May 1, 2024
UI/UX Inspiration

Must-Read Books for UI/UX Design Principles in 2024

It is essential to be familiar with the main UI/UX design principles. We have compiled a list of 15 must-read books on this subject just for you!
Cristi Fonea
May 1, 2024
Must-Read Books for UI/UX Design Principles in 2024

Knowing the fundamental principles of design of UI/UX is essential for any aspiring UI/UX designer. How can we gather that knowledge?

Let’s face it – we live in a world in which we’re one click away from all the information we need. Just a quick Google search, and we’re good to go, right? But all those articles, tutorials, YouTube videos, forums, and so much more information we can find online can become overwhelming. So there’s something special about reading perfectly crafted books written by industry experts. 

Books have this amazing power to take us anywhere. They can educate us, inspire us, and they can even change our lives as a whole. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I felt so motivated and I was booming with creativity. Color theory, typography, design patterns, and everything you want to know about UI UX design.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of our favorite UI UX design books because we don’t want you to underestimate the power of a good read.

Best Books on UI/UX Principles of Design

1. About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper

If you’re a designer, think of Alan Cooper’s book as the Bible of Interaction Design. Websites, mobile apps, software products – here is where you learn about the design of all these user-centric interfaces. He defined the key concepts of designing for intermediates, goal-directed design, and person development. 

Indeed, the book is pretty thick (720 pages). And academic. So, be prepared! But it tackles information regarding user interface design like no other book. Sure, design trends come and go, but the design principles presented in this book remain unchanged to this day. Personas, prototyping, and so on, the book touches upon these fundamentals of understanding users and teaches us how to design user-centered products.

There’s no denying that it’s a book that should be on every designer's must-read list. And even if you don’t read it back to back, you can always go back to certain chapters when you want to find something. In fact, there were a lot of “aha” moments that made me look at UI design and UX design differently. For some, this book might have even prevented them from wasting time on errors and correcting design mistakes. 

“Interaction design isn’t merely a matter of aesthetic choice; rather, it is based on an understanding of users and cognitive principles” – Alan Cooper in About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design.

2. The Principles of Beautiful Web Design by Jason Beaird

Funnily enough, the entire title is “The Principles of Beautiful Web Design: Designing Great Web Sites is Not Rocket Science!”. And it’s true! This book is a great introduction to those who are just starting out their careers in the design field. It covers all the essentials needed to start: sketching, visual design, color scheme, fonts, and so on. 

But don’t worry! It’s not some boring encyclopedia. In fact, it’s filled with examples, illustrations, and case studies that help you look from an aesthetic perspective rather than a technical one. Indeed, experienced designers will see this as common sense as it is a basic guide to designing. But what’s great about this book is that it explains in a personal manner the principles of building an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly website. But experienced UI/UX designers might make use of this book as well as it can be useful simply for inspiration!

“Great UI design is often about drawing attention to just the right thing at just the right time.” – Jason Beaird in The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

3. Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

Steve Krug’s book is a classic and should be on every UI UX designer’s everyone’s must-read lists. In fact, it has even become the most popular introduction to User Experience. And for a good reason! It’s a guide for simplicity that helps UI/UX designers remember the simple things. After all, even the name suggests it – Don’t Make Me Think. But although web usability is not necessarily the most interesting aspect of the design process, Steve Krug is able to make this topic genuinely entertaining – and funny! 

It contains various usability principles about how we interact with websites and provides us with practical advice on how to design better user interfaces. You will understand the rules of intuitive navigation, why our users leave websites, and how to make our platforms accessible to everyone. And you will love how many well-explained examples it had. 

The truth is that it has become so popular for the simple reason that it goes beyond just a set of rules. It’s a mindset shift. A shift that makes UI/UX designers remember to always design with their users in mind. 

“If something requires a large investment of time—or looks like it will—it’s less likely to be used.” – Steve Krug in Don’t Make Me Think.

4. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz

“Sprint” is a step-by-step guide for rapid prototyping and testing your new product ideas. If you want to get started as a product designer, or maybe you just want to improve your product design strategy, “Sprint” is perfect for you. We know that when you’re at the beginning of your career, you want to assimilate as much information as possible in a short period of time. At the same time, we know that you’re also wondering if you’re moving fast enough. The three design partners from Google Venture know that as well. So, they created a guide that’s easy to understand and even quicker to read about how to create successful product designs. 

While at Google, Jake Knapp designed a problem-solving method called “design sprint”. It’s a five-day program about how to organize your time in order to get a better sense of direction and finish a project without overthinking. In other words, it takes the fundamental design principles of lean methodology and puts them into a realistic and pragmatic framework. 

And if you do decide to read it, make sure to talk about it if you have an interview. You won’t believe how impressed your interviewer will be. And who knows, maybe they will even give you the lead to perform a 5-day sprint that will change how their company works. 

“Each person believed his or her own idea could work. And each person could have spent an hour explaining why. But if we had to spend an hour discussing each idea, the whole day could have gone by without any clear conclusion.” Sprint. 

5. Laws of UX: Using Psychology to Design Better Products & Services by Jon Yablonski

UI/UX design and the psychology of customer behavior are inseparable. You can’t design a platform if you don’t know how our users could interact with it. Although it’s not really a design skill, it is one of the most valuable skills a UI/UX designer can have. Jon Yablonski explains how psychology can be applied to creating products that are intuitive and more user-centered. 

The difference between a UI/UX design and a good UI/UX design is exactly this. The ability to anticipate how users will think, react, and engage. A good design doesn’t just look aesthetically pleasing. It understands our cognitive biases and emotional triggers that make us want to buy the product. And by reading “Laws of UX”, you will find out exactly how to do that. 

We know that psychology and user behavior are hard to comprehend. But don’t worry! Jon Yablonski’s writing style is easy and clear, making it accessible to everyone – whether you are a UI/UX designer expert or just at the beginning of your career. 

“Peak-End Rule: People judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its peak and at its end, rather than the total sum or average of every moment of the user experience.” – Jon Yablonki, Laws of UX.

Here is a curated list of even more books for UI/UX design fundamentals:

  1. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan M. Weinschenk
  2. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
  3. Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design by Jenifer Tidwell
  4. UX for Beginners: A Crash Course in 100 Short Lessons by Joel Marsh
  5. Hello Web Design: Design Fundamentals and Shortcuts for Non-Designers by Tracy Osborn
  6. The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web by Jesse James Garrett
  7. A Project Guide to UX Design: For User Experience Designers in the Field or in the Making by Carolyn Chandler and Russ Unger
  8. Evil by Design: Interaction Design to Lead Us into Temptation by Chris Nodder
  9. The Best Interface Is No Interface: The Simple Path to Brilliant Technology (Voices That Matter) by Golden Krishna
  10. The Art of Color by Johannes Itten

uinkits – Our Figma Design System and UI Kits

We at uinkits understand the importance of inputs in great user experiences and creating amazing UI designs. That’s why we’ve developed a Figma UI Kit with design components that include these essential UI elements that enable you to design intuitive and user-friendly interfaces effortlessly.  

“You press the button, we do the rest,” – Kodak.

Inspired by this iconic tagline from Kodak, we believe in simplifying the design process for you. Our Figma UI Kit, uinkits, is a complete design system with UI components that allows you, as a UI UX designer, to create your products as quickly as pressing a button.

Our design system includes components, icons, variables, cards, buttons, and everything you need for your design process. All you have to do is take your UI design component needed, and you’re ready to use it in your designs!

Cristi Fonea
May 1, 2024

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