UX Design Resources Guide

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The following is an always updated and personally curated list of recommended tools, articles, services, products and resources used through a product UX design lifecycle and beyond. Have a suggestion or recommendation? Contact UX How if you would like to be considered.

Top UX Reference Books

How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody – Abby Covert

This gem is an instant classic and introduction to IA (Information Architecture) from Abby Covert who “wrote this book for anyone making anything”. Get the best primer out there and be able to explain IA to partners, colleagues and parents alike.

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability – Steve Krug

First edition of this book was standard issue at my first in-house design team and it still is in my book. Even the chapter titles are timeless lessons: “How we really use the web” and “Omit needless words”

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art – Scott McCloud

Yes, I love comic books. This book is here, however, because it is really is a masterpiece on human visual communication, knowledge transference and information graphics disguised as a meta-comic.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information – Edward R. Tufte

I am a Tufteian at heart and the Amazon description says it all: “The classic book on statistical graphics, charts, tables… with detailed analysis of how to display data for precise, effective, quick analysis.”

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

What is the recipe for magic? Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios discusses creativity in business.

Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design – Chip Kidd

If you are looking for the essence and understanding of graphic design principles on form, type and content look no further than this book which contains my favorite UX quote: “The best solution is found in the best definition of the problem.”

Information Architecture: For the Web and Beyond – Louis Rosenfeld, Peter Morville and Jorge Arango

Affectionately known as the polar bear book, this latest edition chronicles the 3 Principles of IA to build systems, and not just websites, under the continuing glut of information overload.

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience – Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden

A cross discipline reference and introduction into the intersection of User Experience, Product Design for Market Fit and Lean Development Practices based on agile methodologies.

Universal Principles of Design: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design

I don’t see this book on many lists, but I think it should be. I apply and recite these principles on a regular, if not daily, basis including the 80/20 Rule, Chunking and the Fallacy of Scaling.

Envisioning Information – Edward R. Tufte

Told you I was a Tufteian. The most purely design oriented of the series covers everything from Napoleon’s March by Minard, computer interfaces, courtroom exhibits, timetables and… PowerPoint.

More UX, Design, Product, Career and Business Leadership Books

Design Is a Job – Mike Monteiro

The Design of Everyday Things – Don Norman

A Project Guide to UX Design – Russ Unger & Carolyn Chandler

The Elements of User Experience – Jesse James Garrett

Designing Together: The collaboration and conflict management handbook for creative professionals – Dan M. Brown

Microinteractions: Designing with Details – Dan Saffer

Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems – Steve Krug

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design – Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin & Christopher Noessel

UX for Beginners: A Crash Course in 100 Short Lessons – Joel Marsh

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People – Susan Weinschenk

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter – Liz Wiseman

slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations & Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences – Nancy Duarte

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t – Jim Collins

Content Strategy for the Web- Kristina Halvorson & Melissa Rach

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design – Marty Neumeier


The Only UX Reading List Ever – Simon Pan

Looking for even more books on UX? This is a collection of over 60 must reads on Thinking, Methods, Principles and Best Practices.

Best UX Design Tools


Have a Conversation

Sounds simple to start at the beginning… but having a real dialog and not just talking at each other is where understanding begins. Go listen (and talk) to your Customers, Product Managers, Customer Support and Developers.

White (Dry Erase) Boards, Dry Erase Markers and Post It Notes

An old school tip that often goes best hand in hand with conversation. Digital equivalents can work to – the key is using a consistent low barrier medium that works quickly with your cross functional team.

Pencil and Paper

Yes… another analog technique that is often overlooked for quickly capturing thoughts before getting tunnel vision from a tool. The Engineer in me still loves graph paper.


Keynote, PowerPoint or Google Slides

Wait… You recommend Tufte and use Presentation software? Yes. It is not the tool, but how you use it. My suggestions: Learn how to tell a story, keep one idea per slide and show, not tell.



