Maybe you have studied UX design and research in school but most probably, you have learned all these skills online with trainings, courses, on blogs, on LinkedIn, on the job and while networking with other designers/researchers.
While online resources are vast and of high quality, reading a book about UX research is a different approach which might bring you new perspectives on the matter.
Here is our list of 10 books to boost your UX research:
Think like a UX researcher by David Travis and Philip Hodgson
Page count: 306
What to expect: This is the most expansive book of the list. No bias please, it doesn’t mean it’s the most valuable of all, keep reading. The book is organized as follows:
1) setting the stage,
2) planning user experience research,
3) conducting UXR,
4) analyzing UXR,
5) persuading people to take action on the results of UXR,
6) building a career in UXR.
The book also includes knowledge tests and real-life hands on examples of how to tailor the book content to your own organization and projects.
Interviewing users: How to uncover compelling insights by Steve Portigal
Page count: 177
What to expect: This book is very focused and detailed on the different stages of an interview process (before, during and after). It also includes tips on how to best conduct remote user research. Some of his great tips:
- interviewing people in their own environnement to grasp better insights and create less bias,
- the brain dump: a “transitional ritual of unburdening” to increase our open-mindedness before an interview,
- being a “hollow vessel” for insights to come.
Just enough research by Erika Hall (Second edition, 2019)
Page count: 186
What to expect: This is a revamp from the 2013 edition. The book is all about creating a culture of user centricity at your organization with great frameworks and tools to conduct ethical qualitative and quantitative research. She advocates not to over engineer ones research process in order to be able to make it more often and create more enthusiasm around it. Erika is also a great source of UX inspiration to follow on Twitter, LinkedIn or Medium.
Quantifying the user experience: Practical statistics for user research by James R. Lewis and Jeff Sauro
Page count: 312
What to expect: The book dives deep into the maths of measuring the difference between two designs and especially confidence intervals, statistical difference and sample size. It’s not an easy read but is a great support when analyzing your research results.
Handbook of usability testing: How to plan, design, and conduct effective tests by Dana Chisnell and Jeffrey Rubin
Page count: 384
What to expect: This book is a systemic step-by-step, very detailed guide. It defines:
- what makes an interface usable,
- what skills a test moderator should develop,
- when tests should be carried out,
- steps to create a test plan,
- setting up a testing environment,
- how to recruit and select testers (hi 😊),
- preparing test material,
- conducting the session and analyzing results.
A plus: a few pages on how to test with people with disabilities, with older adults and children. It is the most extensive book of our selection, definitely not a night stand book but rather a companion to pick in during your research.
Surveys that work: A practical guide for designing and running better surveys by Caroline Jarrett
Page count: 368
What to expect: The author details:
- how to define your goal for a survey,
- find your audience,
- get the best completion rates,
- how to write and test your questions, choose a survey tool,
- how to turn your results into insights,
- how they present these to stakeholders so that they will take action.
Continuous discovery habits: Discover products that create customer value and business value by Teresa Torres
Page count: 244
What to expect: This book has the best value per page count and explores one of the trendiest concept in the field of research. The author describes the concept as a light weight research method and identifies ways to create research habits through visualization, interviewing, mapping, prioritizing, ideating and testing.
Validating product ideas: Through lean user research by Tomer Sharon
Page count: 344
What to expect: This book has a very wide scope which explores concepts of human psychology and asks big questions like “What do people need?” and “Do people want the product”, then breaks them down into actionable steps to answer these questions by conducting research. The author sometimes puts himself in the shoes of users by writing excerpts of the book from their perspective which offers a fresh new view on the matter.
Measuring the user experience: Collecting, analyzing, and presenting UX metrics by Bill Albert and Tom Tullis
Page count: 377
What to expect: This book focuses on UX metrics and details which ones you should use and how for each type of test and item tested. It explains how to collect data and turn it into actionable metrics for various subjects such as eye tracking, measuring emotions or self-reported metrics. It also features great case studies with Netflix and Pwc.
Here is an extract of the summary which we thought was funny 😇
UX methods: A quick guide to user experience research methods by James Pannafino and Patrick McNeil
Page count: 122
What to expect: This is the cheapest and shortest book of the list. It features 50 different research methods and has a sketch for each one of them. If you struggle reading books, this might be a great pick.
While we don’t expect nor recommend buying all of these 10 books at once, maybe you could decide to buy the one that inspires you the most (or the cheapest, or the one with the best cover). Then place it on your desk and read one page every morning when you get to work.
If you are REALLY not in the mood to read a whole book, maybe you can read our guide to writing better screeners 😇