It’s no secret we get a lot of people who are new to the UX profession here. While brainstorming ideas for YouTube videos a while back, Twitter user @kermaani requested some resources UXers could use to keep their career moving forward.
While I’m releasing that video tomorrow, I wanted to provide the list to you fine folk today because I believe that UXMastery’s forums is the most useful place I could post this information for new UXers. Without further ado, here’s everything I use to keep my knowledge and career on-point.
UXMastery.com - How could I not start with the group that has helped me the most in getting me where I am today? UXMastery was full of everything I needed to get up-and-running when I first dipped my toes in the UX waters, and now that I’m more established they keep me coming back with more advanced content and the best UX community on the internet.
ux.StackExchange.com - Maybe known best for its programming communities, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that StackExchange has a thriving group of UXers asking and answering questions. It’s a superb place to search through answers to similar issues you’re experiencing now, ask questions if you’re stumped, or hone your skills by answering questions from the UX ether. From a practical standpoint, this may be the best place to practice UX on the internet.
UXBooth.com - Focused on providing introductory-to-intermediate level instruction and information, UXBooth is an excellent source of knowledge for budding UX professionals.
Smashing Magazine’s Usability & User Experience Section - one of the premier names in design publishing, Smashing Magazine prides itself on creating unique, insightful content that you won’t find anywhere else.
NNGroup.com - Long considered the end-all, be-all usability experts, NNGroup.com’s thought leadership articles date back to the early 90’s. What’s crazy is how much - and how little - has changed in that time. Even with decades of articles and studies available online, they do an excellent job of keeping things updated. Chance are if you have a usability question, you can find an answer on NNGroup.com.
@WhatUsersDo - While they are primarily in the business of selling UX testing software, you’d never know it from their Twitter feed. They do a better job of engaging the UX community than any other company on the site, bar none. Between gathering expert opinions on trending UX issues to running the best, industry-leader-run UX discussion sessions on Twitter (search for #UXChat on Thursdays at 11 AM EST), they do more to promote UX in general than their own platform, and that’s a win for the UX community at large.
@JoeNatoli - Our very own @joenatoli has an excellent Twitter account, sending out insightful UX thoughts from his own well-written website, his various UX podcasts, and the Twitter world in general. It’s no secret to anyone here on UXMastery that I’m a big fan of Joe’s, but not everyone knows that he was my very first UX follow on Twitter. I’ve never had occasion to regret it, and I’m confident I never will.
@SarahDoody - Full of great UX tips, products, and thoughts, Sarah has been the genesis for more than one of my big ideas (shameless plug for #LetsFixBoarding here). I go to her feed for inspiration and insight on a daily basis, and she never disappoints.
@darkpatterns - Learning good UX design is as much about learning what to do as it is what to avoid. To that end, @darkpatterns (run by the fine folk at darkpatterns.org) highlights all that’s wrong in the world of UX. Showcasing the sneaky, underhanded, and deceptive practices some companies use to leverage our decision making processes against us, @darkpatterns is a fascinating study of psychology and the problems with HCI.
The User Experience Team of One by Leah Buley - UX is, too often, a solo endeavour at many companies. Never has there been a better guide to starting in UX and building a culture of great design on your own than this work from Leah Buley. It’s a must-read for any UXer getting their feet wet - and totally on their own in their business.
The Monster List of UX Book Recommendations - If this list of books is short, it’s because @chrisoliver did the footwork to make it so by combining every good read in the UX world into a single Google Sheet. Searchable and well-maintained, you can find a book for any UX topic here.
/r/WeWantPlates - The number of annual restaurant visits for most Americans is increasing. With so many people and meals being served, restaurants are looking for ways to stand out in today’s crowded market. Some do this by making better food. Others do it by taking away our God **** plates. From bacon cooked and served on a clothesline (a far inferior method to a campfire) to deserts served on iPads, /r/WeWantPlates all about the user experience of the modern restaurant, and the absurd turn that it’s taken. /r/WeWantPlates is a reminder to never forget the needs and end goal of the users.
/r/DamnThatsInteresting - Nearly every post over here is, at its core, about a fascinating solution to someone’s problem, and the story behind it. I could spend hours watching people making easy under-stairs parking solutions and thermite canons and self-closing pill bottles and… crap, what was I doing again? The experiences highlighted here stand in stark contrast to /r/WeWantPlates in one key way. While both are visually interesting, what we see over at /r/DamnThatsInteresting is whimsical and functional. It’s the experience here that stands out, and we as UX professionals can’t forget that piece of our puzzle.
/r/OfCourseThatsAThing - a place all about the lengths which people will go to solve very specific problems or meet specific needs. Half /r/WeWantPlates wacky, half /r/DamnThatsInteresting whimsy, /r/OfCourseThatsAThing serves to illustrate that where there’s a problem, there’s an (often unreasonable but ingenuitive) solution. Would I design – or even contemplate – 90% of what shows up on /r/OfCourseThatsAThing? Hell, no. But you know what? I am not the user. If /r/OfCourseThatsAThing underlines anything, it’s staying curious about our users and their needs.
/r/AssholeDesign - Have you ever felt that something was designed by complete jerks? If so, you could post it here to be among its family. /r/AssHoleDesign is all about all of the frustrating, ignorant, dumb, and plain malicious designs the world encounters on a day-to-day basis, both offline and online. It’s a constant reminder that design should be used for good, not evil - no matter how tempting or hilarious the outcome might be.
Making UX Work - The UX podcast ecosystem is full of best-practice tips and tricks from the experts, which is great - unless you want to know what it’s actually like to work in UX. Enter @joenatoli’s “Making UX Work” podcast, where Joe spends an hour interviewing a full-time UXer on the front lines of making UX work for their company. If you’re looking for peek behind the curtain into the trials and triumphs of everyday UX work, you need look no further.
Why’d You Push That Button? - From the folk over at The Verge, this podcast is dedicate to answering one question: why did you push that button? This podcast is an interesting examination of the psychology behind the choices we make when interacting with a website. With listener stories and anectdotes mixed in, it’s hard not to find this podcast endearing and fascinating.
What would you add?
That’s my list, but I want to hear yours. What would you add to the list?
Edit: My video talking about four favorites of the list (including UXMastery) is now up-and-running as the very first video on my YouTube channel. There’s nothing there that isn’t already included here, but if you’d like to watch it anyway, feel free to to give it a go and consider subscribing. Cheers!