I tend to design high fidelity and Sketch is built from the ground up to focus on UI Design workflow and offers time saving Mobile App optimizations.


Adobe Creative Cloud – especially Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC

An industry standard for decades, this is bread and butter for so many that come from a visual design background. (Truth be told… I still miss Flash.)


The Tools Designers Are Using Today

The Subtraction.com Design Tools Survey by Khoi Vinh provides a snapshot of the changing marketplace of applications and utilities for digital based designers.

Best Prototyping Tools

Like creating a film, needing to see the end before starting is the biggest problem in evaluating a UX design. One of the best solutions is prototyping. See How to Prototype and Previsualize the Experience for how I use tools like these everyday.



Billed as the world’s leading prototyping, collaboration & workflow platform – there simply isn’t anything else out there that maximizes speed with fidelity.

Framer JS

Framer.js & Framer Studio

Framer is the secret weapon to prototype anything – especially high fidelity platforms and fluid native apps – and the results are astounding. Don’t forget CoffeeScript for Framer.js


Keynote with Keynotopia

This is like Lego for Keynote. A very quick and effective means of using standard UI elements to quickly prototype, test and refine user flows and interaction patterns for mobile, web and desktop apps.

Adobe After Effects CC

I am not an After Effects guru and this is more of a Motion Study tool, but the influence and persuasion of a full video render of a graceful flow and animation of UI is undeniable.



Prototyping a website? Why not use the most popular HTML, CSS, and JS framework for developing responsive, mobile first projects on the web?


Xcode and Swift

Designing an App? Use the tools developers use and gain true understanding and appreciation. I learned to dive right in from Design + Code from Meng To.

prototype tools

Designer’s Toolkit: Prototyping Tools

A living document of reviews and rankings for prototyping tools as they are road tested by the designers at Cooper.

Best Native Mobile App Design Resources


Material Design

A beautiful design language and Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) built on 3 principles: Material is the Metaphor, Being Graphically Bold and Motion Provides Meaning.


The iOS Design Guidelines and Ultimate Guide to iPhone Resolutions

Up-to-date information to design for iOS and get started within seconds. Not the Official iOS Human Interface Guidelines – but they should be.


Facebook iOS 9 GUI for iPhone

In the tradition of Teehan+Lax, Photoshop and Sketch templates of GUI elements found in the public release of iOS 9 from Facebook Design.


Designer’s Guide to DPI

Phenomenal guide to cross-DPI and cross-platform design. I use this resource and the examples regularly from the difference between DP, PT and SP to the 5 asset sizes for Android.


Little Big Details

Your daily dose of design inspiration and micro-interactions and the key for turning app moments into delights.

Touch Gesture Reference Guide
An overview of the core gestures used for most touch commands.

User Onboarding
A deep look into onboarding an first-run experiences (with detailed teardowns) – key for any app.

UI Design Do’s and Don’ts
Consider these common design concepts to enhance the usability and appeal of your apps.

What Does it Take to be a Mobile Designer Today?
Being a successful mobile designer requires an evolved understanding of how people use their devices, a robust toolkit, and the flexibility to adapt to new technology.

How to design for thumbs in the Era of Huge Screens – Scott Hurff
What does it mean to design for thumbs? It means building interfaces that are the most comfortable to use within our thumb’s natural, sweeping arc.

How Do Users Really Hold Mobile Devices?
One handed, cradled, two handed and not even looking at the screen.

3 Rules Of App Design, According To Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer
2 Taps away, 5 Points and designed for the 98% Use Case.

Pattern Library and Style Guide Examples

atomic design

Atomic Design – Brad Frost

Atoms, Molecules, Organisms, Templates and Pages make up a system of designed components instead of a random collection of elements.


Material Design

A beautiful design language and Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) built on 3 principles: Material is the Metaphor, Being Graphically Bold and Motion Provides Meaning.


Facebook iOS 9 GUI for iPhone

In the tradition of Teehan+Lax, Photoshop and Sketch templates of GUI elements found in the public release of iOS 9 from Facebook Design.


