Last updated: February 9th, 2018
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 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 UX design. 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 nearly 30 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.
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.
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.
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.
Choose Your Own Adventure to Learn Usability Testing Basics
Speaking of usability testing, this is a comprehensive list of usability testing resources for beginners. You can review the resources on this list to learn how to do basic usability testing.
Online Checkout in Real Life
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Resources for Becoming a UX Designer
If you want to be a UX designer, read my post, Resources for Becoming a UX Designer. In the post, I share my favorite articles, videos, and podcasts for people considering a career in UX.
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.
Victor Rocha says
Another A/B Test worth mentioning, similar to the 300M button link, is https://blog.optimizely.com/2010/11/29/how-obama-raised-60-million-by-running-a-simple-experiment/
Jessica Ivins says
Thanks for sharing, Victor. 🙂
Great list but why not “Inmates are Running the Asylum?” That’s a classic!
Jessica Ivins says
Great question, Joe. I only post resources I’ve reviewed. I’ve heard great things about that book. It’s on my to-do list to read it. 🙂
Dan Goodwin says
I used to recommend Joel Marsh’s UX Crash Course: http://thehipperelement.com/post/75476711614/ux-crash-course-31-fundamentals and now I recommend the book of it: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26457147-ux-for-beginners
Jessica Ivins says
Thanks for sharing, Dan!
Arnold Teller says
UX Companion could be nice addition? http://uxcompanion.com
Jessica Ivins says
Thanks for the suggestion, Arnold!
Ntethelelo vilakazi says
Thanks for advices this may help me in future
thank you !
Aliu Adepoju says
Thanks, very helpful
ashley call says
hey jessica! just wanted to suggest to you the podcast, Mixed Methods, that started last year. it has an accompanying slack group with thousands of UX researchers (at varying levels of expertise) who collaborate from all over the world. definitely a good resource for beginners. 🙂
Jessica Ivins says
Thank you, Ashley! I’ll check out this podcast. 🙂
Victoria Schmidt says
I am glad I found your blog. I was a fashion designer for over 13 years with MA in fashion design. I then switched to a related field, where I injured my left forearm due to overuse…
I was wondering how much of computer use is involved in UX designer job? I am excellent with research and absolutely love psychology behind consumers buying choices…
Trying to see if UX would be an acceptable field for me to enter due to my medical restrictions ( only 2 hrs of intermittent computer use per day).
Would greatly appreciate your insights. I will research your blog more…
I am proficient in Illustrator/Photoshop, and have great aesthetics…
Thank you so much in advance.
Jessica Ivins says
Hello Victoria! Thanks for your thoughtful question. I’m not sure what to suggest at this time. I use a computer constantly, as do my colleagues and students here at Center Centre. Definitely more than two hours a day.
However, I imagine there is a way to be a UX designer with the constraint of 2 hours of intermittent computer use.
I’m happy to discuss this with you one on one! I’ll contact you directly to set something up.