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9 UX Research Books for Designing Better Products

 By Userlytics
 Feb 21, 2024
Home  »  Blog   »   9 UX Research Books for Designing Better Products

In making great products and keeping users happy, there’s one golden rule: never stop learning. Enter: UX research books!

User expectations shift as rapidly as the technological landscape, therefore staying ahead of the curve is crucial. Keeping your UX research skills sharp is important, and equipping yourself with the knowledge of the best UX research books is your ticket to success. 

In this article, we’ll give you 9 essential UX research books that you can pick up today to start designing better products tomorrow. So, cozy up in your favorite spot and dive into this curated list of UX research books that will transform you from UX enthusiast to UX guru faster than you can say “click here.”

“User Research: Improve Product and Service Design and Enhance Your UX Research” by Stephanie Marsh

344 Pages / 4,6 Rating / $32.99 / Get the book

1st UX Research book: User Research by Stephanie Marsh

Stephanie Marsh, a seasoned expert in the field, shares her wealth of experience in this comprehensive UX research book. It covers a wide range of topics essential to understanding user behavior and gathering meaningful insights. From conducting user interviews and surveys to analyzing data and creating personas, Stephanie breaks down complex concepts into digestible chunks, making them accessible to readers of all backgrounds.

One of the standout features of the book is its practical approach. Real-world examples and case studies are used throughout to illustrate how principles are applied in various contexts.

“The Handbook of Usability Testing” by Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell

384 Pages / 4,5 Rating / $29.31 / Get the book

"The Handbook of Usability Testing" by Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell

With Jeffrey Rubin’s extensive experience in usability testing and Dana Chisnell’s expertise in UX research, this book offers a comprehensive overview of the principles and practices of usability testing.

Readers will find a wealth of valuable information within its pages, ranging from planning and conducting usability tests to analyzing results and implementing findings. The authors break down complex concepts into clear, actionable steps, making it easy for readers to follow along and apply the techniques in their own projects.

Numerous real-world examples are provided, as well as case studies, templates, models, and more, illustrating how usability testing can be applied in different scenarios and industries.

“The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman

368 Pages / 4,6 Rating / $13.49 / Get the book

"The Design of Everyday Things" by Don Norman

Don Norman’s classic work delves into the principles of intuitive design, arguing that products should be designed with the user’s needs and limitations in mind. It’s a call to action for creating user-friendly and enjoyable interfaces. It is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the principles of good design.

In this book, Norman explores the fundamental concepts of usability and user-centered design, offering practical insights into how to create products that are intuitive and user-friendly. With clear examples and straightforward explanations, he demonstrates how design impacts our daily interactions and experiences.

Whether you’re in design, UX research, engineering, or simply curious about the world around you, “The Design of Everyday Things” is a valuable resource that will change the way you think about the objects you encounter every day.

“Just Enough Research” by Erika Hall

198 Pages / 5,0 Rating / $37.95 / Get the book

"Just Enough Research" by Erika Hall

Erika Hall’s book advocates for ‘just enough’ research in the design process. Written in a clear and accessible style, Hall offers practical advice on how to conduct effective UX research without getting bogged down in unnecessary details.

She emphasizes the importance of conducting research that is focused and purposeful, providing readers with just enough information to make informed decisions. From identifying UX research goals to choosing the right methods, Hall covers all the essentials in a concise and easy-to-understand manner.

“Just Enough Research” is a valuable UX research book that will help you navigate the complexities of research and make meaningful contributions to your projects.

“Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior” by Indi Young

299 Pages / 4,3 Rating / $47.01 / Get the book

“Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior” by Indi Young

“Mental Models” is a definitive guide to understanding the relationship between design strategy and human behavior. Young, who co-founded the pioneering UX research agency Adaptive Path (acquired by Capital One in 2014), offers valuable insights into how mental models shape our perceptions and interactions with the world around us.

In this book, you will discover practical techniques for uncovering and leveraging mental models to inform design decisions. The author’s approach is both accessible and insightful, providing readers with the tools they need to create more intuitive and user-centered designs.

One of the highlights of “Mental Models” is its emphasis on empathy and understanding. Young encourages designers to step into the shoes of their users, gaining deeper insights into their motivations and behaviors. By aligning design strategy with human behavior, designers can create more meaningful experiences for their users.

“Observing the User Experience” by Elizabeth Goodman, Mike Kuniavsky, and Andrea Moed

601 Pages / 4,3 Rating / $44.90 / Get the book

"Observing the User Experience" by Elizabeth Goodman, Mike Kuniavsky, and Andrea Moed

With its 601 pages, “Observing the User Experience” offers an extensive exploration of UX research methodologies, techniques, and best practices. It covers every aspect of the process, from planning and conducting studies to analyzing data and synthesizing findings. You will find detailed discussions on various UX research methods, including interviews, surveys, usability testing, and ethnographic research. The book also delves into topics such as user personas, journey mapping, and interaction design, providing a comprehensive overview of the field.

