Top 50 UX Resources 2021

For UX professionals. Hand-curated for students at Career Foundry on the Intro to UX and UX immersion courses.
HOW TO USE: Select at least 1 from the blue or grey boxes e.g. BOOK + #General-Reading           Please refresh the page after every search!

Book:
24 amazing design books
#Advanced-Reading
#Colour
#Design
#General-Reading
#Inspiration

24 amazing design books

business advice, inclusive design guidance, creative inspiration

Approach / Technique:
Adobe XD Tutorials
#Design-Skills
#Design
#Design-Help
#Free

Adobe XD Tutorials

Quick start right from basic to laying out your first project in about an hour

Make sure you know these productivity approaches when starting out with Adobe XD

Website:
Blobbb fun
#Design-Tools
#Design
#Free
#Graphic-Design
#Tool

Blobbb fun

A free tool for anyone to create and download SVG blob-like shapes online

Quickly and easily create shapes to put into designs with flat colour, gradients or patterns. Download as an SVG which can be further edited, or as code.

Adobe XD Shortcuts
#Design
#Design-Help
#Design-Skills
#Design-Tools
#Folio-Design

Adobe XD Shortcuts

Great design is created by many iterations, therefore speed is paramount and shortcuts are the way!

Copy and paste keyboard shortcuts are amazing tools, but imagine if you had 50+ of these super-powers under your belt?! Design is a competitive world, and professional designers are fast. You absolutely need these shortcuts - learn them and use them on a daily basis until it's second nature. Best used alongside a wacom tablet (and largish screen)

Website:
UX Mastery
#General-Reading
#Theory

UX Mastery

Learning community for human-centred designers

Article topics include 'ask the experts', 'Career Advice' and a podcast

Software:
Miro
#Design-Sprints
#Design-Tools
#Presentations
#Tool
#Collaboration

Miro

An Online Whiteboard & Visual Collaboration Platform

When running design sprints or other types of team collaboration, this tool is very useful whether in the same room or for an online team. e.g. everyone breaks out to spend 5 minutes coming up with ideas, and work blooms all over the artboard.

Article / List / Review:
UX Myths
#UX

UX Myths

UX Myths collects the most frequent user experience misconceptions and explains why they don't hold true. And you don't have to take our word for it, we'll show you a lot of research findings and articles by design and usability gurus.

Article / List / Review:
Nielsen Norman Group
#UX
#Design

Nielsen Norman Group

A huge collection of evidence-based research, articles, and reports related to UX designing

The oldest firm helping build a great user experience. From providing articles to holding conferences all across the globe

Collection:
6 free resource downloads
#Free
#Images
#Fonts
#Graphic-Design
#Design

6 free resource downloads

every week from creative market

Every week there's a new selection of goodies to download - Vectors, Textures, Graphics, Images, Fonts and more!

Collection:
Freepik
#Free
#Images
#Device-Mockups
#Icons
#Presentations

Freepik

Device mockups and images to download

Create a beautiful mock up of your design on a mobile phone, a tablet, a laptop a desktop or all of these. Showcase the designs in your portfolio in context

Company:
Patagonia
#Real-World-Folio-Work
#NGO

Patagonia

Fighting Climate Change

Real life work examples in your portfolio are impressive to potential employers - here's an opportunity

Approach / Technique:
Backups
#Files
#Security

Backups

External hard-drive or automated software backup

Make it a habit to back up your work to an external hard drive regularly. During the course, at least once per month so you don't lose your portfolio work

Approach / Technique:
Folder structures
#Portfolio
#Organising

Folder structures

As you progress through the course and create your projects, it's a good idea to keep them really well organised so that you don't have to search through loads of files later. I recommend project folders with a structure inside something like Brief, User research, Personas, Designs, User Testing, Results and more as you see fit.

Approach / Technique:
Browser bookmarks
#Resource-Management
#Organising

Browser bookmarks

Keep your best resources and tools organised in your browser bookmarks

Software:
Asana
#Project-Management

Asana

Similar to Trello or Monday.com but this is the best

Asana is a great way to manage your tasks and keep resources organised.

Collection:
Hand drawn wireframe Kit for Adobe XD
#Wireframes
#UI-Kit
#Templates

Hand drawn wireframe Kit for Adobe XD

Software:
iMovie - Mac only
#Video-Editing
#Presentations

iMovie - Mac only

May not be the best choice, but you can import your audio file and create a video presentation.

