Reading tips: five books for UX designers

What does it take to create great design? We asked our creative team to share some reading recommendations.

Design sits at the heart of what we do. We work daily to create brand new experiences for our clients, and to delight audiences of hungry end-users. What does it take to create great design? Some inspiration, to start with. We asked our creative team to tell us which books have played a key role for them. The holiday season is fast approaching, so here are a few tips to populate your ‘to read’ shelf with a few titles. Enjoy.

#1. Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

Perhaps not the most design-relevant, ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ talks about intuition vs slow thinking. How can these two different systems work together? In this unmissable book, Kahneman uses sharp principles of behavioural economics to highlight the best practices in decisional processes, and how to avoid mistakes. Understanding how human minds think helps to design better and deeper experiences, at many levels.

Suggested by Alex Chiu, Junior UX/UI Designer

#2. Don’t Make Me Think, A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, by Steven Krug

Steve Krug writes about human-computer interaction and web usability. It’s where user experience meets user intelligence, explained in an easy-to-digest way. This means that even non UX design experts can easily approach this book.  The book premise is that a good software program or website should let users accomplish their intended tasks as easily and as directly as possible. Published in 2000, ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ is still a must-read!

Suggested by Stephen Pearse, Head of Creative

#3. The Design of Everyday Things, by Donald Norman

This best-selling book brings to you an analysis of how design serves as the link between object and user, and how to optimise that conduit of communication to make the experience of using the object really pleasurable. Written by cognitive scientist and usability engineer Donald Norman, ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ tells us that although people often blame themselves when objects don’t function as expected, it’s most likely a lack of intuitive guidance in the design to play a key role.

Suggested by Stephen Pearse, Head of Creative

#4. Lean UX, 2s: Designing Great Products With Agile Teams, by Jeff Gothelf, Josh Seiden

The second edition of this award-winning book by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden highlights real-life examples of how product teams incorporate design, experimentation, iteration, and continuous learning from real end-users into their agile processes. This is the core of what we do at Simplestream. We are a design-led company aiming to refine products and solutions with the ultimate objective of creating the best experience for the end-user.

Suggested by Alex Chiu, Junior UX/UI Designer

#5. Start With Why, by Simon Sinek

Arguably one of the most successful business-focused books of the past decade or so, ‘Start With Why’ is another not specifically UX design-related work. The book discusses the integral role played by ‘why’ you do something in business. A concept that can naturally be tied back to the importance – not only in the physical space but also in the streaming and OTT space – of designing not just for the aesthetics. How do you solve the actual problem? How do you focus on the purpose? Start with why!

Suggested by the team