The average designer has a number of valuable skills such as knowledge of design principles, practical ability with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketchâ€“and a certain amount of experience showcased by a portfolio of work.
In my experience, to take your game to the next level it can help to look beyond day-to-day design and learn about UX, business, coding, digital marketing and so on.
The scope of this article will just cover the UX aspect. Iâ€™ll outline some books I have personally used in my career so far, that have been a big help as a web designer. I will go through what each book is about, how it can take your web design to the next level and why I think you should read it.
This book, by Steve Krug, is not about form, but rather function. In other words, how practical is what youâ€™re doing?
This is a practical guide to web usability. It contains examples to show how a few alterations can enhance a websiteâ€™s effectiveness. Krugâ€™s book is written in practical language and deals with real world web design scenarios as well as really easy exercises for reviewing the usability of a website.
In my experience, this book will not only give you some valuable insights into web usability, but also force you to stop and take stock of some of your own projects as you read! Krugâ€™s advice will help you make multiple small improvements to your own work.
You need to read this book if you would also like to begin testing your web designs. This book contains a script between the user testing the interface and the person conducting the test, which is invaluable when breaking the process down into smaller steps.
User experience design is the practice of understanding the needs of the users who are interacting with your User Interface. Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler cover a wide gambit of topics within and beyond this area in A Project Guide to UX Design.
This book broadly covers different practitioners involved in the UX field. It also goes into depth about how to create a contract, information design principles, mobile interactions, content strategy and user testing.
You may have come from a Graphic Design background and never trained in User Experience work. This book is a great primer into the thought process and methods that UX professionals will go through when building a website or app.
You already know about web technologies and design trends, which is an essential part of every web designerâ€™s workflow. This book is a good way to expand beyond those areas and learn a bit about diplomacy, management skills and general business knowledge.
This is an Interaction Design book by Alan Cooper, written from a software perspective, but highly relevant within the web space. The current fourth edition is more accessible and easier to read than previous editions.
This book is all about designing great software products. Itâ€™s a must have book if you’re involved in software design, but useful for any User Interface Design project.
The world has changed dramatically in the last five years aloneâ€“we now go beyond merely designing websites and now work with interactive data displays, gestural products which include tablets and mobile. It is likely, even if you are a web designer, you will be working on different user interfaces, so check this book out if you get a chance as it covers philosophies, methods and resources that you will find invaluable!
You may wonder what designing great software products may have to do with web design? In my experience, tackling these types of projects, which are a bit more complex, has given me a more holistic perspective into what it takes to craft a successful user interface.
Design does not exist in a vacuum. It is an interconnected discipline, which needs to take into consideration the business and tech side of our industry. This is a good primer to get hold of some practical and authoritative user experience books, so that you can take your design skills to the next level.
Which books have helped you in your career so far? Post your comments below!