The world of user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design has taken front and center stage: everyone seems to know the buzzwords, and your boss and/or clients want to know what you can do to improve their hardware or product.
To stay at the forefront of your field, it’s essential to stay current – to read about the latest developments in human-centered design; to allow the best of the best to inspire and inject creativity into your own designs; to read, discuss and debate various points, merits, and opinions in the field of UX and UI.
And that’s where blogs come in. The following list highlights some of the best – a whopping 50, in all – blogs on user experience and user interface design. Some of our picks are authored by just one blogger, while other pool the knowledge of thought leaders and experts in their fields. All are excellent. All will entertain, educate and inspire. So enjoy. Learn. Discuss. Disagree. Catch up on the world of UX and UI – and have fun while you’re at it.
Please note: the following blogs are in no particular order.
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This tumblr blog is a UX treasure chest, co-written by Joshua Porter, an interface and product designer, and Joshua Brewer, former Director of UX at Socialcast.com and Principal Designer at Twitter. The blog spans 52 weeks from 2010 to 2011, and manages to stay current by covering enduring user experience topics – the questions and opinions that designers will likely always ask. While many of the posts focus on the web, hardware designers will find dozens of interesting tidbits. 52 Weeks gets bonus points for the awesome sketches that accompany each post.
Useful Usability is, indeed, a useful blog about usability. Authored by Craig Tomlin, this addition to our list covers lots of online topics – but throws in plenty of information on usability and user experience that will benefit hardware developers and product designers. The blog is not always current, but flip through the archives for lots of great, still relevant posts.
For the interaction designers out there, there is the IxD Library – a collection, curated by Dan Saffer, of quotes, books, presentations and articles that cover the best, most influential topics related to interaction design. Unlike many of the other blogs on our list, the IxD Library focuses only on IxD – there’s no usability or general experience design or information architecture discussed here, except as it directly relates to interaction design.
Boxes and Arrows is one of the web’s most popular blogs on design, including information architecture, interaction design, and business design. The peer-written journal covers an incredible range of posts, many related to hardware and interface design. Posts are broken down into general topics, including design principles, processes and methods, interfaces, deliverables and documentation, software and tools, workplace and career, and discovery, research and testing. And for further, more in-depth reading, we particularly enjoy Boxes and Arrows’ book reviews.
Core77 is one of the biggest names in design blogs, and for good reason: since 1995, it has served up research-rich articles, design competitions, forums, and other resources for industrial designers. The Core77 blog offers timeless articles on topics related to product and hardware design, as well as new technology, creativity, your work environment, and other elements of interest.
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Felt Presence is the digital home to Ryan Singer, Product Manager at Basecamp. While Singer is currently on a blogging hiatus, his past material is still worth your browsing: posts on user interface design, product management, teamwork, and other topics will pique the interest of product designers, UI professionals, and UX designers.
7. UX Colombo
Headquartered in Sri Lanka, UX Colombo is the collaborative work of designers and other creatives dedicated to improving the user experience. Founders Lasitha Rajakaruna and Shiran Weerasinghe regularly contribute, as do a host of guest bloggers. Posts cover a range of topics, from common mistakes in UX and usability, to case studies on good (and bad) design.
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Akendi’s UX Reflections is a self-described showcase of ideas and thoughts related to creating intentional experiences – inspiration and insights on anything and everything UX. As with many user experience blogs, UX Reflections blends topics of web design and product design, but the blog makes it easy to find posts of interests with useful categories: graphic design, interaction design, research, strategy, and technology.
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Wireframes Magazine is the brainchild of Jakub Linowski, a Toronto-based interaction designer. A lot of Jakub’s posts relate to website design, but many of his posts are applicable to product and hardware development – the creativity, processes, and collaboration involved in building a better, more usable product for your audience. If you’re willing to sort through the chaff, Wireframes is an excellent resource on UI.
10. Creative Bloq
Creative Bloq is an incredible creative resource from the minds at Future PLC, a digital publisher that creates content over many topics and channels. You’ll likely find several online magazines of interest, but we particular enjoy the offerings in the UX, inspiration, hardware, and creativity categories. Many topics are of general interest and many others focus on web design, not product design, so you’ll have to sift through for articles that suit you. Bottom line: it’s worth the scrolling.
