Have you ever considered the overlap between the worlds of interaction design and psychology — specifically, cognitive psychology? I thought I’d share my short list of recommendations with the UX community-at-large:

  • Bottlenecks – Great insights on why some designs work and some don’t (from a psychological perspective).
  • Designing Interactions – An old classic that includes lots of notes on cognitive psychology and interaction.
  • Interaction Design – My first interaction design textbook from my collegiate days, lots of great info and direction.
  • Hooked – A fantastic book that addresses elements of the mind as they pertain to interactivity.
  • Designing With the Mind in Mind is a fantastic tome that provides several great psychological insights.
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us is a great work that helps shape our attention to motivational factors that should impact our designs. The introductory addresses on findings from experiments on extrinsic and intrinsic motivators are game changers.
  • Flow offers similar insights, as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi focuses on achieving what he refers to as “optimal experience” with great depth. The principles and elements in the book can be applied to design efforts.
  • I can’t create such a list without mentioning one of my all-time favorites, About Face. This book contains a wealth of insights on interaction design, though references to cognitive psychology are indirect.
  • No UX + psychology list is complete without including the work of Susan Weinschenk, the writer of 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People. Her book Neuro Web Design also contains invaluable information and insights on the subjects at hand.
  • I conclude this list of recommendations with a book that’s rapidly becoming one of my favorites, Thinking Fast and Slow. I like to describe the information in this book as infinitely expansive. It’s a MUST buy and a must read.

That’s it for my current cognitive psychology + interaction design book recommendations. I like to keep such lists succinct or the recommendations become daunting and counterproductive.