Top 10 resources for UX designers
There are good user experience (UX) designers and there are great UX designers. To reach the status of great, memorable, and notable, you have to keep growing and pushing yourself forward.
The best way to improve yourself as a graphic designer skills is to focus on learning, building your network, and soaking up all the inspiration you can. Fortunately, there are dozens of ways to make UX a regular part of your life, even outside the workday. You can curl up with a podcast, or seek out an industry-wide conference to network with other experts in your field. Better yet—do both!
Use this guide as a starting point to find some of the top resources for UX designers. These are our top picks for podcasters, YouTubers, and social media accounts that will encourage you to grow, connect, and stay inspired.
1. Best YouTube Channel: Mike Locke
Since 2009, Mike Locke has developed a UX YouTube channel where he gives advice to others within the industry. Today, he has more than 105K subscribers and his videos have more than 8 million views.
Locke is popular because he’s approachable. Many of his videos are short—just 5 to 10 minutes long—and address specific questions related to UX design. He also does longer live streams that extend to almost two hours, allowing you to dig deeper into a topic and the way his mind works. Whether you want a quick tutorial or a 2-hour session to nerd out on UX, Locke has you covered. Don’t forget to check the comments to find other UXers on YouTube who may be worth connecting with.
2. Best UX Podcast: User Defenders
The User Defenders podcast says it will, “help you become the best, most powerful UX designer (and human) you can be.” There are more than 75 episodes, which are sorted on their topics page to make your life easier. Topics covered include: accessibility, design thinking, leadership, product design, user research and a dozen more.
This podcast took a break toward the end of 2020, but shared a new episode in February 2021. Luckily, there’s plenty of older content to start with, whether they release new episodes or not, and don’t forget to listen to the interviews to meet some of the biggest names in UX design.
3. Best UX Book: 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
Written by Susan Weinschenk, 100 Things, covers the human behavior aspect of web usage. While you can master the technical elements of UX design and create unique front-end pages that attract people, you still need to form connections that make users convert.
Weinschenk covers everything from short-term memory to how people read. She busts myths and “best practices,” which can hold some UX designers back. Most importantly, this book allows you to answer why designers create pages in certain ways, rather than following a set of rules just because your mentor or professor told you to.
Knowing how to combine the technical and psychological aspects of UX separates the good designers from the best designers—and also makes you more valuable in your role.
4. Best Conference: ConveyUX
With almost every conference cancelled because of the pandemic, it’s hard to find a sense of community and share ideas with other professionals in the UX field. Fortunately, some conference hosts are getting creative with virtual discussions and events that you can join in on no matter where you are in the world.
ConveyUX developed a World Tour that features six events and 18 speakers across 18 cities and 11 countries. There are live presentations that are recorded and shared, along with one-on-one and group activities.
The event is happening every Thursday from April 2021 through September 2021 so there are plenty of chances to tune in. Check out their full schedule so you can choose the days that feature speakers and topics you want to learn more about.
5. Best Instagram Account: Two Habits Design
Two Habits Design (@twohabitsdesign) posts a daily UI/UX showcase with permission from the original creators. This is an essential account to follow if you gain inspiration from other designers in your field. Each post will credit the designer or agency, explain why the design is interesting, and provide background into the client.
Follow this account to get a daily dose of inspiration while also finding more agencies and designers to follow. The more designs you see, the more inspired you’ll be to get innovative and flex your creative muscles. Who knows, it may even inspire you to start sharing your projects on Instagram too.
6. Best Twitter Account: Irene Au
Irene Au (@ireneau) has extensive experience in the UX field, as the former head of design for Google, Yahoo, and Udacity. She’s currently a design partner at Khosla Ventures and shares updates that are valuable to UXers, like upcoming webinars and awards ceremonies. She also finds cool stories and articles that make you think about the people you design for; the psychology behind human behavior behind the work you do.
Even better, once you follow Irene, you’ll inevitably discover other UX professionals worth connecting with, allowing you to cultivate an even stronger digital network of UX experts.
7. Best Site for UX Design Inspiration: Niice
Niice pulls mood boards from several different sources, allowing you to gather inspiration when you’re just starting a fresh project. As you browse the best and latest designs from across the web, you may find your wheels are turning with fun new ideas to try yourself.
To dig even deeper, click through the various tags to find inspiration for website design, user interface, Photoshop, and so much more. Just be careful: it’s easy to get lost in the sea of designs and inspiration, so find what you need and get back to work!
8. Best UX Design Blog: XD Ideas From Adobe
The blog post images themselves are inspirational on the XD Ideas Blog from Adobe—not to mention the topics they cover on a daily basis are varied and extensive. Bookmark this Adobe blog to be inspired in every area of your work, from, app design and emerging technology to prototyping and wireframing. What’s more, Adobe has been a trusted source in both UX and design for decades, so you know the content they’re creating is worth reading.
9. Best Site to Showcase Your Work: Dribbble
Dribbble is the best site to discover new designers and showcase your own creative pursuits. While it’s important to maintain your own website and UX portfolio, it’s also valuable to have a showcase of your work that is easily found and searchable among a broader audience. With more than 14 million monthly page views and 12M users, you’re more likely to be found on Dribbble than your own website—at least at the start of your career. Plus, you can browse job boards and connect with employers, making it valuable for your career in so many ways.
10. Best Design Contests: UX Design Contest
Test your skills and get noticed by top designers in the field by taking part in design contests. While there are many to choose from, UX Design Contest hosts challenges and contests regularly throughout the year. Each one has its own theme and goal, along with prizes for the top designers. What’s more, your finished designs can go into your portfolio, allowing you to show more of what you can do if you’re still gaining experience. Whether you win a contest or not, your finished designs can help you beef up your portfolio and potentially help you increase your salary as a UX designer.
UX Designer Resources are Everywhere
You don’t have to look far to find great resources to become a better UX designer, connect with other professionals in your field, or get inspiration for your next project. While these are some of our favorite resources, this is just a starting point to discover all the design courses, people, accounts, books and podcasts that will make you a better UX designer. The best part is: one great resource leads to dozens more, so let yourself sink into all that’s available if you want to go from being a good UX designer to an outstanding one.