Student Resources – UI/UX

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Hello students!

Below is a curated list of goodies to help you in your interactive design studies.  In this post we’re covering some essential UI/UX resources and readings.  We’re going to keep this list here on my personal site instead of Blackboard so it doesn’t get wiped at the end of the semester. I’ll update this as often as I can.


The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition, by Don Norman

Norman’s quintessential book on user experience. In it, he talks about how poor design can shape the experiences around objects in the physical world.

Design Better Book Series, by Aarron Walter and Eli Woolery

A series of books on product design, team building, and design thinking that can be read or listened to.  These include: “Principles of Product Design“, “Design Thinking Handbook“, and “Design Leadership Handbook.”

Designing Web Usability, by Jakob Nielsen

The great grand-pappy of interactive usability guidelines and case studies. While this book is technically old (it was originally published back in 1999), there’s still a lot to learn from it. It should probably be sitting on any respectable designer’s shelf. If you have never heard of Nielsen, he also writes a lot of articles and case studies on his consultancy’s site. ISBN: 978-1562058104

Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, by Steve Krug

(Semi) regularly updated, this book is now in its third edition. This is another great source for outlining UI design principles. It’s a quick read and Krug does a great job making the material easy-to-digest and understand. ISBN: 978-0321965516

Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Rules, by Jeff Johnson

Not only a quick read but also a very good one. This combines UX, HCI, and psychological principles together succinctly.  I used this as a source for my graduate thesis. Best of all: it’s super-cheap. While it is in its second edition, a used first edition paperback can likely be had for under $10.00. ISBN: 978-0123750303

The Elements of Typographic Style, by Robert Bringhurst

If you don’t already have a decent handle on typography, you’re going to need this. This is considered by many to be the bible of modern typography. Be warned: unless you’re really, really into type this is a dry read. Consider this as a companion to the much quicker Thinking with Type by Lupton.  Just buy it. ISBN: 978-0881792065

Web Redesign 2.0: Workflow that Works, by Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler

Goto and Cotler outline (in great detail) a modern process for planning, designing, and developing interactive products. Every part of the process is covered, including the creation of traditional UX, UI, and IA deliverables (think: user research/testing, personas, wireframes, comps, you name it). ISBN: 978-0735714335

UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want, by Jaime Levy

As of writing this, I am about 3 chapters into reading this book. It’s fantastic. Levy is outlining a full framework for blending brand, business, and UX strategy to create successful products, along with a few case studies. ISBN: 978-1449372866

A Book Apart Series

A series of short books for people who create websites and apps. This started with a handful of books and has now grown into a huge series and even a selection of briefs. My recommendations include: “Practical Design Discovery,” “Designing for Emotion,” “Responsive Web Design,” “Responsive Design: Principles and Patterns,” and “Designing for Touch.”


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

WCAG’s latest major revision to their accessibility guidelines. This was published in June 2018 and is more in-depth than the previous v2.0.

Web Accessibility Initiative Accessible Rich Internet Applications Working Group (WAI-ARIA) Best Practices 1.1

Brand new at the time of this writing – guidelines from the W3C’s Accessibility Working Group. For those who want to develop accessible applications. It’s dry like a normal W3C doc but could be useful.

iOS Human Interface Guidelines

Apple publishes a series of interface and visual design guidelines pertaining to products on their iOS platform. Here you’ll find guidance on common design principles (imagery, typography, layout), design patterns, interface affordances, brand usage, etc. These were redesigned recently and if my memory serves me correctly – this used to be much more detailed. It’s still a decent resource.

MacOS Human Interface Guidelines

Similar to the guidelines for iOS above, Apple has published some guidance that pertains to their desktop operating system.

Android Developers User Interface Guidelines

Google has put together a set of resources for designers and developers creating experiences for their Android platform.  Design patterns, UI considerations, and even icon design are covered here.

Google Material Design

An overview of Google’s Material Design system. Material Design is a “unified system that combines theory, resources, and tools for crafting digital experiences.”

Windows UX Design Principles

Enough said, right? Microsoft’s UI/UX guidelines for designing products for the Windows Desktop.

Usability and user experience guidelines from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

GSA US Open Web Design Standards

United States government standards for UI design patterns. It was originally introduced a couple years ago. I’d be interested to know how many agencies have actually adopted (or are even aware of) these standards. Interesting read.

United States Section 508 Standards

Standards for creating accessible experiences that comply with Section 508 of the American Rehabilitation Act. User Interface Design Pattern Library

This site is extremely handy and is broken up into two areas: one area that shows screenshots of common design patterns, and another that explains the thoughts behind each effective pattern.


Smashing Magazine’s UX Design Archive

Smashing Magazine has some great articles on not only User Experience and User Interface Design, but all manner of interactive design.

The Nielsen-Norman Group

If you missed the mention above – check out Jakob Nielsen’s website. You’ll find some very interesting entries under “studies” and “articles.”

MIT Press Journal of Design and Science

Worth mentioning. If you’re looking for some fresh scholarly works on design – look here. As of my writing (March 2017) there isn’t too much, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a few articles or discussions on modern interface design popped up. Keep an eye on this.

iA: Information Architects

iA is an agency with offices in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan. They also happen to have a great selection of articles on design and IA.

Jason Occhipinti
// About the Author

Jason Occhipinti

Jason Occhipinti is a designer and developer from Upstate New York. He's an MFA graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and when he's not running Positive Space LLC, he's teaching communication and interactive design at PrattMWP and Lindsey Wilson College. He also sometimes likes to talk in the third person.