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Top five books to read when starting your UX/UI journey

If you are super new to UX/UI design, these are our top game changer books!

UX/UI Design
3 minute read 

Getting started on a new journey is not easy, but great books can help give us the tools we need while nurturing our inspiration and drive. If you are super new to UX/UI Design these are some top game-changer books! They will give you all the insights, vocabulary, tips and tricks you need to start your incredible new journey.

The Design of Everyday Things- The classic you do not want to miss

Creating a great product is not an easy journey. Many think that it is just about looks, but what makes a great product is the ability for it to become an active part of our life.

To make this possible, we need to understand user needs and desires. Don Norman walks us through the psychology behind the user's need to bring design and technology closer and make great products.

Key points that you’ll learn while reading this classic:

  1. The true meaning of bad design
  2. The key to success is learnability in UX
  3. The importance of human psychology and human-centred design
  4. Design constraints and how to use them
  5. Team cooperation and user feedback

Don’t Make Me Think- Oldie but Goodie

Have you ever heard the phrase, “user don’t read”? Well, that is a myth that started to surface when UX/UI designers were on the rise in the web design market. Back in the early 2000s websites where overly crowded with text, buttons, tables, flashy animations—all begging for the user’s attention.

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug, details the principles of how to design great web experiences by making them easy to scan and read!

Here are the main takeaways you won’t want to miss:

  1. UX learnability and decision making
  2. How to make your layout easy to scan
  3. The importance of simple navigation
  4. Testing your product with real users, not only friends and coworkers
  5. The constraints of a mobile version and how to use them to your advantage

Refactoring UI- Devs helping nail down clean components

Design and Development work together to bring good products alive, and this book is a testimony to it. Written by software engineer Adam Wathan and designer Steve Schoger, Refactoring UI comes with the catchphrase “Make your ideas look awesome, without relying on a designer”.

Wathan took the internet by storm when he released the Tailwind CSS framework, but he didn’t stop there. With the help of his long-time friend and coworker Schoger, they came up with a fantastic idea, “refactoring” components in UI design. This simple but brilliant tactic has put into place, the importance and true basics of good-looking design. If you want to learn how to make your design pop in a matter of seconds, you can’t miss this book!

The key points of this awesome book are:

  1. Understanding design from a developer's point-of-view
  2. Design Tactics
  3. Atomic design principles
  4. The importance of design hierarchy
  5. Creating depth


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Designing User Interfaces- All the tips and tricks you need to start

To get comfortable with how to come up with arranging typography, colours, buttons and much more, this book is definitely a must! Michael Filipiak walks us through the basics of UI design and how to make beautifully useful designs.

Key insights that you’ll find:

  1. How to work with typography
  2. How to design the perfect color combination to create depth
  3. Tricks and tips about spacing
  4. From basic to in-depth rules of design
  5. The authors' approach to design tools

Steal Like an Artist- Nail observation and creativity.

Although design and art are not the same, they both use a ton of your brain power to be creative. Instead of being creative to simply express themselves, designers use creativity to come up with outstanding visual communication that resolves user needs.

Creativity is often misunderstood. Sometimes it’s important to value inspiration gained from observation and experimentation over reinventing the wheel. Austin Kleon will guide you through this process and assure you that everyone “steals”.

Key points that you’ll learn while reading this book are:

  1. Understanding what originality means
  2. How to imitate your heroes to become one
  3. Sharing your work to win
  4. Maintaining healthy habits as a creative
  5. Celebrate your praises and critique the critics

Closing Thoughts

As we said in the beginning, starting this journey is not easy but we assure you these books will be a light to guide you through your UX/UI path. We personally have read these and changed our careers for the better!

Also, as Austin from Steal Like an Artist says: “Sharing your journey is crucial for becoming an artist.” Remember to not only read but also to practice what you have learned and share it, you’ll be surprised how far this will take you.