Sure, I wowed you with my thousands of hours of research conducted, right? I’m definitely an experienced person on this subject, right? Kinda.

Thanks, Leslie.

I’ve only been doing this whole research-y thing-a-majig for a few years. There are people out there with dozens of years of experience on this. I’ve been lucky enough to be mentored by some of the greats — but if you really want to learn more about user research there are a ton of awesome books and workshops you can attend.


  1. Contextual Design by Hugh Beyer and Karen Holtzblatt. Karen lectured my class at Carnegie Mellon about contextual design — which is the academic term for this modern-day user-centered research and design we do today. Their book is the foundation upon which you can start building.
  2. This is Service Design Thinking by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider. This book solidified my early decisions to enter this world. It’s a beautiful book that is approachable and acts as the exposition to this field. Buy the physical copy of this book.
  3. Service Design: From Insight to Inspiration by Andy Polaine, Lavrans Løvlie, and Ben Reason. A small book that I’ve read multiple times. It’s very particle and clear. This is focused more on service design that specifically digital product design, but I find it’s quite applicable.
  4. Just Enough Research by Erika Hall / Research Together workshop from Mule Design. I love Erika Hall. If you have a chance to attend one of her workshops, which she conducts through her firm Mule Design, do. This book is a great introduction that I’ve used to educate those inside and outside a design team on why research matters. It makes a great workbook club selection.
  5. Universal Methods of Design by Bruce Hanington and Bella Martin. This is by far the most comprehensive and practical book I’ve included. It contains simple, clear instructions on how to conduct over 100 different user research methods. Keep a volume on your desk as a reference.


I’ll continue to include more resources as I find them. And if you’re just getting into product design, I recommend finding a way to build a strong foundation in user-centered research and design. Books are a great start, as are fun side projects with friends. Avoid boot camps. Go back to school and find an awesome professor to learn from. Seriously. (I just linked to some great ones.)