Software:
Google slides
#Presentations

Google slides

Easy, free, can import nicely designed elements from Adobe XD

Software:
Audacityteam
#Audio-Editing
#Presentations

Audacityteam

Easily edit your presentation audio

For 'intro to UX' task 7, you need to make a presentation. One good way is to write a script, record the audio, edit the audio, then create the visual presentation to match the audio file in Powerpoint or Google slides and record the screen as you change the slides in time with the audio. Then just match up the audio and video file in something like Imovie. To make it easier on yourself and allow you to cut out the odd stumble, you can use something like 'audacityteam.org/' to edit your audio. What I do, is if I make a mistake on a sentence, I just say the whole sentence again, and edit it all later. It's easier than you might think

Platform:
Bubble
#Web-Design
#Database

Bubble

Bubble is the most powerful no-code platform, empowering entrepreneurs to build production-ready web apps

Huge learning curve plus knowledge of programming logic needed, but you can build almost anything with this, however you need a third party to get an app into the app store, so look into that before using for a native app.

Platform:
Adobe Portfolio
#Folio-Design

Adobe Portfolio

I haven't used this, but it's likely really easy to create a folio, BUT you have to have an active subscription to Adobe (min €11.89/month) - if so, this is a poor option because UX designers don't particularly need expensive Adobe apps, when you have free Figma and free Adobe XD as your main design app. The only reason this would be a potential choice is if you choose to get the subscription of Adobe XD so that you can put more than 1 live clickable prototype into your projects. Even then, Wix is a competitor (with monthly costs to link to your own domain)

Platform:
Wordpress
#Web-Design

Wordpress

Can seem quite technical for beginners, not great user interface, personally I would avoid. If you do use it, try Elementor plugin for drag and drop, plus Divi template for ease of use.

Platform:
Squarespace
#Web-Design

Squarespace

The easiest drag and drop builder, but also the most limited. Responsive. It cannot do different code for mobile.

Platform:
Webflow
#Web-Design

Webflow

Medium learning curve. The best for 'Designers' who don't want to code by hand, but have a knowledge of HTML, CSS, CSS Grid and Flexbox. Very creative, you can build almost anything, but limited when it comes to complex sites requiring complex database backends e.g. if you wanted to build a site like Etsy or Amazon, then go for Bubble.io instead

Platform:
Wix
#Web-Design

Wix

Drag and drop, ideal for beginners, limited mobile responsiveness.

Article / List / Review:
Graphic design software list
#Graphic-Design

Graphic design software list

Software:
Affinity Designer
#Design-Tools
#Graphic-Design

Affinity Designer

Like photoshop and illustrator all in one affordable app

Pixel persona handles photo based elements (Like Adobe Photoshop), Vector persona handles vector elements (like Adobe illustrator)

Software:
Sketchapp
#UI-Design

Sketchapp

The old favourite UI design tool before Figma OK, but not as good as Figma or XD, and not used in the industry so much now, in Europe at least

Software:
Figma
#UI-Design

Figma

share prototypes with team members via collaboration, activity log, analytics/reporting, version control

The most popular UI design tool in European companies in my experience because it has more team features, however XD is nicer for individual use with efficient features like repeat grid

Software:
Adobe XD
#UI-Design
#Presentations
#Graphics
#Graphic-Design
#Free

Adobe XD

Create web designs for all screen sizes, share clickable prototypes, embed prototypes into your portfolio pages, auto animation, responsive resize, repeat grid

My favourite UI design tool, I think better for animations and interactions, but not as strong as Figma for team usage. The free version is the full software, the only limits: one active shared document, two editors and one active shared link. This is okay for trying out the software, but it isn't much good if you want other team members, stakeholders or clients to be able collaborate on your designs.

TOP TIP! Create graphics in Free XD to use in your presentations! Use the free version of XD to create great looking .png elements to drop into your slides/movie. You can give the artboard a transparent background too (artboard = no fill) and then export as a png so there's no white rectangular backgrounds

Sharing and collaboration usage limits on the Starter plan? Share links: 1 active shared link - €11.89/ month for unlimited shared prototype links, PDF Exports and video exports. For students first year, ALL adobe apps (inc photoshop etc = US$239.88/yr.

