Looking for some expert techniques to give you an edge in UX design? We’ve rounded up a selection of our favorite e-books from the Web that you can download right now for free.
1. The Psychology of Web UI Design Bundle – UXPin
The Psychology of Web UI Design Bundle collects the three volumes of the popular Web UI Design for the Human Eye series, which explains how the eye processes information, and how to apply this science to UI design.
- Volume 1 talks about devising the perfect visual hierarchy for your project, implementing color according to the desired emotional response, and using the classic Gestalt principles of optical illusions.
- Volume 2 goes a step further, with documented human sight patterns (and how to encourage them with the F- and Z-patterns), the effects of certain typographical choices, and organizing your overall layout.
- Volume 3 focuses exclusively on visual consistency, and how human sight reacts to patterns and breaking patterns.
2. UX Storytellers: Connecting the Dots – UX Storytellers
Deviating from a typical “textbook” format, UX Storytellers by designer Jan Jursa instead collects the real-life stories and advice from 42 UX experts and their experience in the field. Considered a classic among UX e-books, most UX professionals will be able to relate to and learn from these timeless stories, with practical techniques alongside a human element.
This collection of quick-read excerpts means you can pick up and put down this book virtually anywhere and anytime, whenever you need a fresh perspective or a burst of inspiration — which is great, since the book totals 586 pages.
3. Learn from Great Design – Tom Kenny
Tom Kenny’s Learn from Great Design also goes against the traditional e-book formats.
Kenny’s blog Inspect Element deconstructs sites and analyzes their strengths and weaknesses page-by-page. Readers are able to see through screenshots, the right and wrong methods for UX design and why. Moreover, Kenny compares mobile and desktop sites, presenting a complete picture of a single site across all devices.
His e-book is simply a collection of three of these single-site explanations, a free sample of a longer paid work. But if you’re the type that learns better through seeing than doing, this is the book for you.
4. 50 User Experience Best Practices – Above the Fold
Another classic UX e-book, 50 User Experience Best Practices has survived longer than the design agency that wrote it (above the fold). Nevertheless, the 50 tips in this e-book are clever, easy-to-understand, and above all, useful.
Spanning all aspects of UX design from user research to content strategy, this guidebook uses creative visuals and scientific backing to teach 50 practical best practices to UX professionals new and old. The 50 techniques are even broken up into categories for faster browsing.
5. The UX Reader – MailChimp UX
From a trustworthy name in web design, The UX Reader offers the firsthand written advice from the MailChimp staff themselves. Spanning the basics, this all-inclusive guide is the perfect introduction into the world of UX, but it technical enough for even UX veterans to learn something new.
This e-book is actually a series of articles written by different members of MailChimp’s UX team, so you have an array of different perspectives. The articles are divided into five categories (Collaboration, Research, Design, Development, and Refinement), so you can pick and choose the tips most beneficial for you.
6. The Practical Interaction Design Bundle – UXPin
This bundle collects 3 ebooks in one download.
The Practical Interaction Design Ebook Bundle is a crash course on interaction design techniques and examples. The entire collection covers 340 pages of best practices and draws from over 60 real-life examples.
- Mastering the Tangibles (visuals, words, and space) covers topics like how to use signifiers and affordances, and how to make interactions feel like real conversations.
- Mastering the Intangibles (time, responsiveness, and behavior) draws on user research data to show how to design a system in sync with your users’ natural responses, including proper time limits and behavioral hooks.
- Consistency in UI Design explains how to increase learnability and decrease friction.
7. Inbound Marketing’s Most Wanted: 33 Website Design Crimes to Avoid at All Cost – SmartBug Media
A newer entry on this list, Inbound Marketing’s Most Wanted lists 33 common mistakes web designers make when trying to attract new business, and the correct strategies to use instead. This book is great for pointing out the myths of “good design” that you might be doing right now.
The 33 mistakes are broken up into planning, execution, and post-launch, but are more narrowly organized by home pages, internal pages, and landing pages. Don’t make this mistake of thinking your designs are beyond a book like this — one of these 33 design mistakes could be a wake-up call for you.
8. Web Design is Dead – Ben Hunt
With his controversial title Web Design Is Dead, Ben Hunt takes an extreme look at the ever-changing industry of web design, but makes some solid observations. This e-book brings to light the tired and outdated web design techniques that have become obsolete in today’s landscape.
Even if you disagree with the title, you can still take from this book some practical advice for staying ahead of the curve.
9. The Definitive 2016 UX Design Trends Bundle – UXPin
At more than 350 pages, this ebook bundle thoroughly explains the most important trends for 2016, covering mobile, web, and UX design, with over 300 real examples of the trends done right.
Not only does it explain how to apply the trends, it also explains how the trends are likely to evolve in the future.
What’s your favorite free design resource? Help us make a more completed list by adding your suggestions in the comments below.
Jerry Cao is a UX content strategist at UXPin — the wireframing and prototyping app. To learn more about how to create visually digestible interfaces, download the free e-book Web UI Design for the Human Eye: Colors, Space, Contrast.
Could I add ours to the list to?
It’s specifically on online form design and best practices.
Thanks for putting this list together. I am a developer trying to get a little better at design and these will be a big help.
That’s great to hear, Russell. Keep us updated on how things progress for you!