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Konigi, authored by Michael Angeles, is a blog for interface designers. Sharing tools, resources, and current events related to UI and interface design, Konigi is broken down into useful categories like UX tools, a user interface wiki and, of course, Konigi’s blog, which overflows with related posts on a host of topics that designers will devour with avid interest.
12. Adaptive Path
Adaptive Path is a distinguished UX consulting firm – and the creative mind behind the Adaptive Path idea blog, which publishes frequent posts on user experience and design. We applaud their event coverage – great recaps, if you can’t make it to industry workshops, conferences, and events yourself – and love the inside look at UX and user design, agency style.
13. EE Times
If you think that EE Times, the Electrical Engineering Times, doesn’t seem like an online home for UX and UI professionals – you’d be wrong. Sure, there are plenty of web and mobile design topics being bandied about, but there are also whole categories devoted to industrial control, medical engineering, analog design, power management, and test & measurement. This is one of those resources with nearly infinite depths; you’ll always find something of interest.
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Upverter is all about hardware and technology that solves humanity’s biggest problems with transportation, energy, agriculture, water and more – the Big Questions facing us in the coming years and decades. The team, lead by founders Zak Homuth, Stephen Hamer, and Michael Woodworth, post awesomely interesting content about product design with a human twist – user experience and human-centered design.
15. Hello Erik
Authored by Erik Flowers, Principal Service Experience Designer at Intuit, Hello Erik is a blog dedicated to user interface, user experience, and product design. Granted, you’ll find content related to web design and online topics, but Flowers’ topics in user experience are universal and may be applied to hardware design and product development.
16. Yanko Design
If you live for product inspiration, you’re going to love Yanko Design. Billed as a blog about “form beyond function,” Yanko showcases some of the most innovative and sometimes off-the-wall product designs. This one is not so much about the how or the why of user experience, as it is about the end result – the bold and beautiful finale culminating in inspired, human-fueled design. Think of it as brain candy.
You’ve heard of Smashing Magazine, but did you know they have an entire category dedicated to user experience design? Sub-categories include usability, user experience, UI design, and e-commerce, and cover a diverse smorgasbord of topics that will interest interface and hardware designers. Many posts are geared more toward web designers, but many are applicable across UX topics.
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Gamasutra is all about the business of making games, but its lessons are applicable to a much wider audience than just game designers. In fact, Gamasutra’s exploration of human psychology, user tendencies and preferences, product development & testing, and general UX wisdom puts a helpful – and fun – spin on your online reading. And if we’re being honest, we have to give Gamasutra bonus points for the inspired name.
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Bear with us on this one. Usabilia, like many usability blogs, is written with web designers in mind. That said, Usabilia dives into varied topics on the user experience, product research, analytics and visual design – all topics that product developers can absorb with interest. We particularly love Usabilia’s roundups of UX blog posts, infographics, and other great sources from around the web.
Disambiguity is the work of Leisa Reichelt, Head of User Research at Canada’s Government Digital Service. Reichelt’s blog publishes observations, reflections and design thoughts – topics that will engage any kind of UX professional. We particularly enjoy disambiguity’s conversational style, which offers a welcome break from some of the more formal UX magazines and blogs popular today.
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A psychology blog? About persuasion? No, we haven’t made a mistake and yes, we really do recommend The Web Psychologist. User experience and exceptional UI has a lot to do with the human mind – how we think, what makes us react, what feels intuitive, etc. And that’s part of what Nathalie Nahai, a.k.a. the “web psychologist,” discusses on her blog and podcast. So tune in. Learn something about your end user, and see how much better your hardware can be.
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Intuity is an innovative agency that designs user experiences – granted, for the web, but many of their insights apply to any kind of UI or UX designer. If you’re interested in industry design (e.g. automobile design), 3D technology, life science, and other related topics, have a look at intuity. We promise you’ll learn something, and have a good time while you’re at it.
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It’s only natural that Fast Company would have a design blog, and only right that it would be awesome. FC’s Design Blog features innovative design – a lot of it online but much of it in the real world: inspired architecture, products, and other user-centered developments that test limits (and the imagination). Fast Company won’t teach you how, but it’ll certainly show you why you should learn.
