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The 2021 ultimate guide to UX/UXR resources

11 minute read
Fun and love in the sun with your fav UXR resources.

UX professionals are tasked with navigating an ever-changing design-led future. Blazing a trail of this magnitude isn’t easy, so you’ve got to keep your finger on the pulse. We’ve created a list of resources to help inspire, (re)kindle new ideas, and bring about a bit of innovation and thought leadership to your work.

Blogs & Newsletters

Bookmark these blogs so you’ll always have an easy reference point on any topic at work (you can thank us later). Plus, most of these informative blogs include newsletters you can subscribe to and links to other resources you might find useful.

For UX beginners and lifelong learners alike

  • Nielsen Norman Group: The O.G. UX research group, founded by the patron saints of UX, Don Norman and Jakob Nielson.

  • UX Planet: A one-stop resource for everything UX, from articles for newcomers to career advice for the seasoned pro.

  • UX Matters: A place for serious UX discussion. UXmatters provides a platform for columnists and authors, including many notable names, to share their insights on important UX topics.

For staying on top of industry insights

  • UX Collective: An independent design publication that curates some incredibly fascinating and insightful commentary on user experience, visual, and product design.

  • UX Blog: A place for the modern UX professional. Dedicated to actionable advice on UX design, user research, and UX strategy with practical application in the workplace.

  • The UXR Blog: With a highly active Slack channel, regular conferences, and meetups, the UXR Collective is one of the best resources for the modern researcher today. Check out their blog.

Illustration: Vivianne Castillo’s Why We Need to Talk About Spiritual Self-Care in UX, by Deb Lee. From January's UXR blog newsletter.
Illustration: Vivianne Castillo’s Why We Need to Talk About Spiritual Self-Care in UX, by Deb Lee. From January's UXR blog newsletter.
  • Dovetail Blog: A shameless plug? Why not! Method in Madness is dedicated to bringing you the latest in thought leadership, provocative opinions, and trailblazing think pieces. Stay up-to-date by subscribing.

    Method in Madness, by Dovetail.
    Method in Madness, by Dovetail.
  • User Interviews Blog: A fantastic resource for interviews, and more. Probably most famous for the giant State of User Research report they provide every year.

  • InVision Inside Design blog: For design lovers and UX professionals of all stripes. Check out the Invision blog for interviews with big thinkers, and a range of other useful resources.

    Design industry pioneers InVision's Inside Design blog.
    Design industry pioneers InVision's Inside Design blog.
  • Adobe XD Ideas: A beautiful and well-designed blog about UX design from the pioneers in the field, Adobe.

For design inspiration

  • Behance: A cool space for designers to show off their work and flex their artistic muscle. Absolutely full-to-the-brim with amazing ideas sure to inspire your next design.

    Fun, funky, and creative. Check out inspirational designs over at Behance.
    Fun, funky, and creative. Check out inspirational designs over at Behance.
  • Awwwards.: A place where daily awards are given out by an elected jury for design, creativity, and innovation on the internet. An obvious one if you’re looking for inspo.

  • Bestfolios: The largest collection of the best portfolio websites from top designers in the industry. Enough said!

  • Muzli: A tab browser plug-in by Invision that delivers expertly curated design inspiration.

Slack communities

In the uncertain world of user research, UX, design, and digital media, being part of a like-minded community means you have a place to ask questions, commiserate with fellow professionals, get help quickly, or just learn from people who have been there and done that.

  • Nomads Talk: For digital professionals working around the world. Still plenty of discussion going on, despite a certain pandemic we won’t name.

  • ResearchOps: A global community committed to ReOps professionals helping researchers do their best work.

    Re+Ops, a dedicated space for all things ResearchOps.
    Re+Ops, a dedicated space for all things ResearchOps.
  • UXR Collective: The active Slack community led by UX research advocate and leader Alec Levin.

  • Product Tribes: An “invite-only” community of experienced designers, developers, and product managers. See what the cream of the crop are saying.

    An invite only group for designer, PMs, and developers.
    An invite only group for designer, PMs, and developers.
  • Women in Technology: What is says on the box. Open to any female-identifying, genderqueer, gender fluid, or non-binary persons who work in the tech sector.

  • Mixed methods: A place to get your hands dirty in all things to do with user experience research. Expect to test assumptions, examine methods, and engage in some old fashion experiments.

  • Dovetail: Another plug! Connecting researchers who exchange knowledge, ask questions, and share their experiences using Dovetail to improve research in their organizations.

