UX Books I read in 2013

21 December 2013 – 22:06

2013 has been the year when I really jumped into the User Experience waters with both feet — with the incredible support of ThoughtWorks, the massive help from all my UX colleagues and a good bunch of books.

And as the year is coming to an end, I thought it’d be a good idea to share all the books I got so much information and insights from.

So, here it is, my 2013 User Experience books:

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

A must to read if you’re working in a real lean and agile environment or you’re pondering implementing them. Easy to read as it has lots of RealWorld™ examples. His author, Jeff Gothelf, even writes about modern techniques like live style guides.

I’m still reading it, but so far so good.

Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-a-Glance Monitoring

I bought this one after reading that everyone who joins the Chartio team is sent their own copy of the book to go over before they start — that’s a good review, isn’t? I didn’t have much time to apply it to the websites team build monitors, but is in my list of things to do in 2014 (fingers crossed!)

Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Rules

This one sits in the category of “Books you should read from time to time” if you’re into UI design — Jeff Johnson demystifies in simple rules why and how we perceive any piece of design.

A great book with a horrible cover (the texture really gives me goose bumps!)

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions

Although not related at all with web design, this book use examples to explain lots of different small tricks to predict irrational human behaviour — sometimes I compare this one to the masterpiece Influence: the psychology of persuasion by Cialdini.

If your job is somehow related to create campaings, product pricing or marketing, this book is a must.

Every single chapter is awesome, but I would really highlight the first four chapters:

  • The truth about relativity
  • The fallacy of supply and demand
  • The cost of zero cost
  • The cost of social norms

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People: What Makes Them Tick? (Voices That Matter)

Another book about user behaviour. A good reference book, not great but with a very nice presentation layout — one hundred small chapters of two pages, explaining a small concept each time.

A Book Apart, Just Enough Research

Awesome and very aligned with Lean UX. As the title says, the book focuses in different workflow processes and business strategies to do just the research you need in each moment.

One of the best chapters is also available to read for free — Interviewing Humans in A List Apart.

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Absolutely mind blowing. The best book of my year, period.

Daniel Kahneman explains how the human mind works using the following mental model: The mind is divided in two different systems or areas: the first one, System 1 is fast, instinctive and emotional, while the second one System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical.

The mind blowing part comes when, just using that very simple model, Daniel explains lots and lots of irrational human behavious — that became rational as soon as you apply the System 1 and 2 model.

The book is a bit rough sometimes — quite deep, with some examples very USA related — but it really changes the way you see human behaviour, even yourself.

Social Engineering, the art of human hacking

I’ve just been having a glance over it, but it looks really interesting — not because I would ever use it for real social engineering, but to be able to detect and react against different persuation tactics and tools. This was the book that presented me the concept of microgestures.

That was all :-) An amazing year with lots of insights and learnings about experience design.

How was yours? what was the best book you’ve read this year?


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