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15 best design books to learn UX

Mark Connolly recommends these 15 books:

User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product: Jeff Patton, Peter Economy: 9781491904909

  • Rated 4.6 by 125 users
  • A thoughtful, practical, and collaborative approach to thinking about products. We’re big on user story mapping at Boltmade. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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Lean UX: Designing Great Products with Agile Teams (9781491953600): Jeff Gothelf, Josh Seiden: Books

  • Rated 4 by 22 users
  • Filled with practical guidance that you can start to act on right away, from a pair of Fluxible speakers. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us: Daniel H. Pink: 8601420442870

  • Rated 4.4 by 1166 users
  • While not explicitly a UX-related book, Pink’s book is nevertheless a relevant, and fascinating read. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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See What I Mean: How to Use Comics to Communicate Ideas: Kevin Cheng: 9781933820279

  • Rated 5 by 11 users
  • In the context of this list, here is a perfect companion to Understanding Comics, as Cheng makes explicit the UX contexts in which to effectively use comics. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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Tog on Interface: Bruce Tognazzini: 9780201608427

  • Rated 3.8 by 6 users
  • It’s almost a quarter-century old, but while a few of the examples are a little dated Tog’s writing remains vibrant and engaging, and the concepts are as relevant and important as ever. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life): John Maeda: 9780262134729

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The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond (2nd Edition) (Voices That Matter): Jesse James Garrett: 8601400015025

  • Rated 4.3 by 107 users
  • One of the defining books on UX by the well-respected author, researcher, and practitioner, as well as co-founder of Adaptive Path. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition: Don Norman: 8601400351710

  • Rated 4.4 by 336 users
  • This is the first UX book I ever read. Any of Norman’s books are well worth a look, but this one is, for me, his greatest. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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Subject To Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World: Adaptive Path on Design: Peter Merholz, Todd Wilkens, Brandon Schauer, David Verba: 9780596516833

  • Rated 3.3 by 21 users
  • Another insightful book on product design from the folks at Adaptive Path (a company since acquired by Capitol One). (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers: Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, James Macanufo: 8601300354866

  • Rated 4.4 by 158 users
  • Plenty of hands-on activities that are useful in the UX world and beyond (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration (8601400995709): Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace: Books

  • Rated 4.7 by 1155 users
  • Loads of insights on how to organize a team for creative collaboration, from the co-founder of Pixar. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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The Elements of Typographic Style: Version 4.0: 20th Anniversary Edition: Robert Bringhurst: 9780881792126

  • Rated 4.6 by 152 users
  • This might very well be may favourite book on typography. Smart, detailed, and eminently approachable. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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Envisioning Information (9780961392116): Edward R. Tufte: Books

  • Rated 4.4 by 116 users
  • A beautifully printed book that, naturally, communicates Tufte’s ideas in a compellingly visual way. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (8601401250753): Scott McCloud: Books

  • Rated 4.7 by 411 users
  • I’ve been recommending this classic to designers for 20 years now! It’s a wonderful look at visual communication, exquisitely told using the form that it documents. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights: Steve Portigal: 9781933820118

  • Rated 4.4 by 77 users
  • Thoughtful, humane, practical, and more, Steve has created a great guide for a foundational aspect of UX research. (Posted on Blog)

    - says Mark Connolly
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Mark Connolly says,

UX GDE, Partner @Zeitspace

This isn’t meant to provide a definitive list, but rather a set of books that I’ve enjoyed and found helpful in my UX work. Some of them will be well known and already widely recommended. Others may be less so, though no less valuable to me. A few might even be eccentric choices for a list like this. And some of them might make for excellent beach reading this summer!

As seen on Mark Connolly's Twitter stream

Want to see someone's reading list here? Send us an email to collectoral@guesswork.co