There are a lot of books out there on user experience and the surrounding areas of accessibility, usability, and content strategy, and sometimes it is overwhelming to find what works. These are all the books you need to make your UX game strong, and the ones that are bolded are the books I consider essential especially if you are an army of one and need to rely on guerrilla testing to get things done. The majority of these books come from Rosenfeld Media or A Book Apart and are offered in both print and electronic versions.
- Accessibility for Everyone, by Laura Kalbag. If you don’t have the time to do a deep dive, GET THIS BOOK. It’s seriously… well, accessible.
- A Web for Everyone — Designing Accessible User Experiences, by Sarah Horton & Whitney Quesenbery. This is the second accessibility book you should have (yes, you need both), largely because this book gives you all the things at a deeper level, but still keeping it comprehensible. Lots of additional materials on her site as well. When your content is accessible to everybody everywhere, then you have something to build upon.
- Design for Real Life, by Eric Meyer & Sara Wachter-Boettcher. This book is one of my top 5 books, because we design for humans, and we humans are messy. It is critical you design for stress cases and develop inclusive practices.
- Designing for Emotion, by Aarron Walter. Lots of case studies, psychological concepts, and scientific data that will help you create accessible and real connections to the people who use your sites and applications.
- Conversational Design, by Erika Hall. Written by a researcher who can show you data as to why conversation is best for creating human-centered systems.
- Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech, by Sara Wachter-Boettcher. A deeper dive into how our prejudices can be unknowingly baked into our work. Clearly we don’t subscribe to “first do no harm.” A important book to read.
- Content Strategy for the Web, by Kristina Halvorson. This is basically the content strategy bible. Get yo’self to church. You need it.
- Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, guidelines, and templates for getting content right, by Meghan Casey. If Kristina explains the strategy, Meghan gives you the tools to enact it.
- The Elements of Content Strategy, by Erin Kissane. Not a content strategist, but need to know how to get it done? This is the book for you.
- Content Everywhere — Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content, by Sara Wachter-Boettcher (Rosenfeld Media). The extended how to and why behind future ready content. Also, because, frankly, Sara Effing Wachter-Boettcher.
- Writing for Designers, by Scott Kubie. One of ABA’s newer formats, this brief is full of “how to get it done” pointers that can otherwise stymie the non-writers in us.
- Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works, by Janice (Ginny) Redish. This book is full of common sense and applicable on websites and social media alike.
- Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, by Anne Handley. Part writing guide, part handbook on the rules of good sportsmanship in content marketing, and all-around reliable desk companion for anyone creating or directing content on behalf of brands.
- Managing Chaos — Digital Governance by Design, by Lisa Welchman. Because, SERIOUSLY, governance. Get some. If I had a thinner book I’d recommend it, but governance isn’t an easy quick fix. It’s hard work to set up and get everyone on board, but the end result allows your people to get out of their own way and move forward together, with a clear path to walk.
- Everyday Architecture, by Lisa Maria Marquis. If it’s hard for us to edit ourselves, it’s even harder to organize our stuff. Lisa makes you a believer.
- Card Sorting, by Donna Spencer. How to run effective card sorts to make your content easy to find for every kind of user you serve. Card sorts are one of your best tools in understanding how your users think about your information. Ordering your information is a great thing if you can learn how to do it.
- Web Form Design, by Luke Wroblewski. I realize this book is over a damn decade old, but there is nobody like Luke who has collected so. much. data. on forms and humans. It’s out of print, but you can search Amazon and Powells for used copies of this book — or just get the e-book.You won’t be sorry.
- Universal Design for Web Applications — Web Applications That Reach Everyone, by Matt May & Wendy Chisholm. This book could also go under accessibility, but it’s here because we can’t just worry about websites being usable by everyone; our applications need to be accessible too. Yes, they talk about Flash (shudder) but it’s still relevant.
Project & Team Management
- Project Management for Humans: Helping People Get Things Done, by Brett Harned. Not only is this a good book for actual project managers, it’s a great book for people who get tasked with these duties. It also has the word human in the title, so of course it resonates with me.
- Practical Empathy: For Collaboration and Creativity in Your Work, by Indi Young. Another book that focuses on using empathy, but this time within collaborative teams. Basically, how to team better.
- Just Enough Research, by Erika Hall. I know research is hard, and administrators don’t think you need it to do your job. But you do. This book will help you help yourself with the basics of multiple types of research so you can get what you need to make your work better.
- Interviewing Users, by Steve Portigal. A deep dive into how to conduct interviews with anyone and actually gain insights from them. Good if you need to do a lot of one-on-one interviews.
- Remote Research, by Nate Bolt & Tony Tulathimutte. Design and run remote usability studies so that you can start recruiting users quickly and cheaply. Again, this book helps to understand and fine tune your methodology over the long haul.
- Validating Product Ideas, by Tomer Sharon. Teaches the strategy and lean tactics to create an effective user research process from beginning to end. Not a quick fix book, but helps to explain the landscape in which you work, and how to navigate it.
- Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug. This book is my usability bible. Short and sweet, it shows you exactly why it’s important to do usability testing and is still short enough to read on a plane ride, but now the examples are from the 21st century,
- Rocket Surgery Made Easy also by Steve Krug. This book is my usability testing bible. It tells you exactly how to perform usability tests, complete with examples on Krug’s site, www.sensible.com. Simply put, you need both of these books.
- The User Experience Team of One — A Research and Design Survival Guide, by Leah Buley. Almost everyone I know in higher ed is an Army of One — the go to person that has to wear all the hats. This book gives you the tools and insights to do more with less (note that line is in their copy, but frankly I couldn’t really say it better than they did).
Have a great resource I should be using? Please share it with me!