UI Design Reading List


This is a list of books that I have personally found useful when studying user interface design. Note that this list is compiled from the point of view of a computer scientist and software developer. As such these books did the best job for me in crossing the techie/design boundary.

Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook

by Saul Greenberg, Sheelagh Carpendale, Nicolai Marquardt and Bill Buxton

Sketching is a fundamental skill in design. There is a huge need to rapidly capture and communicate design ideas. This is a great book for technical people who are not necessarily skilled in drawing to be able to communicate their designs.

Presentation Zen

by Garr Reynolds

This is not really a book on user interfaces. It is a book on effective communication. The ideas in here are great and will go a long way to preventing "death by PowerPoint." If you want to communicate well with slides, read this book.

 Contextual Design

by Hugh Beyer and Karen Holtzblatt

This is a great book full of techniques for studying users in their current work environment. I really like this book and regularly teach from its contents. I has a little shading towards the social-science/ethnography perspective of "observe, don't change." The observation has great value and software people would benefit from doing more of it, but at the end of the day we want to change the world rather than just observe it.

Design-driven Innovation

by Roberto Verganti

With so much emphasis on iterative design based on what the users want. This book talks about how to find meaning in people's lives and fill that meaning with a great design. The idea is that great innovation comes when you create something people did not know that they wanted but love once they have it.

Designing Interactions

by Bill Moggridge

This is a collection of interviews and discussions with most of the really strong people in user interface design. There are a lot of nuggets in here and a lot of history of how modern user interfaces came to be.

The Innovator's Dilemma

By Clayton M. Christensen

This is not really a UI design book. It is a business book. However, it contains great insights as to how innovation can succeed. From my perspective UI design is all about innovation and changing the world. That is why I included this book.

 The Lean Startup

by Eric Ries

Again, this is a business book. However, its primary thesis is to get designs in front of actual customers (users) as early as possible and then iterate in the insight that experience offers. There are a lot of lessons for UI design here.