  • Designer Hangout: A global professional UX design network for members to connect on trends, advice, insights, and opportunities.

Social media communities

Social media groups are a great way to expand your network, get a whiff of interesting projects you might be able to get involved in, learn about new job openings (and even get a warm introduction), or find answers to questions you may not be able to get anywhere else. Here’s a list of what to join:

Facebook

  • UX/UI Designers: Touted as Facebook’s largest community for designers. A place to learn and share, ask questions, network, and improve. (Private group, over 150K members).

  • Interaction Design Association: A group dedicated to the ambitious goal of “improving the human condition” through interactive design. (Public group, over 30K members).

  • Give Good UX Company of Friends: Created to help you share your current UX and Design struggles with others and support each other in your daily UX work, educational, and career goals. (Private group, over 9K members).

  • User Research Collective: A group meant for user researchers to discuss problem spaces, ask questions, get help, find a job, share research methodologies, and more. (Private group, over 8.6K members).

  • UX researchers association: A group for people who are UX or Design or User Researchers. Emphasis on the researcher part. Be ready to prove your 

    bona fides. (Public group, over 3.5K members).

LinkedIn

  • UX Professionals: A space to assist, collaborate, and share the UX field’s projects and experiences in an effort to help clients meet their goals. (Over 70K members).

  • Design Thinking Group: A place to participate in professional design discussions. (Over 60K members).

  • User experience professionals network: A community for user experience professionals of all stripes to network and collaborate. (Over 50K members).

  • User Experience Group: A place for UX peeps of all types and colors to hang out to discuss the plethora of things related to user experience. (Over 40K members).

  • Remote Usability Testing / Online User Experience research: A community for UX professionals to share ideas, trends, and best practices, as well as discuss issues and challenges the industry faces. (Over 3K members).

Spotify

Last year, we published an in-depth article on the ultimate UX and user research podcasts. We’ve added some new names to that list, and since launched our Spotify where we uploaded the below killer research and UX pods along with a huge range of music playlists to motivate, placate, scintillate, and palpitate to while you carry out your day-to-day tasks as a researcher. There’s something for everyone and a tune for every scenario you might encounter while you’re hard at work.

So to recap, here are the top pods you should be listening to as a user researcher. They're a godsend for those of us highly on the move, go-getting folks who love nothing more than taking advantage of a bit of downtime during a commute. Here are some we highly recommend:

For user and design researchers

  • Awkward Silences: A user research podcast from User Interviews, hosted by Erin May (V.P. Growth & Marketing) and John Henry Forster (V.P. Product). A podcast where the hosts interview people who interview people and geek out about all things UXR.

  • Dollars to Donuts: Renowned author Steve Portigal talks with the people who lead user research in their organization. Check it out if you like big names and big ideas.

  • Presentable: Hosted by Jeff Veen. The Presentable podcast focuses on how people design and build the products that are shaping the digital future. Great for info on tools, trends, and methods used by major companies and the latest startups.

  • User Defenders: Hosted by Jason Ogle. User Defenders aims to enlighten and entertain those passionate about making a difference in their work. The host highlights those leading the way in their craft by diving deeper into who they are and what makes them tick.

  • What is wrong with UX? Hosted by Laura Klein and Kate Rutter. Kate and Laura drink and fight about what is wrong with user experience design. Crack out the gin, and play along at home.

For technical learning and sharing

  • Hacking UI Podcast: Hosted by Sagi Schrieber and David Tintner. The two hosts are designers, developers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, productivity maniacs, and all-around tech geeks. They discuss these topics through the lenses of industry leaders like Facebook, Intercom, and Invision.

  • ShopTalk: A weekly podcast about building websites from Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier.

  • The Big Web Show: Listen to it if you’re interested in topics like web publishing, art direction, content strategy, typography, web technology, and more. Hosted by Jeffrey Zeldman.

  • The Crazy One Podcast: Host Stephen Gates provides his insights on how to be more creative, become a better leader, create more innovative work, build better relationships with clients, grow a stronger career, and more.

  • UI Breakfast Exciting conversations about UI/UX design, products, marketing, and more. Hosted by Jane Portman.

UI Breakfast, hosted by Jane Portman.
UI Breakfast, hosted by Jane Portman.

For thought leadership and expert advice

For interesting content on design thinking and ideas

  • 99% Invisible: About all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about—the unnoticed architecture and design shaping our world. Hosted by Roman Mars.

