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Best UX Research Books (According to Our Survey)
User Research

Published on January 11, 2024

Best UX Research Books (According to Our Survey)

We surveyed the UX communities for UX research books recommendations and here are the results. Explore our list of the top 15 user research books for 2024. Find your next read!

To keep your knowledge up to date in 2024, check out these top 10 UX research books, authored by experts and colleagues. We think you might like them!

Table of contents

Recommended UX Research Books

Here are the books that resonated the most with our user research community. This compilation provides a blend of educational, engaging and thought-provoking content, perfect for user researchers looking to expand their knowledge and skills.

  1. Handbook of Usability Testing
  2. Interviewing Users
  3. Think Like a UX Researcher
  4. Just Enough Research
  5. User Research
  6. The User Experience Team of One
  7. Thinking, Fast and Slow 
  8. Quantifying the User Experience
  9. User Experience Revolution
  10. Usable Usability

🐝 Note: Each book in our list has been given a normalized score out of 10, simplifying the process of comparison and selection for you. This scoring system is based on our survey of the UX community. You can learn more about the survey and its methodology here.

Top rated and most widely known books

We’ve compiled a brief summary featuring the top five “most recommended books” from our survey. Plus, we’ve added a “best known books” section, showcasing titles that were widely recognized by user researchers in our survey.

Top rated UX research books and most widely known books according to UXtweak survey.

Books by Expertise

In this section, we’ve categorized the book recommendations according to the years of experience our survey respondents have. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in the field for a while, we’ve selected three books for each experience category, recommended by people with similar expertise. These books are chosen to help you grow your skills and improve in your profession.

Top 3 recommended user research books by expertise

🐝 Tip: Interested in furthering your education in the UX field and already finished reading all the books? Consider attending conferences or workshops to expand your knowledge. Check out our article, “Best UX Conferences in 2024,” and register for an event today.

Recommended Book Selection

#1 Handbook of Usability Testing

Handbook-of-Usability-Testing

Source: Amazon

Score: 10/10

Authors: Jeffrey Rubin and Dana Chisnell

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

How many people in the survey knew this book? 50%

What is this book about?

Whether it’s software, technical documentation, a cell phone, or a refrigerator, your customers expect ease of use. This thoroughly updated handbook provides clear, step-by-step guidelines for usability testing, incorporating industry best practices and real-life examples. Learn to recognize usability limitations, select the right testing environment, create effective test plans, and more. Discover user-centered design principles, and take advantage of valuable tools like templates and case studies.

#2 Interviewing Users

Interviewing Users (2nd Edition)

Source: Rosenfeld Media

Score: 9.89/10

Author: Steve Portigal

Where can I buy this book? Rosenfeld Media

How many people in the survey knew this book? 72%

What is this book about?

Master user interviews with Steve Portigal’s updated classic, “Interviewing Users.” This book guides you through the process, from setting goals to effective techniques. Learn remote interviewing, handle biases, and ensure impactful research. Whether you’re a CEO, designer, marketer, or interviewer, this book is essential for understanding user needs and creating successful products.

Did you know?👀

We recently had a chat with Steve Portigal on our UX Research Geeks podcast?

Plus, we’ve got a surprise for you:

In collaboration with Steve Portigal and Rosenfeld Media, we’re offering our listeners a 20% discount on Interviewing Users (2nd Edition). Use the code UXRGEEKS at checkout to claim your discount, valid until December 29, 2023. Don’t miss this opportunity to treat yourself this Christmas!

#3 Think Like a UX Researcher

Think Like a UX Researcher

Source: Amazon

Score: 9.64/10

Authors: David Travis & Philip Hodgson

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

How many people in the survey knew this book? 67%

What is this book about?

“Think Like a UX Researcher” challenges conventional UX research thinking. It guides you in planning, conducting, and applying UX research effectively. This book offers practical advice, exercises, and real-world examples to enhance your UX skills. Whether you’re a UX Researcher, Designer, Project Manager, Scrum Master, Business Analyst, or Marketing Manager, it provides valuable insights to elevate your approach and career in UX research.

#4 Just Enough Research

Just Enough Research

Source: Amazon

Score: 8.90/10

Author: Erika Hall

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

How many people in the survey knew this book? 72%

What is this book about?