24. EDN Network
The EDN network was created for engineers, by engineers. This online community offers a wealth of resources, including a digital magazine brimming with information, articles and opinions on topics that interest you: systems design, analog, components and packaging, IC design, and more. Bonus: you can grab the RSS feeds for the entire site, or just your favorite topics.
25. Knovel Blog
The Knovel blog, also called the K-Exchange, is a lively forum for sharing technical and analytical information for engineers. Among the topics: design, of course, including the omnipresent elements of UI and UX. Best of all, Knovel’s blog is created and curated by its diverse user audience – applied scientists and engineers at leading universities, Fortune 500 companies, and other institutions on the forefront of hardware design and development.
26. UIE Brain Sparks
Don’t judge a book by its cover: the UIE Brain Sparks blog may not be as sleek and stylin’ as some of its counterparts, but it is rich with fresh thought and cutting-edge information. Like some of our other picks, Brain Sparks blends UX for web design with UX for product development, so you’ll need to read through to find the articles that resonate with your specialty. But do have a read-through, because the information here is golden.
Hop over the UXmatters for an introduction to one of the web’s most current and prolific blogs about the user experience. We love this blog for its sheer diversity of information and contributors – and the in-depth, meaty articles are a huge cherry on top. One of our favorite features is the ability to search UXmatters by topic, including category, recent posts, and the site’s all-time most popular articles.
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HCL is one of India’s biggest tech companies, and their blog consistently cranks out timely, accessible information. Our favorite category is Engineering and R&D services, which numbers almost 400 posts and covers topics related to product development, user experience, user interface, design and other relevant themes. We’re also fans of the ideas section
29. Usability Geek
Don’t let the “geek” in the title fool you: Usability Geek is not some wannabe hipster blog. In fact, if you’re looking for solid information from some of the web’s foremost usability experts, surf on over. Granted, much of the information is website usability but the human experience is the human experience and psychology is psychology: there’s a lot of info here to help you create better, more usable hardware products.
We love Jeff Sauro’s Measuring Usability blog; almost every post is bursting with tidbits, nuggets and goodies about bettering the user experience. And no wonder – Sauro is the founding principle of Measuring Usability LLC, a usability consultancy with Fortune 1000 companies as its clients. He’s also written four books and 20 journal articles on the user experience. It doesn’t get much more expert than this, folks.
GfK insights is an excellent resource – a compendium of insights, trends, current events and opinion related to product design and development. If you’re into consumer goods, you’ll find that. If you focus on UX for the travel & tourism industry, you’re covered. If you develop financial services, they have that, too. And of course, GfK has an entire section on user experience.
32. Pleasure & Pain
Though the title may bring to mind an entirely different blogging genre, Whitney Hess’s brilliant Pleasure & Pain is all about the human experience – your users’ pleasure and pain points, and how they apply to product development. Hess’s posts are always spot on, and we particularly love when she dives into her “how to’s” and dispels common UX myths and misunderstandings.
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Bloomberg Businessweek needs no introduction, but it’s Innovation & Design blog might. This awesome online resource is, even at its most general, complete inspiration. Hop on over, and let the posts – and photos – inspire you. (There’s great benefit to seeing how others do the same-old, same-old, differently.) Of course, there’s a lot more going on than just visual inspiration, too; the blog is full of interesting innovations, opinions and insights into how to build a better, more intuitive, more must-have product.
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Could there be a better name than Putting People First for a blog dedicated to user experience and experience design? We think not. As you scroll through the posts, you’ll find yourself nodding and affirming and generally thinking, “yes, yes, YES!” to the published insights: curated posts on using ethnography to develop more relevant ads, on the emotional relevancy of music, on design research for home healthcare products – everything UX professionals should think and do. An excellent resource.
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35. HFI Connect
HFI Connect is a collaborative effort from Human Factors International (HFI) to bring UX news, blog posts, and other resources to user experience professionals around the globe. The site has lots of great resources, including UX white papers and videos, and we’re particularly fond of the blog, which publishes somewhat sporadic but very information-rich posts about user experience and human-centered design.
Did you know that the ever-popular Mashable offers up an entire category of posts dedicated to user experience design? Many of the articles relate to UX for web designers, but many are discuss universal principles of user experience, like the importance of color and the emerging field of “brain-friendly” design.