99% Invisible podcast, hosted by Roman Mars.
99% Invisible podcast, hosted by Roman Mars.
  • Clever: A podcast about design and designers. Full of candid, eye-opening interviews with visionaries of the design world. Hosted by Amy Devers and Jaime Derringer.

  • Design Details: A weekly conversation about design process and culture. Hosted by Brian Lovin and Marshall Bock.

  • Design Matters: About design and the broader world of creative culture. Features conversations with designers, writers, artists, curators, musicians, and other luminaries of contemporary thought. Hosted by Debbie Millman.

  • Google Design: Two pods for the price of one. The Method, hosted by Aidan Simpson, gives listeners an inside look at Google designer’s journeys and design choices. Design notes, hosted by Liam Spradlin, is about creative work and what it teaches us.

  • The Reflex Blue Show: A podcast about graphic design, design, pop culture, web design, and working in the industry. Hosted by Donovan Beery.

  • Wireframe: The stories behind user experience design for UX/UI designers, graphic designers, and the design-curious. Hosted by Khoi Vinh.

Adobe's Wireframe podcast, hosted by Khoi Vinh.
Adobe's Wireframe podcast, hosted by Khoi Vinh.

Books

We put together a list of 7 awesome books for new starters in user research early last year, but if you’ve read those already and are hungry for more, check these out on your next book store browse:

  • Validating Product Ideas (ISBN: 1933820292)

Along with clear methodologies and substantive examples, Tomer Sharon teaches you the best ways to understand customers effectively and gather hidden insights to help you build amazing products.

Validating Product Ideas Through Lean User Research, by Tomer Sharon. Rosenfeld Media.
Validating Product Ideas Through Lean User Research, by Tomer Sharon. Rosenfeld Media.
  • UX for Lean Startups: Faster, Smarter User Experience Research and Design (ISBN: 1492049581)

Made for entrepreneurs and innovators alike, Laura Klein teaches startups how to design great user experiences using Lean UX techniques in this immersive, hands-on book.

  • The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide (ISBN: 1933820187)

Author Leah Buley brings years of user design experience–from a career at companies such as Intuit, Forrester Research, and InVision–into a helpful guide that gives understaffed teams (or the lone UX wolf) the right tools and insights to do more with less.

The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide, by Leah Buley. Rosenfeld Media.
The User Experience Team of One: A Research and Design Survival Guide, by Leah Buley. Rosenfeld Media.

Thought leaders

We’re sure you’re already onto the likes of Jared Spool and Julie Zhuo, but here are some others we think are absolute frontrunners in their respective disciplines:

Leisa Reichelt, Head of Research and Insights, Atlassian

Leisa is a regular speaker and workshop-giver and has spoken at conferences including London IA, UX London, dConstruct, Drupalcon, EuroIA, Future of Web Apps, Web 2.0 Expo, Next, Interesting, GUADEC, Interaction, and Reboot. She has mentored at Seedcamp and coordinates the London UX Bookclub.

Steven Portigal, Principle, Portigal Consulting

Author of Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights and Doorbells Danger, and Dead Batteries, host of the Dollar to Donuts pod, and long-time industry heavyweight Steven Portigal is one the most renowned user research thinkers on the scene today.

Matt Duignan, Product Manager for the Human Insight System, Microsoft

Matt Duignan is an authority on atomized insights and research repositories. He’s also an expert at breaking down silos in businesses through unified access to knowledge and data, which he shared in a previous discussion.

Tomer Sharon, Cofounder & Chief Experience Officer at Anywhere

Tomer’s worked for some of the world’s leading organizations, such as Google, WeWork, and Goldman Sachs. He’s the author of Validating Product Ideas through Lean User Research, and the creator of the concept of Atomic Research.

Brigette Metzler, Senior Quantitative User Researcher and Librarian, Services Australia

As a digital librarian and quantitative user researcher with the Australian Government, human-centered design is Brigette’s ongoing passion. She’s also one of the top minds on research repositories today, with a hands-on approach to advancing research ecosystems within organizations.

Elizabeth Churchill, Director of UX, Google

Elizabeth is a powerhouse research scientist and leader who heads up UX at Google today and regularly speaks at conferences, workshops, and symposiums. She also happens to have an extensive library of publications and contributions under her belt.

We’re continually updating this list, so if there’s something that we've missed, let us know via LinkedIn or Twitter.

About the contributors
Picture of contributor to Method in Madness, Liz Ross.
Liz Ross
Senior Marketing Manager, Dovetail
Avid storyteller and raconteur.
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