Book Recommendation for UX Designers

A few days ago a reader of my book “Web Fatale” wrote me, enthusiastically telling me that he read the whole book – from cover to cover. That alone is pretty impressive, not even my mom did that.

But he soaked it up – every single bit of it, and he wanted more. So he asked me if I had any further reading recommendations, especially for people who aspire to create usable and seductive websites. Digital products that you couldn’t resist. I never thought about it before, but I had – lots actually! And I want to share them.

So, in the tradition of High Fidelity, here’s my Top 5 books every UX Designer should have read:

Steve Krug - Don’t Make Me Think

When I started my job as a designer at Wooga, our CEO Jens made everyone in the company read this book. It’s a quick one, filled with a lot of very simple truths. Steve Krug manages to break down the essence of digital usability into something that is easy to relate, entertaining and memorable. I still consult the book, which has been reissued and updated a few times, every now and then. The best part: This is not only for designers but for everyone. Get a copy for your project manager, your developers, and your clients, too – they will thank you!

Stephen Anderson – Seductive Interaction Design

Stephen P Anderson’s book is one of the greatest inspirations for me. Filled with loads and loads of examples, it’s like an encyclopedia of digital experience and UX best practices. I read the book from 2009 on the beach of a Spanish island – it’s so hard to deal with all the inspiration when there is no computer near to execute on it. The downside of this book: Most of the examples feel a bit old and dated now in 2017 – nostalgic even. Anyway, that doesn’t make them less valuable.

Don Norman – The Design of Everyday Things

Don Norman is a cognitive scientist and usability engineer who tries to see the big picture. The book is a lot about doors and door handles – and as interesting as full of wisdom. You should read this if you want to take a deep-dive into how the human brain works when interacting with any kind of object - not only digital products.

Raph Koster – A Theory of Fun

I remember how I picked up Raph Koster’s book for the first time: I was waiting for a colleague to finish his work before we headed out for dinner. This took only 10 minutes, and in the meantime, I made through half the book. Although targetted towards game designers, A Theory of Fun is a must-read for everyone. The great part: The book is split in half, the left side explains the content through cartoony illustrations, while the right part is long-copy. This makes it not only fast to read, but also – fun.

Chris Anderson – FREE

Nobody understands the figures behind the modern internet better than Chris Anderson. The author of “The Long Tail” explains pricing models of the Freemium economy. Although the book seems a bit depressing at first sight, it is full of “Aha”-moments. If you ever wondered how companies like Dropbox can offer you free storage, read this!

All the above links are Amazon Affiliate links – I hope you don’t mind! I’m trying this for the first time, also with the premise of keeping this publication ad-free. Let’s see how that works.

I cannot close this article without mentioning my own book: If you want a good summary of what makes seductive web design great and seductive, you might wanna take a peek into Web Fatale:

Buy Web Fatale on Amazon

Any other books you would recommend? Drop me an email at to let me know!

Johannes Ippen
About the Author

Johannes Ippen is a designer from Berlin, passionate about French punk rock, really strong espresso and writing about design. Follow him on Twitter for more of design-related essays. Full bio →