While “Observing the User Experience” is accessible to readers of all levels, it also offers advanced insights and techniques for experienced practitioners. The authors draw from their extensive experience in the field to provide nuanced discussions on topics such as research design, data analysis, and synthesis. Advanced concepts, such as affinity diagramming, contextual inquiry, and mental models, are explored in depth as well.

Despite its length and depth, this book remains highly practical and actionable. The authors provide clear, step-by-step instructions for conducting UX research, accompanied by real-world examples and case studies. Whether you’re a novice researcher or a seasoned professional, you’ll find plenty of value in this book.

“Quantifying the User Experience” by Jeff Sauro and James Lewis

350 Pages / 4,5 Rating / $42.32 / Get the book

"Quantifying the User Experience" by Jeff Sauro and James Lewis

For those interested in the quantitative side of UX research, this book provides a practical guide to using statistics to solve problems. It’s ideal for usability professionals looking to measure the impact of their work. Readers will gain insight into statistical concepts such as sample size calculations, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing, empowering them to conduct rigorous and scientifically valid UX research studies.

Despite its focus on statistical analysis, “Quantifying the User Experience” remains highly practical and accessible to readers of all levels. The authors provide clear explanations of statistical concepts, accompanied by real-world examples and case studies. You will learn how to apply statistical techniques to analyze user data, interpret findings, and make data-driven decisions to improve the user experience of your products.

“Interviewing Users” by Steve Portigal

176 Pages / 4,4 Rating / $28.49 / Get the book

"Interviewing Users" by Steve Portigal

Steve Portigal’s book is a masterclass in interviewing users, and  a must-read for anyone looking to hone their skills. Portigal provides practical guidance and valuable insights gleaned from his extensive experience as a researcher.  

What sets this UX research book apart is its emphasis on empathy and understanding. Portigal stresses the importance of building rapport with interviewees, creating a safe space for open dialogue, and listening attentively to users’ stories and experiences. Through real-world examples, you will learn how to ask meaningful questions that don’t miss the mark.

“It’s Our Research” by Tomer Sharon

288 Pages / 4,4 Rating / $31.96 / Get the book

9th UX Research book: "It’s Our Research" by Tomer Sharon

“It’s Our Research” by Tomer Sharon emphasizes the importance of gaining stakeholder buy-in. The main point of the book is about cultivating a user-centered culture throughout the organization, one where stakeholders from various departments actively participate in and value UX research activities.

Sharon provides practical strategies and insights on how to effectively communicate the value of UX research to stakeholders, demonstrating its impact on product success and customer satisfaction. By aligning user research goals with organizational objectives, Sharon guides readers on how to garner support and involvement at all levels.

Moreover, “It’s Our Research” offers actionable advice on integrating user research into existing workflows and processes within organizations. The author emphasizes the collaborative nature of UX research, encouraging cross-functional teams to work together.

How can you start with UX research?

The selection of UX research books mentioned above lays a strong foundation for further exploration. In addition, reads like “Don’t Make Me Think” by Steve Krug and “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman are essential additions to any bookshelf. These UX research books offer a solid introduction to UX principles.

It’s important to recognize that enhancing UX, whether for your own product or within a company, is a slow and steady journey involving multiple stakeholders. Beginning with a solid grasp of foundational knowledge, including familiarizing yourself with the jargon, techniques, and concepts, is crucial. 

Additional resources are available through our blog. If you would like to learn more about UX benchmarking as well, consider joining our upcoming webinar on the ULX® Benchmarking Score.

What are the latest trends in UX research?

If you’re feeling unsure about where to start your UX research journey and want to dive into the latest trends straight away, there are a few key areas you can explore.

  1. Usability Remote Testing
  2. AI Analytics
  3. Inclusive Design

First, Usability Remote Testing. It allows you to gather feedback from users without being in the same location. Platforms like Userlytics make this process easy and accessible, and have surged in popularity over the years.

Next, look into AI-driven Analytics, which can help you analyze large amounts of data quickly and efficiently. Userlytics’ AI UX Analysis capabilities makes the whole process of gathering, analyzing and interpreting large quantities of video content in an efficient and streamlined manner.

Finally, Inclusive Design is definitely a field you should learn about. It is about ensuring that your products are usable and accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds. If you would like to know more about Inclusive Design, consider listening to this interview of Userlytics’ UX Whisperers Podcast.

By focusing on these areas, as well as strengthening your foundational knowledge with the aforementioned UX research books, you can stay ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving field of UX research!

About the Author: Mehdi El Taghdouini

Mehdi El Taghdouini

Mehdi is the Head of Content and Communications at Userlytics. He is skilled at writing clear and engaging content on several topics, especially technology and SaaS products. Before joining Userlytics, Mehdi led the content marketing team of the largest Google Cloud and Google Workspace reseller in the Benelux market. He brings six years of experience in managing content for both startups and large companies. Mehdi holds a Bachelor\'s degree in E-Business and enjoys photography in his spare time. His photography projects have been exhibited in Brussels, Hong Kong, and Barcelona, where he now lives.

Connect with Mehdi

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