8 Books to Help You Create Persuasive UX
How-tos | User Experience

8 Books to Help You Create Persuasive UX

on / by Netania Engelbrecht

Today it’s simply not good enough to have visually appealing content, websites or apps. You need to take things a step further to persuade your users to take action. The trick here is subtlety. And the way to achieving that is to prompt them to take the actions you want them to without them realizing it. The first thing that you might be thinking is: “oh that sounds very dark”, but there are psychological theories that you can use to improve your persuasive communication and thereby, make your UXD more persuasive.

We’ve compiled a list of 8 books that can teach you more about persuasion and its role in user’s decision-making and behaviors. Hopefully you’ve either already read or will read these books and create a more persuasive user experience.

1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

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Why Should You Read This?

When it comes to the topics of influence and persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini is the most cited living social psychologist in the world. Along with his extensive education in the psychology of persuasion, Dr. Cialdini has over 30 years of research into the psychology of influence under his belt. This has earned him the title of “expert” in the field of persuasion, compliance and negotiation.

2. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

8 Books to Help You Create Persuasive UX by Usabilla

Why Should You Read This?

Nir Eyal has devoted years of research, consulting and experience to write a book on how anyone can create products that people love. He’s created the “Hook Model” which shows how companies could, and have, created many of the products that we love in 4 steps. Visit his blog NirAndFar.com.

3. Thinking, Fast and Slow

8 Books to Help You Create Persuasive UX by Usabilla

Why Should You Read This?

Daniel Kahneman is most known for his work in the psychology of judgement, decision-making and behavioral economics. In 2002, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He’s known for challenging the assumption of human rationality in modern economic theory and also established a basis for human errors resulting from heuristics or biases. This book extensively describes the two systems that drive human thinking.

4. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

8 Books to Help You Create Persuasive UX by Usabilla

Why Should You Read This?

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the New York Times. He has written about the science behind habit formation and how to use the principles to improve productivity in your business and personal life. He was also a part of a team responsible for writing about “The iEconomy” about Apple and its influence in the United States and abroad. 

5. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

8 Books to Help You Create Persuasive UX by Usabilla

Why Should You Read This?

Dan Ariely is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and founder of The Center for Advanced Hindsight. He’s well known for his publications in scholarly journals in economics, psychology and business. His writing has also been widely published in the NYT, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and many more.

6. Webs of Influence: The Secret Strategies That Make Us Click

8 Books to Help You Create Persuasive UX by Usabilla

Why Should You Read This?

Nathalie Nahai is a web psychologist and international speaker. She’s one of the foremost speakers in web psychology and helps businesses apply scientific theories to their website design, content marketing and products. She has also worked with many Fortune 500 companies, design agencies, and companies such as Google, eBay and Unilever. You can find her on Twitter @NathalieNahai

7. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People (Voices That Matter)

8 Books to Help You Create Persuasive UX by Usabilla

Why Should You Read This?

Susan Weinschenk is a behavioral psychologist with over 30 years of experience and has worked in the fields of design and UX since the late 80’s. She has also authored 5 books on UX in computer systems. Her clients call her “The Brain Lady” because she reads and writes about brain and neuroscience.  

8. How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the Art and Science of Persuasion and Motivation

8 Books to Help You Create Persuasive UX by Usabilla

Being the seasoned expert on behavioral psychology, we’ve included Dr. Weinschenk as our #8 book as well. She’s an expert in persuasion and what motivates us to change our behaviors. This book includes insights into motivating not only your customers to make decisions but your employees as well. 

How far can we go in creating a persuasive user experience? Are there specific tactics that you’re using in your UXD? Share your ideas in the comments section below or tweet us @usabilla.


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Article by

Netania Engelbrecht

Netania is Content Marketing Specialist @Usabilla. She is passionate about human behaviour and communication in the broadest sense and strives to understand what motivates people to do certain things.

Share your thoughts

  • Mark W Kraemer

    Big omission … Stephen P. Anderson’s “Seductive Interaction Design” should certainly be on this list. Maybe expand it to a top 10?

  • backpfeife

    …and maybe also “Evil by Design” & “Design for the real world”. Some of the books mentioned above sound extremely dark & wrong to me. Let’s at least be open and use the word “manipulation” instead of “persuasion”.

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