It’s an exciting time to be in the field of user experience- things are changing at an exciting pace as user-centered design takes hold and the field evolves and matures. But keeping up can sometimes feel overwhelming. Although nobody can predict the future, we can keep pace with the ever-increasing body of knowledge that revolves around user experience…innovation, case studies, and trends.

Here are my picks for the top 5 UX books of 2015, all of which deserve to be on your radar right now.

  1. Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter) by Steve Krug.
    This revised version came out in 2014 but it’s so good we had to put it here. The original, which came out in 2000, has been on the list of required reading for web design classes for an entire generation now. That’s because Krug’s common-sense style is easy to learn from. Plus, it’s made even more readable by the laugh-out-loud footnotes. The revised edition is noticeably different from his best-selling original book in that its approach to design is of course user-centered. Krug practices what he preaches too: the book is refreshingly color-coded and laid out with lots of graphical devices like tables and well-chosen images which are entertaining just by themselves. If you read and loved the original, as so many of us have, then you’ll want to check out this latest edition, even if only to find out what Krug has to say about mobile usability. That section alone makes purchasing this book totally worth it.
    Find it on Amazon here:
  2. UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Products That People Want by Jaime Levy.
    Jaime Levy is another big name in UX, having taught grad students the basics of UX strategy for a quarter of a century. Budding entrepreneurs and present owners of small businesses will want to read her book because she targets their business needs like no other. Sure, other authors incorporate business strategy with their UX design principles but Ms. Levy’s book actually teaches readers how to make things happen. Want sales funnels? Find them here. Want real-world examples that get you off and running same-day? Also here. Interested in the core fundamentals of UX strategy that will hold true for years to some? This is your book. Published in June 2015, it’s not only extremely well-written, it’s totally up-to-date as well.
    Buy it from O’Reilly here:
  3. X: The Experience When Business Meets Design by Brian Solis.
    This book came out in early October 2015 and it’s already enjoying 5-star reviews from design professionals who couldn’t wait to read it. Many remembered Solis’ 2012 “The End of Business as Usual” and 2013’s “What’s the Future of Business”, both considered important and timely accounts of the UX design field. With an eye towards the business end of things, Solis leads the reader through the basics of “experience architecture”, which allows for websites that distinguish themselves from their competitors. If you want to truly stay on top of things in this field, this book will help get you there.
    Learn more about it and buy Brian Solis’ book here:
  4. UX Design Trends 2015 & 2016 Successful Trends for Digital Products by Awwwards-team.
    This is a free e-book from awwwards, which spotlights the best in current web design & development trends each year. If illustrated examples of good UX is what you want, this is by any definition the best source in the world. Awwwards has put together 71 incredible and diverse examples of websites which feature the best user experience you could find. In this e-book, you get not only examples of inspiring UX design but also super-informative analysis from UX experts. They even offer critiques of some of the most often-cited design examples (Netflix, Hulu, Virgin etc). You’ll get an eye for telling the difference between fads and concepts that really stick. From responsive design and microinterations to “invisible” UX design and personalized UX, this e-book cover everything you need to know to stay current in this field. Not only that, but it’s all coming from some of the foremost leaders in design.
    Download the free ebook from Awwwards here:
  5. Android User Interface Design: Implementing Material Design for Developers (2nd Edition) by Ian Clifton.
    Android is the rising king of mobile, and designers who pay attention to visual appeal and usability on this platform are really doing themselves a big favor. This book stands out because it’s written by a leading advocate of UX who also happens to be a widely-respected expert Android developer. There are case studies as well as thoughtful explanations of the basic fundamentals of the Android interface. Learn how to create apps and even download sample code, of which there are tons of examples. Just published about a month ago (November 2015), this book offers the most up-to-date knowledge from an Android master who helped develop apps for CBS News, among other big names. Find Ian Clifton’s book on Amazon here:

So as we close out the year and look forward to 2016, we can’t help feeling excited about what’s to come. After all, if 2016 is anything like this past year, we’ll be seeing tons of fascinating developments in UX. From all of us at Making Sense, Happy New Year, and see you in 2016!