SaaS business

Top 7 SaaS Payment Processing Services Comparison


mins to read

You came up with a mindblowing idea for a SaaS startup. After sleepless nights, you’re almost ready to introduce your brainchild to the world. The only question left is how do you process payments?

In the good old days, it was no more difficult to buy a piece of software than a bag of bagels. You pay for your CD with a program, you get your CD with a program. 

old-school payment processing

And then the SaaS subscription model emerged, allowing us to sell software in exciting, whizz-bangy, granular ways. 

Rather than selling a single unit, you sell a month-to-month service. Now you need to charge recurring payments for multiple pricing tiers, work with bank cards from numerous countries and currencies. A ton of new things happen between the point where a customer is paying you money and the point you are getting the money. 

SaaS subscription payment processing

Let’s examine how payment processing works for SaaS so that we can better understand what features we’re looking for in our best subscription billing systems.

Components of SaaS payment processing

The bulk of payment takes a few seconds that cover a lot of drama and a long list of actors involved. Let’s name them shortly.

  • Customer, a.k.a. the person who believes that a product deserves its price tag and hits the “buy now” button.
  • SaaS company. That’s you and your business that sells the product worth buying.
  • Website or app, where UX/UX designers placed the “buy now” button on a pricing page.
  • Merchant account — a bank account your customers’ transactions go into as they pay for a subscription.
  • An acquiring bank is a bank that provides you with a merchant account and processes transactions on your behalf.
  • An issuing bank is a bank of your customer that provides them with a payment card and runs transactions on their behalf.
  • Payment gateway is the bridge between, customer, yourself, and your banks.
  • Subscription management system. From the moment of the first purchase, it automatically invoices customers on a regular basis and manages all the fine tunes of your complex tiered billing.

Let's assume that the customer and the merchant are in place, and the issuing bank is a customer’s concern. So we need to find an acquiring bank that will equip us with the merchant account, find a SaaS payment gateway and a subscription management system to make things rolling.

Components of SaaS payment processing

How to choose payment processor for SaaS

Looks like SaaS payment processing is a complicated business process. A new complicated business process being on fire is a sure sign of a new B2B market that will emerge to get these fires out. 

Dozens of recurring payment processing services popped up in the past 15 years. That many possible solutions to a billing problem created an all new kind of problem.

The problem of choosing a payment processor.

You stare at Google Search results. Countless competitors staring back at you from their landing pages designed to guide your choice in diametrically opposed directions. Your heart is racing, your hands are sweating and colorful logos flash before your eyes. 

How to choose payment processor for SaaS

It is tempting to grab the closest payment processing app thinking that we’ll just migrate later. But it’s hard, risky and costly to move between billing systems, which contain all the subscription data bank cards and unpaid invoices. 

We at Eleken are familiar with all the billing stuff — for our clients we cover one of the payment processing layers, the UI/UX design of billing. So we’ve picked billing solutions that are commonly used by SaaS startups, analyzed them, and made a comparison table for you to help you make a thoughtful choice. 

Online payment processing services comparison chart

Online payment processing services comparison chart

Аs you can see from the table above, the list of payment processing services can be broadly divided into two categories:

  • All-in-one services that help with a payment gateway, merchant account, and a some degree of subscription management;
  • Services that run SaaS subscription management exclusively and fully.

Full-stack services as Stripe or Braintree work fine for startups firmly off the ground with simple recurring billing and a few pricing tiers. But as your SaaS pricing strategy develops, so does its billing system. Universal apps often become insufficient as you start working with new market segments, expanding into new regions, and experimenting with plans, upgrading and billing frequency.

In cases when SaaS companies feel their all-in-one payment processing system is holding them back, they put a dedicated SaaS subscription platform like Recurly or Chargebee on top of services that provide them with a merchant account and SaaS payment gateway. 

The benefit they gain is better reporting, full-on subscription management and more flexibility for different pricing strategies. For example, if you offer usage-based pricing, user-based pricing or numerous hybrid tiers, a dedicated SaaS subscription management platform will help billing for any of them.

Stripe recurring payments: simpler than ever

Stripe recurring payments

Stripe is the leader on the market of SaaS billing systems, thanks to its simplified setup process and integrations available for almost everything under the sun. It works as a payment gateway, merchant account, and subscription management system. Moreover, it has some analytics tools built on top, so that you can control your MRR, churn, and other SaaS metrics.

Stripe charges  2.9% + $0,3 per transaction, +1% extra for international cards and currency conversion, and that’s what annoys people in Stripe. Pricing may sound okay for startups, and the pricing is well aligned with the industry, but as you scale, the fees add up quickly.

Braintree payment processing as an alternative

Braintree payment processing

Braintree is PayPal’s project grown to compete with Stripe and equipped with quite similar feature set. Just like Stripe, Braintree charges 2.9% + $0,3 per transaction, +1% extra for international cards and currency conversion. Unlike Stripe though, Braintree (all of sudden) offers PayPal for payments. 

Another unique feature — Braintree allows you to use their gateway services even if you’re already locked into another payment processing account. 

Flexibility with Authorize.Net payment gateway

Authorize.Net payment gateway

Authorize.Net is a payment gateway solution by Visa that doesn’t provide a merchant account as a part of its service, so you can integrate Authorize.Net with your existing merchant account if you already have one. With Stripe, for instance, you don’t have such flexibility.

But in case if you need help with a merchant account, Authorize.Net can provide you with one through one of their resellers for an extra penny — the cost per transaction will rise to 2.9% + $0.3, plus $25 per month as a gateway fee.

2Checkout recurring payments for global business

2Checkout recurring payments

Although all companies in our list work for international transactions, 2Checkout (now Verifone) excelled in its ability to accept payments globally. It is active in over 200+ countries and supports over 45 payment methods ranging from the most popular bank cards, online wallets, and PayPal to regional payment methods. 