Design research isn’t a lengthy process — it’s about asking better questions and evaluating answers. In “Just Enough Research,” Erika Hall, co-founder of Mule Design, offers a concise guide to research methods. Learn to identify competitive advantages, recognize biases, and leverage findings. You’ll be conducting effective research quickly. Erika Hall, with a background in web design, co-founded Mule Design Studio in 2001, specializing in research, interaction design, and strategy. She’s a frequent speaker and writer on collaboration and user interface language, and she co-hosts the podcast “Running from the Law.”

#5 User Research

User Research Stephanie Marsh

Source: Amazon

Score: 7.71/10

Author: Stephanie Marsh

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

How many people in the survey knew this book? 28%

What is this book about?

Many businesses overlook the end user in their planning and development processes, but “User Research” aims to change that. This book explores user experience research (UX research), focusing on understanding user behaviors, needs, and motivations through various techniques. Written by a leading UK UX research professional, it covers key research methods and provides compelling insights into data interpretation.

#6 The User Experience Team of One

The User Experience Team of One

Source: Rosenfeld Media

Score: 6.43/10

Author: Leah Buley

Where can I buy this book? Rosenfeld Media

How many people in the survey knew this book? 56%

What is this book about?

In today’s fast-paced world of product and web development, projects are often short-staffed. When you’re the lone designer, success depends on knowing how to prioritize and make the most of your resources. “The User Experience Team of One” provides practical insights to help you excel and achieve more with less.

#7 Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Source: Amazon

Score: 6.00/10

Author: Daniel Kahneman

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

How many people in the survey knew this book? 83%

What is this book about?

In the mega bestseller “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman explores the two systems that drive our thinking: System 1, which is fast and intuitive, and System 2, which is slower and more logical. Recognized by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, this book delves into topics like overconfidence, cognitive biases, and decision-making in both personal and business contexts. It’s a contemporary classic that has had a profound impact on readers worldwide.

#8 Quantifying the User Experience

Quantifying the User Experience

Source: Amazon

Score: 5.84/10

Authors: Jeff Sauro and James R. Lewis

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

How many people in the survey knew this book? 61%

What is this book about?

Quantifying the User Experience is a practical guide for using statistics in user research. It provides solutions for common quantitative challenges, including usability assessment and task success rates. The book covers statistical theory, Excel formulas, and web calculators for data analysis, making it a valuable resource for researchers.

#9 User Experience Revolution

User Experience Revolution

Source: Amazon

Score: 3.21/10

Author: Paul Boag

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

How many people in the survey knew this book? 22%

What is this book about?

Are you the advocate for user experience in your company? This eBook is for passionate individuals, regardless of their role, who want to champion user-centric approaches within their organization. It provides guidance on how to promote the benefits of user experience design, create customer experience advocates, gain managerial support, and transform the organizational culture.

#10 Usable Usability

Usable Usability

Source: Amazon

Score: 1.84/10

Author: Eric Reiss

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

How many people in the survey knew this book? 39%

What is this book about?

Uncover the guide to identifying and fixing usability issues. This book, authored by UX expert Eric Reiss, provides practical advice to improve user experiences. With examples and checklists, it helps you enhance product functionality, clarity, and overall quality.

🐝 Tip: Do you want to enter the world of UX, but don’t know where to start? Read our article The Best UX design resources in which you will find the answer to this and other important questions.

More worthwhile reads for UX researchers

Looking for more valuable reads as a UX researcher? Discover five recommended books by fellow UX researchers that offer valuable perspectives and knowledge in the field.

1. Customers Know You Suck

Customers Know You Suck

Source: Amazon

Author: Debbie Levitt

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

What is this book about?

“Customers Know You Suck” is your guide to customer-centric product-market fit, offering actionable strategies to improve CX, boost satisfaction, and increase revenue. Suitable for CX, UX, and Design experts, Business Analysts, Managers, Lean and Agile practitioners, Marketing and Sales professionals, and Strategists at mid-level and above in their careers.

Check out our UXR Geeks podcast to learn more about Debie

In the fourth episode of ‘UX Research Geeks,’ we’re joined by Debbie Levitt, a highly experienced researcher, designer, UX strategist and mentor. Debbie shares her perspective on the current state of UX/CX and its relationship with business management. Join us for this discussion on the world of UX research and its impact on business.

2. A practical guide to usability testing

A practical guide to usability testing

Source: Amazon

Authors: Joseph S. Dumas, Janice C. Redish

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

What is this book about?

