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UX Research Books You Won't Want to Put Down: Insights for the Curious Mind

A captivating collection of UX research books that will both enlighten and entertain you

UX/UI Design
3 minute read 

As a designer, researcher, and forever learner, I’m constantly looking for new content to sink my teeth into. I know that committing to that next title is so much easier when a friend or colleague has recommended it to you. So, let me be that recommendation friend today. If you’re looking to expand your UX Research knowledge, look no further! I’ve compiled a list of UX research books that are not only informative but also a pleasure to read. From essential guides to practical tips, these books will keep you engrossed and fuel your desire to keep learning about the ins and outs of user experiences.

Just Enough Research by Erika Hall

Overview: Erika Hall's "Just Enough Research" is the perfect companion for anyone venturing into the realm of UX research. This engaging book covers various user research methods, from the basics to evaluative research and more. Erika's fun and quirky writing style makes this book a delightful read. It's the go-to resource to validate your research methodology decisions and keep handy on your desk for future reference.

Big Takeaway: User research is a powerful tool, and just enough research can go a long way in informing and validating design decisions.

The User Experience Team of One by Leah Buley

Overview: Leah Buley's "The User Experience Team of One" is a gem for lone UX practitioners or small teams. It is thoughtfully divided into two parts: philosophy, which focuses on building core principles, attitude, and perspective; and practice, which delves into various methods, techniques, tips, and tricks. The first part equips you with the tools to effectively advocate for UX within your company, while the second part provides a wealth of UX methods and tools to create user-centric products. Whether you're just starting your career or have years of experience, both parts offer equally valuable insights tailored to your specific work environment and professional journey.

Big Takeaway: As a UX team of one, you might experience some imposter syndrome. This book helps you know that you’re on the right path!

The Reader's Brain: How Neuroscience Can Make You a Better Writer by Yellowlees Douglas

Overview: Though this book centres around UX writing, it offers valuable insights from neuroscience that any UX advocate can benefit from. By delving into the workings of the reader's brain, it sheds light on crafting more persuasive and user-friendly content.

Big Takeaway: Understanding the neuroscience behind how readers process information can elevate your UX writing and communication skills.


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Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights by Steve Portigal

Overview: Steve Portigal's "Interviewing Users" is a must-read for UX researchers seeking in-depth advice for in-person interviews. Packed with practical guidance and real-life examples, this book equips you with the skills to glean great insights from user interviews. A lot of Portigal’s advice transfers well to remote research. For example, an interview can still move from broad to specific terms, you can still embrace the awkwardness, leverage silence, and slowly build rapport with your participant. However, you can’t rely on body language and the way your room is arranged when you’re chatting over Zoom. It will take a bit of creativity to transfer some of the insights in this book to remote interviews.

Big Takeaway: Effective interviewing techniques are the key to unlocking valuable user insights that drive user-centred design. This book has some great, subtle ways to get the most from each interview experience.

A Practical Guide to Measuring Usability: 72 Answers to the Most Common Questions about Quantifying the Usability of Websites and Software by Jeff Sauro

Overview: Jeff Sauro's "A Practical Guide to Measuring Usability" is a treasure trove of practical methods to quantify and assess website and software usability. This book provides clear answers to common questions about usability measurement, making it accessible and easy to implement.

Big Takeaway: Quantifying usability is essential to understand how users interact with your product and identify areas for improvement.

How to Recruit Participants for Usability Studies by Deborah Hinderer Sova and Jakob Nielsen

Overview: If you struggle with participant recruitment for usability studies, this free guide by NN Group is your saviour. With 234 pages of guidelines, it offers valuable insights on setting up, managing, and recruiting participants for your usability tests.

Big Takeaway: Proper participant recruitment is crucial to ensure representative user feedback and accurate usability testing results.

Design for Cognitive Bias by David Dylan Thomas

Overview: Cognitive biases significantly impact user behaviour and decision-making. David Dylan Thomas's "Design for Cognitive Bias" helps you understand these biases and provides practical advice on how to use them for the benefit of users and products.

Big Takeaway: Designing with an awareness of cognitive biases allows you to create more inclusive and effective user experiences.

So, there you have it—a captivating collection of UX research books that will both enlighten and entertain you. Whether you're new to UX research or a seasoned practitioner, these books offer valuable insights and practical tips to enhance your understanding and practice of user-centred design. Are there any more that you would add to this list? Happy reading, UXers!