UX Design Books, Blogs, and Podcasts: A 2021 Resource List

Keep up with the latest UX trends, learn something new, or get inspired with this list of UX resources.
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As a relatively new field, user experience design (UX design) is always growing and evolving. Whether you’re getting ready to launch a career or are already well established in the UI/UX design world, it’s important to keep up with industry trends, learn new techniques, and find inspiration for your work. 

The sheer number of resources out there can be overwhelming, so we’ve curated a list of books, blogs, and podcasts covering a range of UX topics. By taking advantage of these resources, you can:

  • Assess whether a career in UX would be a good fit

  • Familiarize yourself with the vocabulary of UI/UX

  • Get job advice and prepare talking points for an interview

  • Keep up with the latest UX industry trends

  • Learn new UX skills to advance your career

  • Find creative inspiration for your next project

We recommend that you bookmark this page so you can revisit regularly throughout your UX journey. 

UI/UX books

While the internet has loads of resources, there’s still something to love about picking up a book (or your e-reader). These eight selections represent a mix of classic UX texts as well as some newer books to help you build a foundation in user experience.

1. Universal Principles of Design

By William Lidwell, Jill Butler, and Kritina Holden

This easy-to-read reference book is packed with useful tips on how to design products and interact with clients. Each design concept includes a description and illustrated example of how it can be applied.

Simplicity is achieved when everyone can easily understand and use the design, regardless of experience, literacy, or concentration level.

- Universal Principles of Design

2. The Design of Everyday Things

By Don Norman

Don Norman coined the term “user experience” in the original 1988 version of this book. This primer was revised and expanded in 2013 to include updated examples of design principles in action. It’s practically considered essential reading in the industry.

Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.

- Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

3. Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

By Steve Krug

The third edition of Steve Krug ranks among the most-recommended books for web designers, developers, and anyone interested in web usability. The book covers the principles of navigation and information architecture in a way that’s funny and down to earth.

If you can’t make something self-evident, you at least need to make it self-explanatory.

- Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited

4. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

By Susan Weinschenk

Start applying psychology and behavior science to your UX design process with this book that addresses topics like how our brains process visual cues, the relationship between typography and pattern recognition, and why it might be a good news that people forget things.

People are very willing to click multiple times. In fact, they won’t even notice they’re clicking if they’re getting the right amount of information at each click to keep them going down the path.

- Susan Weinschenk, 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

5. Smashing UX Design

By Jesmond J. Allen and James J. Chudley

This UX reference manual from Smashing Magazine, a publication for web designers and developers, examines 16 common UX tools and techniques for web projects. You’ll also find guidance on how to plan UX projects, case studies of real world UX projects, and checklists to help you pair the right tools with the right jobs.

6. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

By Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal outlines the four-step process—trigger, action, variable reward, and investment—behind products that keep us coming back again and again. Pick this one up for tips on boosting user engagement and building the next habit-forming technology.

To change behavior, products must ensure the user feels in control. People must want to use the service, not feel they have to.

- Nir Eyal, Hooked

7. The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide

By Leah Buley

A good resource for those just getting started in UX, Buley’s guide offers an overview of the field, tips for how to advance both personally and professionally, and “If you only do one thing” sections at the end of each chapter to help you focus on what will make the biggest difference.

Many people make their way to user experience by crossing over from an adjacent field. These crossovers are the people who are carrying UX forward, taking it to new levels and new organizations.

- Leah Buley, The User Experience Team of One

8. About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design

By Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin, and Christopher Noessel

This guide to interaction design is now in its fourth edition with updated examples of how to design contemporary mobile platforms and consumer electronic interfaces with goal-directed design methodology. It serves as a primer for those just getting started in the field or a way to shore up the fundamentals for those already designing digital products.

Usability’s strength is in identifying problems, while design’s strength is in identifying solutions.

- About Face

UI/UX podcasts

Subscribe to these ten podcasts to take your UX/UI design learning with you wherever you go. Catch up on the latest trends during your morning jog, hear from some of the world’s top designers during your commute, or simply sit back and absorb some new tips and techniques.

1. User Defenders

This podcast is all about fighting for your users through good design practices. UX designer Jason Ogle interviews guests on a wide range of topics, from learning to love synthesizing data to overcoming imposter syndrome. 

Recommended episode: “Everyone's a UX Designer with Jared Spoo‪l‬”

2. UXPodcast

This twice-monthly podcast hosted by Per Axbom and James Royal-Lawson features compelling conversations with thought leaders both within the realm of user experience and beyond. And it’s not just for UXers but anyone interested in the digital world.

 Recommended episode: “Storytelling in design with Anna Dahlström”

3. What is wrong with UX?

In this podcast from Users Know, listen to Kate Rutter and Laura Klein discuss UX, tech, and cocktails—each episode features a drink pairing. It’ll make you laugh, but it’ll also dish up industry insights for both beginners and experienced designers.

Recommended episode: “Why Do You Believe That?”