In this book, the authors define usability, explain usability engineering methods, and explore techniques for assessing usability during product development. They guide readers through the planning and execution of usability tests, data analysis, and using results for product improvement. The book is easy to understand and includes examples from various products and tests, covering a range of testing options. It also discusses usability laboratories and necessary skills for conducting tests. Forms for conducting usability tests and lab layouts are provided to assist readers.

3. It’s Our Research: Getting Stakeholder Buy-in for User Experience Research Projects

It’s Our Research: Getting Stakeholder Buy-in for User Experience Research Projects

Source: Amazon

Author: Tomer Sharon

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

What is this book about?

Getting Stakeholder Buy-in for User Experience Research Projects provides practical strategies for gaining stakeholder support in UX research. The book covers key stages, including understanding stakeholder roles, identifying research opportunities, planning research, and improving communication of results. It’s a valuable resource for UX professionals, offering insights and techniques for successful UX research projects.

4. Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems

Rocket Surgery Made Easy

Source: Amazon

Author: Steve Krug

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

What is this book about?

“Rocket Surgery Made Easy” offers a cost-effective approach to usability testing. Steve Krug, the author of “Don’t Make Me Think,” provides a streamlined method for testing web designs and applications. With practical advice, illustrations, and humor, he explains how to test any design, prioritize critical issues, and implement fixes efficiently. This book simplifies usability testing, making it accessible for teams to test early and address problems before they become complex. It also includes demonstration videos to enhance the learning experience.

5. Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research

Observing the User Experience

Source: Amazon

Authors: Elizabeth Goodman Ph.D. and Mike Kuniavsky

Where can I buy this book? Amazon

What is this book about?

“Observing the User Experience” bridges the gap between designers, developers, and users. This book provides practical insights and 13 user experience research techniques to help you understand your users’ needs and create better products, whether web, software, or mobile-based. It’s a valuable resource for designers, developers, and project managers, offering tools and confidence to perform user research effectively. The second edition covers new topics like observational research, mobile usability, and cross-cultural projects, making it relevant in today’s evolving landscape of user research.

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About our “Best UX research books” survey

What was the process behind our survey? We started by selecting books from various articles that recommended reading for researchers. This formed a shortlist that our respondents could assess. They had options to mark each book as ‘Not familiar’, ‘Would recommend’, ‘Indifferent’, or ‘Would not recommend’. Once the survey concluded, we analyzed these responses to draw our conclusions.

How our rating methodology works?

  1. In our approach to rating the books, we started by calculating the percentages of respondents who had either recommended it, expressed indifference to it, or not recommended it, disregarding the respondents who selected the “not familiar with” option.
  2. We then determined a net recommendation score for each book by subtracting the percentage of non-recommendations from the percentage of recommendations.
  3. This score effectively captures the overall sentiment toward each book, taking into account both positive and negative opinions.
  4. To make an easier comparison across the books, we normalized these net recommendation scores to a scale ranging from 0 to 10. The highest-ranked book was assigned a score of 10, and the scores for the other books were adjusted proportionally.
  5. This normalization process helps us present a clear, quantifiable, and easy-to-understand rating for each book, reflecting its relative standing among the survey respondents.

We believe this method provides a balanced view of the respondents’ preferences.

Where do our survey respondents come from?

We’re thrilled to report that 327 individuals from more than 40 countries chose to participate in our survey! A detailed look shows 48.8% were from the North America, followed by 36% from Europe, then 9.3% from Asia, 3.5% from South America, 1.4% from Africa and 0.8% from Australia and Oceania. The participants were from countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands, Canada, Argentina, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, among others. It’s fantastic to see such wide and diverse involvement! 😊

Where-do-our-respondents-come-from

How much experience in UX field do our respondents have?

The background of UX researchers is informative, especially when considering their book recommendations. Knowing their level of experience helps us understand the expertise influencing their choices. Looking at the results of our study, we see that approximately half of the respondents have between 2 to 5 years of experience in UX.

How-much-experience-do-our-respondents-have

🐝 Tip: Do you want to get in touch with people from the UX community but don’t know where to look? See our article Best 30 UX Communities and Groups to Join!

Jana Filusova
January 11, 2024
All author's articles

Jana Filusova, our Marketing Executive at UXtweak, brings a scientific approach, analytical skills, and a business background to her role. She is responsible for running our podcast "UX Researcher Geeks" and content creation. Jana's academic background is in Molecular Biology and Genetics, and she spent three years as a researcher at the Czech Academy of Sciences. After completing her Master's studies, she shifted from the world of science to the field of Business Management and began working for UXtweak.

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