So you're aspiring to UX... 

Maybe you're working on a team and are tangential to a UXer, such as a UI designer or a front-end dev or a project manager, or something nearby (or farther away?), and becoming a UX strategist appeals to you. You may feel ready to do some exploration and self-education; wonderful! I know it feels overwhelming. There's just so much information available. Where to start? (if you have this question too, PLEASE reach out! I'm happy to discuss UX stuff with you.)

 

At this stage of my career, one of my favorite things to do is mentor people who are new to UX/CX and product. At times, it's more fulfilling than doing my own UX work. On a regular basis, people contact me and ask for advice on how to better self-educate and accelerate their switch to a career in UX & product. So over time I've come up with a list of people, books, and resources that I like to share when I get this question. I figured the next most convenient thing to do was to make it a page on my website so all I have to do is share a link from now on. Please take advantage of this list for your own benefit, and please feel free to send me ideas for other resources to add to my ever-growing list.

Contents

Get to know our UX OGs

 

These brilliant folks laid the groundwork. Read their books, watch their talks and interviews. You'll start to realize how few totally original ideas are out there. Platforms may change, but core principles do not.

Additional important UX thinkers

 

Content & Newsletters (Yes, newsletters!)

 

I don't always have time to read them, or even open them. But I rely on newsletters to stay informed and to keep an eye on the organizations and people I admire and learn from.

Content specifically for UX beginners

 

UX Planet is a solid publication, and they offer this useful tab for UX Beginners.

UX Design: The Definitive Beginner’s Guide from UX Pin. (It's a download so you gotta cough up your email address. Get used to it.)

A Beginner’s Guide to User Experience (UX) Fundamentals By Katharine Hargreaves.

The Definition of User Experience from Nielsen Norman Group.

UX books

 

Your first reading assignments should include The Design of Everyday Things and Don't Make Me Think. These are foundational industry texts with which you'll be expected to have familiarity. Many other experts recommend The User Experience Team of One and Just Enough Research as well. All four of these books are extremely valuable, and I have toted them from job to job, and read them more than once myself. But there are many other important books, some of which I haven't read yet but will include here as I know how highly recommended they are by UX thinkers I admire.

Books on my nightstand right now:

Other people's reading lists that are worth perusing:

UX, design & product conferences

 

As I don't have the time or patience to compile my own list, I'm providing links to other great lists. (Why reinvent the wheel, ammiright?)

2020 Product Conferences from Teresa Torres. 

The master list of 2020 design conferences from Invision. 

Top 10 UX conferences calling you in 2020 from UX Planet.

20 best UX conferences to attend in 2020 from intechnic.

 

Resources about information architecture

Everyday Information Architecture by Lisa Maria Marquis

Do yourself a favor and indulge in this beautiful IA history lesson... Dan Klyn’s talk at UX Week 2013 called Make Things Be Good: Five Essential Lessons from the Life and Work of Richard Saul Wurman.

If you've got the guts and are feeling especially inspired after watching the talk by Dan Klyn I linked to above, try reading Richard Saul Wurman's Information Architects. (I haven't.)

Rosenfeld Media offers an IA book bundle that will make your nerdy IA senses tingle. 

 

Resources about UX research

UX Collective offers a book list: UX Books on Research & Strategy. It of course includes Erika Hall's Just Enough Research.

From dscout/People Nerds: Generative UX Research: A Complete Guide

How to Write a User Research Plan That Sets Your Project Up for Success

Free UX Research Plan Templates

There are so many different kinds of research you may end up doing, one of which is stakeholder research. I've relied on Dan Brown's The Delicate Art of Interviewing Stakeholders on many such occasions.

Honestly, go onto Medium and search for "UX Research" and you'll be set with reading for several decades.

 

Resources about UX processes

UX Collective offers a book list: UX Books on Methods & Processes.

Discovery is the first step in any UX process, read Dan Brown's Practical Design Discovery

You will learn through experience that there's never one single perfect overall process that you can perform and repeat, in fact, that never should happen if you're an agile, scrappy UXer. But learning what the framework could/should look like is very helpful before you start improvising. Check out UX Design Framework by Galina Kalugina.

I promise you will learn there's actually no "right" answer to UX process, which I find wonderfully comforting. Pencil Me In: The Business Drawing Book for People Who Can't Draw by Christina R Wodtke is a perfect example of how to approach UX unconventionally and achieve great things.

 

Resources about accessibility

Laura Kalbag's Accessibility For Everyone.

Do yourself a favor and dig into all the amazing content on The A11y Project website and follow them on Twitter.

The A11y Project has this astounding list of which individuals, companies, and meetups to track down should you want to get immersed in accessibility.

Get familiar with W3C and their stated Accessibility guidelines.

 

Resources about UX resumes, portfolios, and interviewing

I LOVE this article about creating a powerful UX portfolio: How to wow me with your UX research portfolio

© 2018 by Grace Stoeckle 

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