Netflix Branding – The Stack

Innovative branding solution to the world’s leading streaming media service and how design is carried out to unify every touchpoint.


MailChimp Patterns and Content Style Guide

MailChimp shows how important Design Patterns are, but also that most important of all is the content a design must serve.


Website Style Guide Resources

Examples of real life pattern libraries and content style guides, including this gem from the never before published for sale 1982 DC Comics Style Guide.

Recommended Disney Inspired User Experience Articles


The Illusion of Life

The 12 Principles of Animation by Disney Masters – more important today than ever – to express character and personality.


Walt Disney: The World’s First UX Designer

Attention to detail, a focus on immersion, and the desire constantly improve his products made Walt Disney one of the earliest designers of user experience.


Beyond the UX Tipping Point

Surprisingly, few are talking about what could be the biggest user experience story of 2014: The introduction of the Disney Magic Band. – Jared Spool.


22 Rules of User Experience

Pixar’s 22 rules of storytelling adapted for UX — because both are about creating great experiences.


The Principles of UX Choreography

The intersection of Disney and UX and why learning how to draw Mickey Mouse will change how you approach design.

How Pixar Solves Problems From The Inside Out
It’s easy to forget that Pixar is a technology company. Mostly because the invention that they do is in service of a narrative.

Disney’s $1 Billion Bet on a Magical Wristband
If you want to imagine how the world will look in just a few years, once our cell phones become the keepers of both our money and identity, skip Silicon Valley and book a ticket to Orlando. Go to Disney World.

Effective Feedback: The Little Known Secret To Pixar’s Creative Success
Often, feedback sessions are seen as a chance for people to give their input. Nothing could be further from the truth. The purpose of creative feedback is to move the project forward.

Highly Recommended UX Design Blogs


Usability Counts – Patrick Neeman

Patrick is Seattle, Enterprise, Product and Design. He has an unlimited passion for the UX community and you will not find a better UX Career Guide resource.


The Year of the Looking Glass – Julie Zhuo

A collection of essays by on design, building products and observing life from the Product Design Director at Facebook.


InVision Blog

Consistently solid and digestible round up of UX, UI and prototyping that leans heavily into traditional graphic design and branding. If you like the blog, you will love the weekly email.



Luke Wroblewski is a Product Director at Google with over 20 years of digital product design leadership. Author, speaker and fantastic presentations – especially in mobile design and interaction.


UX, User Experience and Design on Medium

A running feed of the Top and Latest UX, User Experience and Design articles on Medium.


UX Design Blog and Resources to Follow Religiously

Looking for even more blogs on UX? Chris Bank of UXPin details some of his favorite product design blogs on the web, categorized by the type of content they contain.

Must Read UX, Design and Product Articles

Start with a Cupcake
Gall’s Law, true Product MVP and the value of experience in one tidy little analogy I use everyday.

Why UX Designers Need to Think like Architects
A look at the parallels between architects and user experience designers, and how the latter group can benefit from the work of the former.

Designing For (and With) Color Blindness
As designers, we constantly worry about legibility, how engaging content is, whether hit targets are big enough, or if a user can navigate through a workflow. But we often forget about the one in ten people that are colorblind.

The Rules of successful Skunk Works Project
Need to make a product on limited time with tight deadlines? Use the rules that helped Lockheed Martin invent a fighter jet in 143 days.

Product Strategy Means Saying No
If you’re building a product, you have to be great at saying no. Not “maybe” or “later”. The only word is no.

The Double Diamond Model of Product Definition and Design
Design makes strategy concrete and a model for how to get from definition to execution.

Team Models for Scaling a Design System by Nathan Curtis
Evolving Past Overlords to Centralize or Federate Design Decision-Making Across Platforms.

Behind the Wheel with Product and UX
Four things UX needs to know about product management.

What Super Mario Taught Us About UX
Original Super Mario Was Designed on Graph Paper
Design Club – How Super Mario Mastered Level Design
The revolutionary game that changed everything taught users how to play through level design and was designed all on graph paper.

