, important and included

Buy Hooked.

Show Your Work

— Austin Kleon

The undisputed bible among books for designers. Steve Krug gets to the heart of how to make it as easy as possible for users in every chapter. 

👉 We only scan through the web and that’s how the design should be aligned. The important stuff has to stand out, the rest is ignored anyway. 

👉 Take the decision away from the users through guided design. 

👉 Really good responsive design is hard to accomplish.

Buy Show Your Work.

I hope you found some inspiration on what you want to read next. I can highly recommend each of these UX books, and I’m also very happy if you let me know what you have taken away from one or the other.

Please share your thoughts and ideas with me on LinkedIn or Instagram. I am always happy to connect.