UX Book recommendations for new year

Avoid brain fuzz this christmas and get inspired!

How’s this year been? Good? Bad? Well however you’re feeling, we’ve got something guaranteed to put a smile on your face and keep your brain engaged over christmas – our favourite UX books! Our aim is to make sure you go back to work buzzing with ideas and inspiration to beat your competition! UX is one of the best ways you can attract customers whilst lowering your marketing spend (you can’t beat the power and free cost of word-of-mouth recommendations). It’s also incredibly interesting to learn about – it’s like dipping inside the user’s mind and seeing things clearly for the first time.

Keepitusable UX Book Collection

Photo: Lisa showcasing our vast collection of books at Keepitusable. We like learning!

So, to avoid getting brain fuzz over christmas and instead get a head full of inspiring ideas and solutions, we’re sharing with you our favourite UX books.

There’s still time to order these books on Amazon for christmas.


Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug

Best book for: People who are fairly new to UX and would like a greater understanding.

don't make me think free book


Written in an engaging, light-hearted style, that is interesting and succinct, we highly recommend Steve Krug’s ‘Don’t Make Me Think’. It’s a thin book, with helpful illustrations that highlight Krug’s main points.

UK Amazon price: £12.50 go to store >>>

US Amazon price: $25.10 go to store >>>


A Book Apart series

Best books for: All levels of designers

A book apart series

Each volume is a concise and fresh take on an important field in web design. Jeremy Keith’s HTML5 for Web Designers explores what the web’s new lingua franca means for working designer/developers. Dan Cederholm’s CSS3 for Web Designers shows how you can design for the experience layer today. Erin Kissane’s The Elements of Content Strategyexplains where content strategy came from, and how you can do it well. Ethan Marcotte’s Responsive Web Design demonstrates CSS techniques and design principles for crafting fluid, responsive websites. Aarron Walter’s Designing for Emotion will teach you how to you make your users fall in love with your site, while Luke Wroblewski’s Mobile First will make you a master of mobile, and improve your desktop designs, too. Last but not least, Mike Monteiro’s Design Is a Job will help you do your job better, while Karen McGrane’s Content Strategy for Mobile will teach you everything you need to get your content onto mobile devices (and more).

Special offer 30% off the whole collection means the prices are now:

$99  Paperbacks

$49  ebooks

$129 Paperbacks & ebooks

Go to store >>> 


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

Best book for: Beginners to intermediates who want to understand more of the psychology and reasoning behind design effects on the user.

100 things every designer needs to know free book

Gain quick tips to improve your user interface design based on psychology and understanding how people can be influenced by design.Another slim book but packed full of tips to increase engagement of interfaces based on psychology and previous research findings. Written by psychologist Dr Susan Weinschenk, this is one of Lisa’s favourite books. Great for understanding the subtleties of design that can impact the end user.
UK Amazon price: £12.34 go to store >>>

US Amazon price: $17.39 go to store >>>


Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell

Best book for: Designers

universal principles of design free book

We like books that have a lot of succinct, useful content and this is one. A great book full of all the principles you need to know to design for people. It’s a great reference tool that every designer should have on their bookshelf to dip in and out of. It covers all kinds of design principles – from those used in digital interface design to physical product design.

UK Amazon price: £12.15 go to store >>>

US Amazon price: $18.10 go to store >>>


ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever by Jason Fried

Best book for: Business owners and creatives

ReWork by Jason Fields

Although, not strictly a UX book, we love this book so much we had to recommend it to you!

Written by the creators of Basecamp, 37 Signals. This book will change the way you think about business and how you do business. They question the status quo, do things differently and they’ve been an incredible success. Our copy is full of post-its! Buy this book!

UK Amazon price: £4.74 go to store >>>

US Amazon price: $13.98 go to store >>>


Happy reading! 🙂

How retailers should approach christmas 2012

online christmas shoppingThis christmas, British households are expected to spend £835. The majority of this will go on gifts, cards, food, drink and decorations, according to a YouGuv survey. Despite the recession, people are only said to be cutting back by £30 this year so there’s still a great opportunity for retailers to profit.

How retailers should approach christmas online…

Most retailers receive a large amount of traffic during christmas. Sunday is the biggest day for online spend, whereas Saturday becomes the biggest day for in-store shopping.

A lot of consumers are now turning to online for their christmas shopping. Less stress, no queues and the ability to save money compared to the high street is very appealing for people. This means you should really focus your efforts on online marketing, traffic driving and conversion optimisation during the first part of christmas.

…and offline

Of course, there comes a point where deliveries won’t arrive in time for christmas, so you then need to focus on driving footfall back to the retail stores. Services such as click and collect, discounts, sales and mobile campaigns can really help. How about in-store events too?

Behaviour modelling: How to make dogs drive cars and users click buttons

Who would have thought that dogs could be taught to drive cars or that double the amount of users would click a button just through a simple design tweak.

Behaviour is fascinating. Not only can we research, analyse and understand behaviour, it is possible to then actively and deliberately change it. It isn’t easy or quick but if you get it right the results can be incredible. But human behaviour has deep, complex motivations and meanings which is why it’s vitally important to have at least one person involved in your project who has a solid background in psychology.

A good starting point for understanding behaviour is the work of BJ Fogg. His behaviour model states that three elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur: Motivation, Ability, and Trigger. When a behaviour does not occur, it means that at least one of these key elements is missing.

Dogs driving cars

Take a look at the following video, yes they really are dogs driving cars!

In the video of cars being driven by dogs we can clearly see all three elements that cause the desired behaviour. The dog’s motivation is to get a treat and please it’s trainer. It has the ability to press the buttons. And the trigger is the command given by the trainer. If any of these elements were missing the trigger would fail.

BJ Fogg’s behaviour model

Motivation + Ability + Trigger = Success or Failure

BJ Fogg Behaviour model

Making people click buttons

Enticing users to click buttons is a lot more difficult but it follows the same principles of people having the motivation to click to the next step, the ability and the trigger. The only certain way to know which is not being fulfilled is to conduct user research and if you have the budget include eye tracking as eye movements are directly linked to the brain and can tell the researcher more detailed information about what’s really going on inside the user’s head. It allows the analyst to know precisely where the user is looking (what grabs their attention and interest that should/shouldn’t be), for how long and in what order. Don’t confuse this kind of research with basic usability testing. This kind of behavioural insight research needs highly qualified specialist researchers who understand and can successfully analyse and interpret human behaviour with interfaces.  Contact professionals.

The researcher will identify what is stopping the desired behaviour from occurring. For example, if you have very high traffic on a page but not many people converting, the researcher would investigate the underlying causes. It could be that a vital piece of information required by the user in their decision making process to buy from you is missing or that the process of purchasing from you doesn’t meet their expectations based on similar experiences with competitors.

Psychological buying process

Psychological needs of buyers

The best ux designers understand psychology. We use research findings to identify and add psychological triggers and persuasive elements that are needed to convert people into buyers. UX design should never be confused with traditional design.  It is only by understanding the user completely that we create designs that work. Once we understand and then meet the user’s psychological needs and desires, we can turn them into a buyer (see above diagram).

Speak to our specialist expert

Are there pages of your website or software that should be getting more clicks?

Would your product benefit from user research, behavioural analysis and insight?

persuasive design expert

If you’d like to chat to an expert in behavioural research and persuasive design, ask for Lisa via our contact form. She has many years experience helping brands, conducting research and analysing behaviour. Lisa is qualified up to MSc level and is highly respected within usability / user experience.