Article / List / Review:
Review of design tools
#Design-Tools

Review of design tools

Collection:
Font pairs
#Design-Skills
#Design-Help

Font pairs

When you choose fonts for a CV or your portfolio, or for a project, the fonts are very important. One quick way to make an attractive readable choice, is to choose a font pair, one for the headings and one for the body copy. This link is just one example of a font pairing site, search for many more. Ths one is good because it has the google fonts.

Collection:
Google fonts
#Free
#Fonts

Google fonts

These fonts are free to use in websites, and you can download them for use in your design software too. Generally I only offer google fonts to clients, because other fonts generally cost $ and technical fiddling is necassary

Collection:
UI kits for Adobe XD
#UI-Kit
#UI

UI kits for Adobe XD

Jumpstart your designs and if you didn't start with a design background, you can disguise it using these kits.

Collection:
Icons in SVG format
#Icons
#Free

Icons in SVG format

(vector which you can edit in Adobe XD)

There are so many of these icon sites, just always try to get an svg (vector format) because then you can edit it easily e.g. colours, rather than a pixel based jpg or png file

Collection:
Free images at Unsplash
#Images
#Free

Free images at Unsplash

Please credit the original creator as requested

Software:
OBS Studio
#Screen-Recording
#Tool
#Presentations
#User-Research
#User-Testing

OBS Studio

on user interviews, keep the small window of the user in the bottom corner so it doesn't go over the top of the screen that the user is interacting with. Pay attention to the file format, since some formats aren't good for editing software if you want to edit it later. For presentations you can You can either pre-record your audio, or talk as you click through your slides and record your screen to create your presentation. Probably there are several other ways to do this.

Website:
Convert lower case to uppercase or sentence case or vice versa
#Tool
#Text

Convert lower case to uppercase or sentence case or vice versa

Website:
Coolors
#Colour
#Tool

Coolors

Tool to create colour palettes

You can upload a photograph and extract a colour palette from it, this is useful to do with clients sometimes. Also good for gradients. Pay attention to the tutorial widget on first entry which teaches you how to generate random palettes just by hitting space-bar and many more extremely useful tips & time-savers.

Website:
Colour Theory for Web Designers
#General-Reading
#Colour
#Theory

Colour Theory for Web Designers

A good basic grounding for those with not so much artistic or graphic training

Website:
Daily UI
#UI
#UI-Challenge

Daily UI

1 UI design challenge emailed to you every day, good to put them up onto dribbble.com to extend your folio

Website:
Behance
#Inspiration

Behance

Social design site

Website:
Dribbble
#Inspiration

Dribbble

Social design site

Probably the top site to see other designers work. Easy to search for a keyword and get pages of results for inspiration

Book:
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
#Advanced-Reading
#Design-Sprints

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

by Jake Knapp

A very specific, pragmatic and realistic approach to solve the big questions in the early stages of new ventures

Book:
Design Thinking Methodology Book
#Advanced-Reading
#Design-Thinking

Design Thinking Methodology Book

by Emrah Yayici

Describes how to apply design thinking and lean and agile methodologies together

Book:
This Is Service Design Doing: Applying Service Design Thinking in the Real World
#Advanced-Reading
#Service-Design

This Is Service Design Doing: Applying Service Design Thinking in the Real World

by Marc Stickdorn, Markus Edgar Hormess, Adam Lawrence, Jakob Schneider

It's good for a UX designer to be aware of service design because it will often impact on your projects

Book:
Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience
#Advanced-Reading
#UX

Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience

by Jeff Gothelf, Josh Seiden

This book is part of the newer Lean movement, which followed Eric Ries 'Lean Startup' work

Book:
Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills
#Training
#Design-Skills

Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills

by David Sherwin

80 creative challenges that will help you achieve a breadth of stronger design solutions

Book:
The field guide to human centred design
#General-Reading
#Design-Thinking

The field guide to human centred design

Useful book on how to approach your design thinking process

Book:
Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
#General-Reading
#Usability

Don't Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

by Steve Krug

Specific about design for web

Book:
The Design of Everyday things
#General-Reading
#Design

The Design of Everyday things

by Donald Norman

Broadly about designing for humans. Raises your expectations about how things should be designed, is quite general and entertaining but has some old-fashioned looking diagrams (still relevant though!)

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