Best UX Design Career and Interview Advice


The Usability Counts UX Resume Template and Career Guide

The single best UX Career resource out there. Period. I personally follow Patrick’s template, advice and passion for telling stories.

The former Director of User Experience at Jobvite, Patrick has a mammoth collection of articles, insights, templates, tips and guides for the new UX professional. Looking for a place to start from the scores of articles? Try Getting Started in UX for People I want to Hire. Don’t forget the bulletproof free resume template and slideshow presentations on Slideshare, including this Slideshare Presentation of the Day:


What Kind of Design Work Should I do?

The only flow chart you need is from Julie Zhuo and answers: What project should I take on? Where should I work? and What should my career look like?

How to Break Into User Experience Design
A personal account of the winding road that leads people into the User Experience profession and the transition made from a previous career.

Visit Quora to get insights from User Experience professionals from around the world:

How to Find Your Path Beyond UX Designer
With UX Designer roles being just as varied as our backgrounds, what is the way forward for a UXer?

This 90-Day Plan Turns Engineers into Remarkable Managers
Great advice for making the jump to managers of all kinds in technology, not just Engineers.

UX Career Progression: Finding a Niche & Building a Personal Brand
Nick Finck gives an overview of the core disciplines of UX, what it means to be T-shaped and how to start building a personal brand to break into UX.

Top UX Design Portfolio Articles & Examples

UX How

How to Tell Your UX Story

My collaboration with Patrick Neeman on presenting your portfolio with examples from our own personal portfolios.


Building your design portfolio? Here are 8 things I wish I’d known.

In building a company that creates new UX Designers on a daily basis, a look back an old portfolio and lessons learned.

Great Design Portfolios Are Great Stories
How to become a better designer by telling the story of you behind your work.

Your Portfolio Probably Sucks
Designers are not making user-centered portfolios. They are making self-centered portfolios.

Great Portfolio Examples

Designing for Scale – The Etsy Product Page Redesign  
Etsy’s Product Page by Cap Watkins is a great example of telling a story through a design project.

Portfolios Matter: Building the Portfolio to Win the Job
The 10 things to remember when building your portfolio by Lynn Teo.

Best UX Overview and Design Guides


UX Crash Course: 31 Fundamentals

A quick overview to go from zero-to-hero as quickly as possible in 31 daily lessons. Don’t forget UX Crash Course: User Psychology.


52 Weeks of UX

A discourse on the process of designing for real people with an article for each week of the year.


UX Myths

UX Myths collects the most frequent user experience misconceptions and explains why they don’t hold true.


Butterick’s Practical Typography in 10 Minutes

If you learn and fol­low these five ty­pog­ra­phy rules, you will be a bet­ter ty­pog­ra­pher than 95% of pro­fes­sional writ­ers and most designers.


Pixel Perfect Precision Handbook

For those looking for snap to alignment precision on design principles, do’s and don’ts and Photoshop.

Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work
“Never draw what you can swipe. Never swipe what you can trace. Never trace what you can photocopy. Never photocopy what you can clip out and paste down.”

The Brand Gap – Marty Neumeier
A classic on how to bridge the gap between business strategy and design.

Must View Design Principles & Checklists


Government Digital Service Design Principles

A refreshing look at applying Design Principles like “Do Less” and “Build digital services, not websites” when designing for everyone.


Dieter Rams: Ten Principles for Good Design

As good design cannot always be measured in a finite way, Dieter Rams set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered was good design.


Design by Numbers: A Checklist

An adaptation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs representing the five criteria of good design and magnitude of importance.


UX Project Checklist

Just like a pilot before taking off, run your designs through this quick checklist at each phase of the process.


Design Kit: How Might We?

These 3 little words are the key to developing a framework by reframing your design challenge as a question.


Design Principles For the Win

The biggest collection of Design Principles on Internet including: Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon.

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