Top 10 Books about UI Design

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In the past, we’ve covered some killer UI training courses, interesting UI training tips, and some necessary UI resources. But, today, let’s turn towards one of the oldest (and still best) forms of learning — books.

Here are the 10 UI books that you definitely need to read before you die.

#1 Evil by Design by Chris Nodder

This book is all about dark psychology and design. Many UI books talk about the psychology of UI design. But not many offer insight into the darker aspects of the human psyche. While we don’t encourage manipulation, it’s worth reading this book for three reasons:

  1. It’s a fresh and interesting take on design psychology.
  2. Understanding how psychology can be used for evil can help designers avoid these techniques.
  3. The author covers the entire design spectrum.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • Using social proof to help position your products and services
  • Reinforcing behaviors
  • Leveraging the 7 deadly sins to explain UI psychology

#2 Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell

There’s a common misconception in modern UI design that everything has to be “disruptive.” But this classic from 2005 is a must-read. Sure, minimalist user interfaces and flashy UIs have become the norm since this book first hit the shelves. Don’t let that fool you. The rules of the game haven’t changed. UI design is still about usability, looks, and interface behavior.


And this book breaks those three core pillars down eloquently.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • Easy solutions to common design problems
  • How to design user-friendly interfaces
  • Designing with looks in mind
  • And leveraging usability as a core component of UI design

#3 The Best Interface Is No Interface by Golden Krishna

This book sits somewhere between outright criticism of modern UI design and a love affair for all things tech-related. Sure, the author gets a little preachy about the current state of tech (which can be an easy target). But, packed into all of the witty jokes and philosophical content are some really useful UI tips.

This is something you should read with an open mind. And, you have to be willing to think outside the box and approach the core lesson of this book with a little hesitation. It’s not perfect. But, it can help you rethink your UI designs.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • The overuse of UI
  • How tech is growing out-of-control
  • Why you should rethink interfaces

#4 UI is Communication by Everett N McKay

The core principle of this book is this — your UI is the tool you use to connect users with technology, and those users are emotional.

That premise may sound simple. But, there’s a ton of information baked into that one sentence. 378 pages worth to be exact.

UI is Communication covers the core principles of UI design. It’s all about the basics. And it’s done well.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • Building UIs that connect with people on an emotional level
  • Utilizing a communication-based design strategy
  • Practical information on UI design

#5 The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems by Jef Raskin

The late Jef Raskin was a UI guru. He’s the one who started the Mac project at Apple back in the 70s. So, it’s safe to say that he knew design. And, more than anything, he knew usability.

He asks some pretty hard-hitting questions in this book. Why do you need to double click? Why isn’t UI design universal? These are just a few of those questions that tap into the spirit of design.

We heavily recommend this book. Even if you don’t feel like the content is what you’re looking for, getting a glimpse behind one of the most celebrated UI designers of all time is a treat.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • Cognitive psychology applied to design
  • Understanding ease-of-use at scale
  • Mastering the art of universal design

#6 The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

This book isn’t strictly geared towards UI design, but it might as well be. Donald Norman sets out to question a fascinating premise. Why are everyday things so complicated? We’ve all had trouble getting the small stuff to work. Where is the button on that coffee machine? How do you turn on your stove?

This book dives deep into usability and ease-of-use. And, it’s another book that really focuses on satisfying the end user through design — not using design to “show off” your skillset.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • The importance of ease-of-use
  • How everyday objects can help you create better projects
  • Why some products satisfy why others infuriate

#7 Save the Pixel by Ben Hunt

There are two great things about this book.

  1. It focuses solely on minimalist design
  2. It’s free!

Sure, minimalism is trendy. But it also works. It reduces clutter, highlights important elements, and makes browsing a cinch. This book will help you learn how to use it to create killer user interfaces.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • All things minimalist UI design

#8 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk

Everything so far has been pretty broad. Do you want something more granular? 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People is all about the small, but critical details.

Things like font choice, text size, nav bar layout, conversion rates, and attention all have a place in this book.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • Over 100 hyper-important tips for UI design

#9 Seduction Interaction Design by Stephen P Anderson

Creating a beautiful UI is one thing, but getting people to consistently use it is a whole different animal. That’s where Stephen Anderson’s Seduction Interaction book comes in. This books is about keeping people engaged.

With lots of information about micro-interactions, learning theories, game design, and other elements that go into creating fluid UIs — this book should end up on any UI designer’s bookshelf.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • Subtle techniques to influence user behaviors
  • Creating small, engaging moments
  • Increasing time spent on UI
  • How to find a medium between visuals and usability

#10 Simple and Usable Web, Mobile, and Interaction Design by Giles Colborne

This book is, well, simple. It’s all about using UI as a tool of simplicity AND design. But, don’t mistake it for minimalism. The book doesn’t adhere to any specific design guidelines. Instead, it just explains the importance of keeping things simple for the end user — which doesn’t always mean less UI.

Topics covered in this book include:

  • Using simplicity to drive conversions
  • How simplicity plays a role in UI

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Do you need a workshop focused on UI design and understanding users’ motivations? Email us at