You know you’re in the right profession when you willingly give up a weekend to hang out with a bunch of other designers and talk shop. But my favorite thing about attending conferences is always the long list of books, articles, podcasts, and videos that I inevitably come home with. It’s like adult homework… but better because it’s always something I really want to read. MidwestUX was no exception.
Without any further ado, here are the recommended reads, both suggested by speakers and gathered from conversations at MidwestUX, that are set to fill up my weekends, eardrums, and inboxes (and maybe yours) for the next year and beyond.
We’ll start with the obvious: books about UX. A great place for new designers to get started, or for old designers to brush up.
- Designing for the Digital Age by Kim Goodwin, keynote speaker
(Side note: This text was my first introduction to UX, and, honestly, having the chance to see Kim Goodwin in person was the highlight of my year.)
- Mental Models by Indi Young
- Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries: User Research War Stories by Steve Portigal
Part of being an excellent, well-rounded designer is an interest in a wide variety of topics. After all, designing for human experience requires a knowledge of humans.
Psychology & Behavioral Science:
- Choice Theory by William Glasser
- A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink
- 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk, speaker
- Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
- When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön
- The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown
As well as her TED talk on the topic.
- Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
- Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
- TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson
- Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner
And in case you prefer videos, here’s one of Wagner discussing the same topic.
But a great designer does more than just acknowledge human experience. They go out of their way to learn about and include edge case voices, the people that need someone to hear them and to do something. One of my key takeaways from the conference was that the people affected by what you’re designing are the experts. When you get out of their way and spend some time listening to their experiences, you can help facilitate great design.
While these podcasts are not technically UX-related, they do focus on experiences and true stories different than my own. These are on my personal list as a reminder that I am not designing for me.
- The Nod by Gimlet Media
- Ear Hustle by Radiotopia
And finally, a tidbit of everyday inspiration for your (and my) inbox.
- HeyDesigner email newsletter
What other resources are you excited to dive into in the next year? Tweet us @fuzzymath to share!