5 Essential Books on UX Psychology - Heart Internet Blog - Focusing on all aspects of the web

Psychology and behavioural science are must-have tools for designers these days. They give you great insights, for example into why someone may not be using your site (or app) in the way you hoped and how to engage users more. As a designer you simply need to be aware of how and why we make decisions to create a compelling user experience, but persuasive techniques need to be applied carefully (see 7 Killer ways to Influence User Behaviour on Creative Bloq).

A lot of books have been written about the subject, and I recommend you check out some of the other lists out there, including Psychology books for design and UX and 9 Behavioral Psychology Books for Persuasive UX Design. We wanted to know what definitely should be on your reading list for 2017, so the following article features a few classics but also brand new titles that include some of the latest research to help you design better products.

Psychology for Designers by Joe Leech

Cover of Psychology for Designers by Joe Leech

This is an excellent primer by UX consultant and recovering neuroscientist Joe Leech. The short but essential pocket guide explains how psychological theory can be applied to design and covers the benefits of taking a psychological approach, how to find and apply relevant ideas, and advocate your design decisions based on sound psychological reasoning. A fantastic starting point.

(As an aside, Heart Internet is proud to announce that we’ll be sponsoring Pixel Pioneers Bristol on 22 June. This one day conference on web design and development will include Joe Leech giving a talk about combining psychology theory with the latest in UX techniques.)

Design for the Mind by Victor Yocco

Cover of Design for the Mind: Seven Psychological Principles of Persuasive Design by Victor Yocco

This book, by UX researcher and strategist Victor Yocco, covers seven key psychological principles of persuasive design and how to apply them to real-life projects. It’s aimed at web designers and developers and explains why people react in the way they do to certain design features and approaches. You’ll learn how to handle short attention spans, encourage users to engage, browse, or buy with your designs and the help of social networks, and much more.

Webs of Influence by Nathalie Nahai

Cover of Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion by Nathalie Nahai

Nathalie Nahai is a web psychologist who helps businesses apply scientific rigour to their website design, content marketing and products. Her book, Webs of Influence: The Psychology of Online Persuasion, became a bestseller when it came out in 2012. This brand new second edition features the latest insights from the world of psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics to explain the underlying dynamics and motivations behind consumer behaviour, i.e. “the secret strategies that make us click”.

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

Cover of 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk

It does exactly what it says in the title. Susan Weinschenk, aka @thebrainlady, is a behavioural scientist and this is her most famous book, a must-read for every designer that includes lots of theories applied to design and quick tips to help you improve your user interfaces, sites, apps but also print designs. Also see the follow-up 100 MORE Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People, which came out in 2015.

Bottlenecks: Aligning UX Design with User Psychology by David C Evans

Cover of Bottlenecks: Aligning UX Design with User Psychology by David Evans

Another brand new title by David C. Evans, a senior manager of customer research at Microsoft, summarises the psychological constrictions of attention, perception, memory, disposition, motivation, and social influence that determine whether your digital product will spread widely, or be confined to a niche. It focuses on various cases studies ranging from apps, social media, in-car apps, to multiplayer video games. Aimed at designers, entrepreneurs and usability and market researches alike.


Which books did I miss? Which ones do you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

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