The best books for understanding user research

The Books I Picked & Why

Just Enough Research

By Erika Hall

Book cover of Just Enough Research

Why this book?

In Just Enough Research, Erika Hall masterfully explains the value of user research and how to do it both practically and effectively. I love this book for many reasons, primarily because it’s a timeless and accessible introduction to user research concepts. I also lean on Just Enough Research when my own words fail me and I need a concise and compelling argument for including research in a product or design effort.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights

By Steve Portigal

Book cover of Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights

Why this book?

Listening to users is essential to product design and development, full stop. Interviews allow us to understand who uses our products and the contexts our products fit into, and Steve Portigal demonstrates how to do it like a pro in Interviewing Users. Steve breaks down every angle of the interview process, from planning to conducting to documentation. (I particularly love Steve’s approach to the interview field guide in chapter 3!)


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Field Study Handbook

By Jan Chipchase

Book cover of The Field Study Handbook

Why this book?

The Field Study Handbook is both a guide to international field research and a beautiful work of art. Jan Chipchase comprehensively covers every possible consideration for the planning and execution of global field research, including such topics as travel logistics, lodging guidance, division of labor, and working with local guides. Jan’s deep experience from the front lines of field research comes across on every beautifully illustrated page.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems

By Christian Madsbjerg, Mikkel B. Rasmussen

Book cover of The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems

Why this book?

Authors Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen run consulting company ReD, where they put ​​anthropologists, sociologists, economists, journalists, and designers together to deeply understand humans in service of their clients. In The Moment of Clarity, the authors share their methods and approach via rich case studies, including their impactful work supporting LEGO in better aligning its products to its customers.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody

By Abby Covert

Book cover of How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody

Why this book?

If you're a researcher, designer, content strategist, writer, developer, etc., you work with information. And while that information might be understandable to you, it likely isn't clear to your audience or users. That's where this book comes in. Abby Covert transforms the scary, frustrating process of bringing order to information and makes it feel achievable in this enjoyable read.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists