It's important for designers to have a broader perspective, and these book recommendations aim to help and guide those who wish to study or delve deeper into UX Design and business.
1) Don't Make Me Think — Steve Krug
Don't Make Me Think, published in 2002, has already become a classic for UX Design enthusiasts. The author, Krug, defends the theory that users should not have to think too much to figure out how to use a website, software, mobile app, or any other UI.
The product must always be easy, simple to understand, and use. Check out an excerpt from the book:
"When I look at a web page, it should be self-evident, self-explanatory, as much as humanly possible. I should be able to understand it – what it is and how to use it – without expending any effort to do so" (KRUG, 2009, p.9).
The book has many practical and real-life examples that will help you understand better about empathy, which by the way, is an essential skill for any designer.
2) Business Model Generation – Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
The Business Model Generation, published in 2010, is a book that takes a strategic approach to market analysis.
It serves as a practical and inspiring guide for those looking to improve a business model or launch a new project. Companies worldwide use the innovation techniques outlined in the book.
You will also learn strategies for systematically understanding, designing, and implementing a new business model, or revitalizing an old one.
One of the most interesting aspects of this book is the "business model canvas," a practical method for developing a business or project. It provides an efficient way to track and update defined and achieved parameters.
This method allows you to design how to operate and generate value in the market, with the definition of the primary flows and processes.
This allows for analysis and a better understanding of the business model and its operation in the market.
"The business model describes the logic of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value" (OSTERWALDER; PIGNEUR, Business Model Generation)
The book is well-designed, visual, and practical, allowing readers to apply the method immediately.
Therefore, it is recommended for UX designers who are interested in innovative models for creating value.
3) The Long Tail — Chris Anderson
The Long Tail is a New York Times bestseller and winner of the Gerald Loeb Award for Best Business Book of the Year in 2006. The book has become a reference for managers, scientists, and professionals working in the communication industry.
It discusses modern economic and cultural issues, particularly the trend toward personalization and the importance of focusing on specific audiences.
This approach, known as the Long Tail, involves offering a wide range of options with low demand rather than just a few options with high demand.
As shown in the image above, products that are more generic tend to have higher demand but limited quantity. In contrast, products that fall within the Long Tail – more niche and specific – may have lower demand individually.
Still, there are so many options that they end up surpassing the generics in quantity. Therefore, retailers that work with products in the Long Tail area may be more profitable when they accumulate sales.
The book stresses the importance of understanding how users search for specific products on the internet, as this information is crucial for companies.
By analyzing user feedback and market relevance, companies can make more informed decisions.
"Most successful internet businesses tap into the Long Tail. For example, Google makes much of its money not from big brand advertisers, but from small business ads – the Long Tail of advertising. By overcoming the limitations of geography and scale, companies like these not only expand their markets but also discover entirely new ones. Moreover, in all cases, these markets that sit outside the reach of physical retailers have turned out to be much larger than expected – and they keep growing" (Anderson, Chris, 2006, p. 26).
For more detailed insights on the Long Tail, check out the TED Talk by the author of the book.
4) A Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant — W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
Blue Ocean Strategy has become a bestseller on five continents and has been translated into 44 languages. The book presents a fresh outlook on market competition, challenging the traditional perception of a cutthroat environment where competitors battle like sharks for customers and profits.
The author introduces a systematic approach that deems competition irrelevant. Not in the sense of disregarding it, but rather by shifting the focus towards understanding the needs of consumers.
By deeply comprehending what drives customers to purchase a product or service, the strategy aims to provide innovative solutions that effectively address their problems. A vision shared in UX Design.
During the reading, you will see the principles and tools that any company can use to create, develop, and "clear its own blue oceans".
That is, new and untouched market spaces full of growth opportunities.
"An essential read for every strategist or entrepreneur willing to leave the intensely competitive, shark-infested waters to dive into the open ocean full of opportunity." – Business Insider
The book presents six frontiers of the Blue Ocean Strategy:
- Alternative sectors;
- Strategic groups within sectors;
- The buyer chain;
- Complementary products and services;
- The functional and emotional appeals of buyers;
- The course of time.
Check out a video explaining simply what the blue ocean strategy is:
5) The Lean Startup — Eric Ries
The Lean Startup (2012) presents a methodology to minimize the product development cycle of a company. The idea is to experiment quickly and cheaply with potential customers, testing various ideas until the best version is reached and inserted into the market.
The book is suitable for those who want to develop profitable new products without waste. Author Eric Ries, an entrepreneur and resident at Harvard Business School, defines waste as "any activity that does not contribute to learning about customers."
The Lean Startup includes real stories and experiences from dynamic companies of today.
Reading Tip: 5 Books to Boost Your UX Design Career!