4. Design Details

Brian Lovin and Marshall Bock lead a series of conversations covering a huge range of topics, including portfolio review tips, scope creep, shipping personal projects, and talking to users. Learn about how other designers got started and glean practical tidbits you can put into practice with your own work.

Recommended episode: “Overcoming Skill Gaps”

5. ShopTalk Show

In this weekly podcast about building websites, Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier discuss topics like cognitive bias in design, digital minimalism, and where to find inspiration. It’s an excellent resource for any web UX designer or frontend developer looking to level-up their skills.

Recommended episode: “Pandemic Purchases, Video on the Web, Convoluted Processes, and Javascript Debounce”

6. 99% Invisible

This narrative podcast hosted by Roman Mars focuses on all those things we don’t usually think about—the little design details in architecture, objects, and technology. It’s an interesting listen even if you know nothing about design. If you are interested how design impacts UX, this might help you build your design thinking.

Recommended episode: “Unpleasant Design & Hostile Urban Architecture”

7. Wireframe

Wireframe, hosted by Khoi Vinh, discusses the stories behind UX design for both designers and the “design curious.” It’s also timely, with episodes covering how COVID-19 is changing design thinking, what makes elections so difficult to design well, and the roles of privacy and trust in good design.

Recommended episode: “Falling in Love with Good Design”

8. UI Breakfast

Jane Portman, a UI/UX consultant specializing in software as a service (SaaS), hosts this interview-style podcast about everything UI/UX—design, products, marketing, and practical advice for advancing your career.

Recommended episode: “Staying Focused with Nir Eyal”

9. UXpod

Australian UX consultant Gerry Gaffney has been hosting UXpod since 2006, making it one of the longest-running UX podcasts out there. This no-frills production offers bite-sized looks at UX concepts like UX writing, UX research, designing meetings, and the ethics of AI.

Recommended episode: “Product Research Rules: An interview with Aras Bilgen and C Todd Lombardo”

10. Writers in Tech

UX writers, content designers, and content strategists dish on their best industry secrets during this monthly podcast. Think advice on how to land new freelance clients (and charge more for your work), design content strategies, and develop your own UX brand.

Recommended episode: “Peanut Butter Tricks for Freelance Writers”

UX design blogs to follow

Following some top UX design blogs is yet another way to keep on top of what’s happening in the industry while picking up some new tips and tricks. These nine are a good place to start.

1. Nielsen Norman Group

The Nielsen Norman Group was founded in part by Don Norman, the man who coined the term “user experience.” It’s no surprise then that this website has a rich collection of blog posts and videos geared toward both aspiring and practicing UX professionals. 

Recommended post: 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design

2. UXmatters

UXmatters covers a little bit of everything UX on their blog, from advice on best practices to loftier thought pieces. You’ll find tips for everyone, from those just starting out to advanced designers, making this an excellent blog to bookmark throughout your career.

Recommended post: Strengths and Weaknesses of Quantitative and Qualitative Research

3. UX Booth

UX Booth describes itself as a publication for beginning-to-intermediate UX and interaction designers. Posts are divided into several different categories, like visual design, research, information architecture, interaction design, and content strategy.

Recommended post: What will UX be like in 2021?

4. UX Magazine

If your main objective is keeping up with the latest news and trends in the world of UX, then UX Magazine is a good place to start. Recent topics include human interaction in the age of big tech, protecting health on public transit, and how AI impacts accessibility.

Recommended post: Designing with Emotion Means Being Brave

5. UX Movement

Head over to UX Movement to see examples of user-centric website and mobile app design in practice. This hyper-practical blog focuses more on the nitty gritty of design work rather than high level concepts or career advice (though there is some of that, too).

Recommended post: Why Users Fill Out Forms Faster with Top Aligned Labels

6. UsabilityGeek

UsabilityGeek bills itself as “your one-stop resource for usability and UX design.” Expect to find case studies, design tools and software reviews, usability guides, and thought pieces on industry trends.

Recommended post: 6 Laws Of Psychology For Good UX Design

7. XD Ideas

Adobe’s XD Ideas covers a range of UX topics in a colorful and visually pleasing way. The content is grouped into three main categories. Process covers tips and tricks, Principles is all about foundational knowledge and emerging trends, and Perspectives features insights from thought leaders.

Recommended post: 5 Common Career Paths in UX Design

8. Inside Design

Inside Design, the blog from digital product design platform InVision, is an excellent resource for keeping up with the latest design trends, tools, resources, and events. There’s even an entire section dedicated to advice for working remotely in UX.

Recommended post: The best design and UX conferences to attend in 2021

9. Muzli Magazine

Muzli Magazine features case studies from a variety of design professionals, as well as roundups of inspirational designs, design resources and tools, and the latest trends. If you’re feeling creatively stuck, Muzli might just get you moving again.

Recommended post: How to Improve Design Skills by Viewing the Best Works

Get started with Coursera

If you’re considering a career in UX, build the skills you need for an entry-level job in less than six months with the Google UX Design Professional Certificate on Coursera. You don’t need any previous experience or a degree. Get started with a seven-day free trial.

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