Why I Created this List
I created this list of UX resources for beginners like you. If you’re new to UX design, you may struggle with how to start learning about it. You might be thinking, “How do I learn the basics? Is there a book I should read? Is there a blog I should follow?”
Googling about UX design returns many, many results. It’s hard to sift through all of it. It’s difficult to tell the quality content apart from the weak content. And very few of the resources you’ll find are created for beginners or junior designers.
As a faculty member at Center Centre, the UX design school, I get many questions about becoming a UX designer. I’ve reviewed all the resources in this list, and I believe they represent UX design with accuracy and clarity.
How to Use this List
I recommend starting with three to five of these resources to learn about UX design. If you get through five of the resources and you’re excited to learn more, feel free to review the rest. You’ll learn something different with each resource.
The $300 Million Dollar Button
A large e-commerce organization earned an additional $300 million in annual purchases after removing the registration requirement from its site.
Richard Saul Wurman wrote Hats in 1989. It’s a curious read about making information understandable. Even though the article is over 25 years old, it’s still relevant today. This article is available in PDF format only.
Kids Were Terrified of Getting MRIs. Then One Man Figured Out a Better Way.
General Electric decided to reinvent pediatric MRI’s because children were terrified of the MRI hospital experience. GE redesigned the pediatric MRI experience to be a pirate-themed adventure. This article is a great example of how UX design involves much more than designing what’s on the screen.
Grow your career without leaving your company
Lis Pardi blazed her own trail to become a UX designer/information architect. She changed her career by taking on the role of UX designer at her organization. If you already work in technology or design and you want to become a UX designer, consider following Lis’ guidance.
My Advice on Becoming a UX Designer
I wrote this article for people who want to become UX designers. In the article, I explain how to get involved with the UX community, how to take on UX projects by yourself, and how to apply UX at your current job.
What is User Experience Design?
Paul Boag and his guests discuss the difference between user experience (UX), user interface (UI), and customer experience. I recommend starting the podcast at timestamp 23:00. The beginning of the podcast is mostly chatter.
UX Careers: An Interview with Cory Lebson (Update: September 2016)
In this UXpod interview, Cory Lebson shares his recommendations for becoming a UX designer. If you’re transitioning your career to UX design, you should find this podcast helpful.
The UX Intern Podcast
In this podcast series, a UX intern named Wesley Noble interviews UX designers. He asks them about their work, how they got into the field, and what advice they have for aspiring UX designers.
If you’re not sure which episode to start with, try the interview with Whitney Hess, Jesse James Garrett, or Luke Wroblewski.
It’s a Great Time to Be a UX Designer
Jared Spool is a highly respected leader in UX design. He’s also my boss at Center Centre. In this presentation, Jared explains UX design with real-world examples. Some of Center Centre’s applicants tell us they decided to pursue a career in UX design after watching this presentation.
What Does a UX Designer Do?
This is a brief video interview with Sarah Harrison, the head of UX design at True&Co. Sarah discusses the UX tools she uses every day and what excites her about being a UX designer.
Steve Krug’s Demo Usability Test
Steve Krug, the author of Don’t Make Me Think, demos a usability test in this video. Before the usability test begins, Steve asks you to write down your own observations from the usability test. He shares his own observations with you after the test.
Online Checkout in Real Life (Update: February 2016)
In this humorous video, a customer tries to purchase a loaf of bread at a brick-and-mortar store. While checking out, he encounters many frustrations that people have when they shop online. I often show this video to people who are new to UX design.
Go to the Gemba: Deborah Adler at TEDxRVA 2013 (Update: April 2016)
In this short TEDx talk, designer and entrepreneur Deborah Adler shows you how design can solve important problems for people. My favorite example is the ClearRX packaging system. Deborah partnered with Target to develop ClearRX after she developed the ClearRX concept as a graduate student. ClearRX reinvented the patient experience for prescription medications.
Don’t Make Me Think
Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think is the quintessential intro to UX book. If you haven’t read any UX books yet, I recommend that you start with this book.
The Design of Everyday Things
This book is about designing products for people. The author, Don Norman, explains why everyday objects like chairs, teapots, computers, and phones are designed the way they are. After you read this book, you’ll look differently at the design of things around you.
A Project Guide to UX Design
This book explains the steps of a UX project. Because every UX project is unique, the book reviews a range of UX tools and approaches that you can use in a project. After you finish this book, you’ll understand what a UX project can be like from start to finish.
How to Make Sense of Any Mess
Abby Covert wrote this charming book about information architecture (IA). IA is how we organize everything in a design to help our users find the specific content they’re seeking. When a design’s information is organized, easy to understand, and easy to navigate, users can find what they need. How to Make Sense of Any Mess makes complex IA principles understandable and accessible. It’s also a quick read.
Information Architecture for the Web and Beyond
UX designers call this book “The Polar Bear Book” because of its cover. Now in its fourth edition, this is one of the essential books about information architecture. If you enjoy reading How to Make Sense of Any Mess, read this book next.
Letting Go of the Words
This is a UX book about writing effective content for your audience. Users visit your site to find content or to complete a task. If your site has the wrong content, or if your content is hard to understand, your audience will struggle. Letting Go of the Words is one of my favorite UX books of all time. Read my review of the book to see why.
Get Started in UX (Update: February 2016)
This e-book will help you transition to a career in UX design. The book explains, among many other things, how to build professional relationships in the UX field and how to create a UX portfolio. The book will also help you determine if UX design is a good career move for you.
Lis Hubert is the instructor for this course on Treehouse. User experience design is a broad, nuanced field, and Lis does a great job of explaining it. If you don’t have a membership with Treehouse, sign up for the free trial to take Lis’ course.
UX Fundamentals (Update: January 2016)
This self-paced UX Fundamentals course is free of charge. As you begin the course, you’ll complete a short quiz to assess your current knowledge of UX design. Throughout the course, you’ll complete some learning assignments. The course includes an online forum where you upload and share assignments with other students. There are also quizzes at the end of each section that help you retain what you learn.
Usability Testing Basics
If you enjoyed these resources, you may want to review my list of usability testing resources, Choose Your Own Adventure to Learn Usability Testing Basics.
Center Centre is the UX design school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA, that prepares students to be industry-ready, junior UX designers. I’m a faculty member at Center Centre.
Other UX Resources for Beginners
Have you found other good UX resources for beginners? Let me know in the comments. I may just add them to the list.