Great designers are great students. We learn from our peers, from our mentors, and from all the resources available to us today.
It’s a great time to be a user experience designer. You’ll find no shortage of excellent resources on the web from some of today’s top experts. In this post, we’ll explain 20 of our favorites (in no particular order).
Thorough, practical, and informed, Smashing Magazine features in-depth explanations on topics too advanced for other sites. No fluff pieces here.
Think of A List Apart as the New Yorker of web design ezines: sophisticated, but casual enough to be entertaining — and also with memorable cartoons. The gold standard when it comes to learning about anything related to web design.
The peer-written journal Boxes and Arrows offers genuine advice from actual designers, and covers more UX-relevant topics than mainstream sites.
The free design library from the collaborative prototyping app UXPin releases roughly one free ebook a week.
You can find a goldmine of practical information in their library, which currently houses almost 70 guides ranging from 30 to 200+ pages. They also partner up with practicing designers to ensure the advice is actionable. Popular guides cover topics like interaction design best practices, visual UX, and web UI best practices.
When it comes to usability research, it’s hard to find a more reliable name than the Nielsen Norman Group. One of the founders, Don Norman, actually coined the term “user experience.” The NNg posts their user research studies and the how to apply them, a perfect resource for hands-on user data.
The different approach of UX Myths is what gives it an edge: the site lists common but untrue myths about UX design, and cites links, facts, and studies proving why the myths are false.
Web design blogs are only as good as their authors, and that’s the strength of Measuring U. Jeff Sauro brings his years of experience in usability to his company’s blog for real-world, tried-and-true advice.
Tackling some of the more complex issues, the prolific blog for the Foolproof Agency dives head first into the science and theory behind web design. They even occasionally feature video presentations that, at 40 minutes, feel like online courses.
Personally, I like Usability Geek because it focuses on the intersection between design and business. You’ll find plenty of articles on the site about improving conversions, designing for business needs, and design trends that impact the bottom line.
Deviating from the ezine format, User Experience Stack Exchange is like Quora exclusively for UX design. Here’s you’ll find the frank opinions of real-life experts who don’t have time to write standard blogs.
Web Designer Depot is a reliable standard for web design articles, with advice on popular topics and occasionally even interviews. This site isn’t afraid to get technical, diving into advanced topics like microcopy and live data.
While not as flashy as the other design ezines, Speckyboy stays true to its roots with genuinely useful advice on UX and other web design subjects. In general, most articles fall into the best practices/useful advice genre, though suited for beginners and experts alike.
UX Booth truly specializes in UX over other areas of web design. Readers can even search content by subcategories like Information Architecture or Content Strategy, unlike other sites where “UX” is general subcategory.
Fast Company examines web design through a lens of business.
In addition to thoughtful best practice pieces, this ezine also examines the true environment and market our designs live in. Fast Company has more op-ed pieces than the other, more practice-based blogs, which can challenge or enhance your own philosophies on the craft and build a fuller understanding.
Jobs, events, and standard advisory articles: UX Magazine is the closest to a full-fledged trade magazine UX designers can find. This site creates a community with location-based listings for conferences, talks, workshops, informal meetups, and classes. With a depth of material and a dedicated focus on UX, chances are you’ll find whatever you’re looking for here, perhaps even a better-paying job.
Designmodo is another trustworthy source of UX articles covering both standard and obscure design topics. Going beyond the usual blog posts, this site also offers tutorials on UX software and a small eshop for UI kits and a few other tools.
Webcredible works because they take a human approach to the industry. In addition to tips and advice, they offer more down-to-earth topics that are just as relevant, such as how to get out of unnecessary job training, or what Mad Men teaches us about UX design.
Unlike others on this list, Digital Telepathy features regular interview segments, the Practitioner’s Series. This Q&A with industry leaders provides deep and rare insights from real-life success stories.
The Next Web branches out from traditional web design topics and delves into the minutiae, with subcategories for pieces specific to technology, app design, finance, and new sites. The casual tone and eclectic range of topics make this a nice getaway from more concentrated best practice sites.
Creative Bloq is not a web design ezine, which gives it an advantage in this list. This site is geared to all designers and digital artists alike, and offers posts on art and graphic software techniques as well as design tips. Read it to expand your knowledge of the visual aspects of web design outside of topics the other sites are publishing.
BONUS: 15 Honorable Mentions
The following is a list of other excellent user experience blogs that did not make it in this list but are so good that they are still worth a mention. So please be sure to check them out as well!
- 52 Weeks of UX
- Invision Blog
- Luke W
- Optimal Workshop’s Blog
- The IxD Library
- UsabilityTools’ Blog
- Usabilla’s Blog
- Useful Usability
- User Interface Engineering’s Articles
- UserFocus’ Articles & Resources
- UserTesting’s Blog
- UserZoom Blog
- UX Mastery
- UX Matters
- UX Movement
Also, be sure to check out our round up of the top 10 free design guides of 2015!
The abundance of web design resources is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, curious readers are never lacking for places to find information, but on the other, an overflooded market makes it hard to find the truly helpful materials.
Find your favorites from the sites above, and check back often. Ours is an ever-changing industry, and that helpful list of best practices from a few years ago might not be so helpful today.
P.S. Do you know of a user experience blog or resource that we have missed and you feel it should be on this list? We’d love to know! Please suggest it via the comments section below.
(Lead image: Depositphotos)