TandemSeven is a UX design and development company, focusing on creating beautiful, user-focused and multi-channel experiences for their clients’ products. Their blog is an extension of their product, highlighting topics related to user experience and human-centered design: favorite books, project development, product design topics, and more.
38. UX Magazine
Like its name suggests, UX Magazine is an online magazine that covers various aspects of the user experience, including general design topics, usability, product design, and research methods. Dozens of contributors and thousands of subscribers (and their accompanying comments) make this one of the most popular and useful UX hubs on the web. You’ll have to weed through some web design and online UX content, but there’s plenty there to interest product and hardware designers.
By now, you know that we’re big fans of incorporating human psychology – users’ likes and dislikes, preferences, intuition, and other factors – into developing a positive, intuitive and human-centered user interface. Enter the Brain Lady Blog, a psychology and brain science resource headed by Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. There is just so much good here.
40. User Focus
The name says it all: User Focus is about human-centered design and development. The brainchild of a usability consultancy and training firm, the blog publishes regular articles on – surprise! – usability, as well as user experience design and product testing. There’s a lot here about web design, but many (most, even) of the User Focus resources can be extrapolated to hardware development.
41. Johnny Holland
Johnny Holland is like the hip, fun UX professional – with post comparing user experience to professional wrestling and other make-you-laugh topics. Unfortunately, Holland and his band of merry contributors pushed the pause button two years ago, but he’s left his archives up as a helpful and, somehow, still very current resource for UX professionals.
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42. EffectiveUI Blog
The EffectiveUI blog keeps its finger on the pulse of user interface design and how it’s changing and molding the human experience. We love the event coverage and expert advice, from both the UI team and from contributing thought leaders. Like other resources on our list, the EffectiveUI blog blends website UX with product UX, so you’ll have to pick and choose which posts best apply to your work.
This is another favorite blog title of ours, because it just works so well. Designing for people is about, well, designing for people – for your personas, your audience, your users. There are some excellent interviews floating around the site, as well as links to informative external resources, like Ted Talks and videos. Bottom line: Designing for People is a solid, enlightening addition to our list.
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44. Design Thinking
Simplicity is a beautiful thing, and Design Thinking does simple well: uncluttered and with a straightforward design, this design blog is easy to navigate and even easier to enjoy. Posts revolve around good design and excellent user experiences, with extra helpings of design inspiration, career advice, and creative daydreaming (e.g. tree house offices!).
If you love Wired’s typical wit and cutting-edge articles, you’ll love its Innovation Insights – a blog on new thinking for the new era. As its name suggests, Innovation Insights focuses on the newest and greatest everything for 21st century product development and design, including enterprise, data, business, and technology topics. There’s a lot of mobile, website, and other digital design mixed in, so pick and choose which posts most appeal to you and your specialty.
UXPin is one of our picks that you have to read with a generalized eye. Focused mostly on user experience from a website perspective, UXPin delves into human-centered web design – but there’s still plenty of insight to be had for hardware developers and designers. Definitely check out their posts on user experience, and you’ll find plenty of resources related to the impact of UX on product development.
Usability is big business: create an intuitive, highly usable and enjoyable product, and your profits skyrocket. Keepitusable is all about researching, discussing and improving product usability, based on factors like human behavior, ergonomics, psychology, and other factors you don’t often find discussed in usability blogs.
There’s something to be said for straight-up design inspiration – human-centered products created with the user experience in mind. If you’re the type of UX/UI professional who gets a creative jolt from seeing and exploring good design, you have to check out Behance’s Industrial Design Served, a blog that features some of the coolest, slickest product designs on the market today.
Thinking Products, a blog from Clarice Technologies, focuses on UX design, UI technologies, and product development – an information trifecta for hardware designers and product developers. Their posts are incredibly well researched and in depth, and will link you out to even more reading, resources and information, should you feel the need or desire to dive down the rabbit hole.
50. Inspire UX
Catriona Cornett is the user experience designer behind Inspire UX, a blog dedicated to building better human experiences. Though Cornett is a web designer, she blogs on topics that any UX professional can relate to: brainstorming, human psychology, helpful apps and resources, designer tips, and more.
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