Your UI/UX decisions are more convincing when there is a research behind them. I read many UI/UX resources, especially from Nielsen Norman Group, to make and backup my decisions. Here is a curated list of resources to help you.
Books & eBooks
Don't Make Me Think, Revisited
I absolutely love it when non-fiction books don't try to be so heavy in their content, and are able to communicate fascinating material with humour, tact and intelligence, and this book fits the bill to a tee.
Learn how to design awesome UIs by yourself using specific tactics explained from a developer's point-of-view.
100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about People
Reviewed as part of my 100 books challenge: http://jimmylongley.com/blog/books/ Run-on Sentence Summary A list of 100 takeaways from modern psychology relating to how people think, and their implications for design. Impressions This is a short, fun little book filled with lots of cool insights such as "51. Variable Rewards are Powerful", or "74.
Rocket Surgery Made Easy
Kudos for the Companion Book to Don't Make Me Think Rocket Surgery Made Easy is an excellent resource for anyone who facilitates usability testing. Steve Krug outlines all of the steps, from preparation to execution. He covers variations in the process, whether you are leading testing in the same room as the participant or by remote access.
The Impact of Tone of Voice on Users' Brand Perception (Nielsen Norman Group UX research)
As web content professionals, we know that how we communicate with our users is just as important as what we're communicating. But often, it's difficult to predict and demonstrate exactly how our tone of voice might affect our users. In a two-part study, we tested pairs of nearly identical website content.
The Four Dimensions of Tone of Voice
If we envision our website as a tool that enables us to have a conversation with our users, it's clear that a carefully considered tone of voice is critical. In literature, the tone of voice refers to the author's feelings towards the subject, as expressed through the writing itself.
"Get Started" Stops Users
A web-design trend that is becoming increasingly problematic is the Get Started button. This button is often the most prominent and enticing call-to-action on the homepage, and can appear to be the right path for nearly every activity a user is looking to complete - be it to sign up for a service or to simply look for details about the organization and services offered.
"Learn More" Links: You Can Do Better
Some trends are subtler than others. Much like low-contrast text, the use of as a standalone link label has been quietly trending. The web now has an abundance of links with this generic label, largely tacked on to information of secondary or tertiary importance.
Back-to-Top Button Design Guidelines
The popularity of responsive web design has led to a proliferation of single-column, long-page designs both on mobile and desktop. A consequence of these designs has been the Back to Top button, which is a shortcut that allows users to quickly navigate to the top of the page.
Hamburger Menus and Hidden Navigation Hurt UX Metrics
Our quantitative usability testing of hidden menus (such as hamburger icons) and visible menus (such as links across the top of pages) reveals that: Hidden navigation is less discoverable than visible or partially visible navigation. When navigation is hidden, users are less likely to use navigation.
Using Swipe to Trigger Contextual Actions
While many touch gestures still get limited use in most mobile apps, one that has become fairly widely adopted is the swipe-to-delete, which simply involves dragging the finger across an item, in a gesture that resembles the physical action of crossing off a list item with a pen.
Placeholders in Form Fields Are Harmful
In-context descriptions or hints can help clarify what goes inside each form field, and therefore improve completion and conversion rates. There are many ways to provide hints. A common implementation is by inserting instructions within form fields. Unfortunately, user testing continually shows that placeholders in form fields often hurt usability more than help it.
Slider Design: Rules of Thumb
Sliders are often the UI control of choice for letting users select a value or range from a fixed set of options. However, in practice, sliders are difficult to manipulate. Especially on touch interfaces, the level of control needed to meticulously operate a slider to an exact value is simply not realistic.
Card Sorting: Uncover Users' Mental Models for Better Information Architecture
Part of making a site easy to use is organizing information so that people find what they're looking for. Too often, content is structured based on what makes sense to the company, not to the users. (This was the #1 usability problem in our recent study of 43 websites.)
A Checklist for Designing Mobile Input Fields
Whether you're designing web pages, web-based applications (e.g., SaaS), or native mobile apps, one of the basic building blocks is the humble text-input field: a box where the user can enter some text. Uses of this widget are plenty and not the topic of this article.
Mobile User Experience: Limitations and Strengths
Mobile devices have transformed the way we live and conduct everyday activities. Not only can we access almost any type of content on mobile, but with most mobile smartphones today we can deposit checks, accept credit cards, order food and pay for groceries, sign digital documents, and even lock our house door.
Headings Are Pick-Up Lines: 5 Tips for Writing Headlines That Convert
A headline is often the first piece of content people read. And often it is the ONLY thing people read. If you want your encounters with people to be successful, make sure to write solid headlines. Have you ever tried to retell a story you read only to realize the details are fuzzy because you had only read the headline?
7 Tips for Presenting Bulleted Lists in Digital Content
Sometimes the best way to present information is in a bulleted list. Bulleted lists attract attention, support scanning, shorten text, and reveal the relationship of items. The Web is usually not the place for long, narrative writing. Instead, Web readers prefer copy formatted for ease of scanning, which allows them to easily skip through chunks of text to get to areas of interest.
Scoped Search: Dangerous, but Sometimes Useful
Scoped search allows users to limit their search to a section or type of content on a website instead of searching everything in one go. Typically, it is implemented in two ways: drop-down scope selection and autocomplete scope suggestions, which appear below or within the search box.
Top 10 Enduring Web-Design Mistakes
Since 1996, we have been compiling lists of the top 10 mistakes in web design. This year, we completed a large-scale usability study with 215 participants in the United States and United Kingdom to see what today's web-design mistakes are.
Breaking Web Design Conventions = Breaking the User Experience
If I asked you to picture the homepage for a university website, what would it look like? You might come up with something similar to SUNY Cortland's homepage: images of students on a lawn, navigation at the top with sections for Academics, Admissions, Prospective Students, Alumni, and so on.
Participation Inequality: The 90-9-1 Rule for Social Features
All large-scale, multi-user communities and online social networks that rely on users to contribute content or build services share one property: most users don't participate very much. Often, they simply lurk in the background. In contrast, a tiny minority of users usually accounts for a disproportionately large amount of the content and other system activity.
Designing for Young Adults (Ages 18-25)
Today's young adults (aged 18 to 25) are a subgroup of the Millennial generation (which includes people born from 1980 to 2000). Most of them are digital natives, meaning they grew up with access to digital communications technology. They are a critically important user group: many of them are studying for degrees, or beginning careers.