If you’re an international brand looking for a payment processing service with the highest global reach, consider this option. 

Chargebee subscription management for B2B SaaS

Chargebee subscription management for B2B SaaS

Chargebee is a SaaS subscription platform that provides no merchant account or payment gateway. It’s a narrow tool for SaaS that gives you more features for managing recurring billing than all-in-one tools, like Stripe or Braintree.Chargebee is famous for numerous options for price optimization, upselling, revenue recognition, trials management and other SaaS-specific features. 

The only in our list, Chargebee offers a kind of freemium pricing — for your first $100K in revenue, you pay nothing. After, you’d pay $299 per month for up to $50K monthly revenue. You won’t be charged a percentage of your revenue unless you break your revenue limit.

Chargify recurring billing for B2B SaaS

Chargify recurring billing for B2B SaaS

Chargify is a SaaS subscription management tool that helps to automate recurring billing and provides no merchant account or payment gateway, just like Chargebee. However, you can use gateways of Stripe, Authorize.Net, and a dozen of other providers from inside of Chargify. 

The company positions itself as a SaaS-specific service and offers great flexibility in terms of billing scenarios. It suits for any trials, billing frequencies, targeted promotions and one-time charges. “If you can imagine it, we can bill it”, the Chargify’s webpage says. 

The service has a free trial and the most expensive pricing on our list — the monthly subscription starts at $599 for revenue up to $75K per month. For comparison, Chargebee charges only $299 per month.

Recurly subscription management for churn reduction

Recurly subscription management for churn reduction

Recurly is another subscription management and billing platform with features more or less similar to Chargify and Chargebee that is targeting SaaS, mobile, content and publishing businesses worldwide. 

The company’s dunning system and churn reduction features tend to be outstanding — Recurly says its decline management capabilities can increase monthly revenue by an average of 12%. Recurly offers a free trial and charges $149 plus 0.9% of revenue for the Core pricing tier.

When you’ve chosen your perfect payment processing service

We’d like to summarize this SaaS payment processing services article in a way some may call a design agency professional deformation. 

Put effort into your checkout design to make it pixel-perfect. Or you could consider evaluating an Eleken design agency that can help you with that.

Eleken on its way to a pixel-perfect checkout page for TextMagic
Eleken on its way to a pixel-perfect checkout page for TextMagic

Indeed, if you’re holding a UI/UX hammer, all problems look like nails that need to be designed properly. But if you only knew how many people leave in the middle of checkout due to one extra step or a little payment hiccup! 

That’s the very last step of the buyer’s journey, and if your customers are unable to input their payment information quickly and correctly, all your previous marketing and sales efforts are for naught.

The second-to-last step of the buyer’s journey happens on your pricing page. And there happens to be a killer guide to SaaS pricing page design here at Eleken. Just thought you might be interested.

Dana Yatsenko


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SaaS business
min read

Unlocking the Potential: An Overview of the Developer Tools Market

Today, software products have become the heartbeat of countless industries. As we witness a growing reliance on technology, the demand for cutting-edge developer tools has skyrocketed as well, resulting in a market loaded with diverse solutions. From ingenious code editors to cloud-based SaaS tools, this realm is all about innovation and competition. 

At Eleken, we work closely with developers and startupers to ensure their vision is translated into a sleek product with a stellar UI/UX design. So when you're thinking of creating a startup catering to the needs of developers, you've come to the right place! In this article, we'll take you on a tour of the developer tools market, exploring its multifaceted nature and discussing how you could contribute. 

One thing is certain, the developer tools market is growing rapidly 

So, what is a developer tool? In a nutshell, it is a set of software applications, platforms, and programs designed to help software developers write code, as well as test, debug, and manage it. Their ultimate goal is to streamline the software development process.

Software development tools market size is increasing fast. The projected annual growth rate (CAGR), according to different estimations, is between 7% to 14% or even 17%, with expected market volume of US$234.70bn by 2028. One of the key drivers is the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to remote work, which made many investors rain money on promising startups. 

The developer tools market is still piping hot, with customers eagerly seeking novel solutions to streamline their development processes, reduce time-to-market, and enhance the overall software quality. So if you're looking to join the competition with your idea, developer tools might be the thing to look into. But what exactly is in demand right now?

Popular categories of developer tools

The list of tools the market offers developers is quite huge, but they can be grouped into various categories, each catering to developers across different programming languages, platforms, and development methodologies. Here are some of them:

Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) 

IDEs are among the most in-demand developer solutions. They offer comprehensive environments that consolidate various tools, code editors, and debugging capabilities in a single interface. 

Key features of an IDE include:

  • Code editor with features like syntax highlighting, code completion, and code suggestion, making it easier for developers to write code with fewer errors.
  • Compiler/Interpreter for various programming languages. These tools help developers convert their code into executable programs.
  • Debugging tools within an IDE assist developers in identifying and fixing errors in their code. They allow for step-by-step execution, breakpoints, and variable inspection to understand how the code behaves during runtime.
  • Many IDEs integrate with version control systems like Git. This allows developers to manage their codebase, track changes, collaborate with the team, and revert to previous versions if needed.
  • IDEs provide project management features to organize code files, resources, and configurations. This helps developers keep track of various components of their software projects.
  • Graphical user interface (GUI) designer. For languages that involve graphical user interfaces, IDEs often include tools for designing and creating user interfaces through a visual interface.
  • Autocomplete and code generation. IDEs offer features that suggest code snippets, functions, and variables as developers type, enhancing productivity and reducing the need to remember every detail of a language's syntax.
  • Code analysis and metrics. IDEs can analyze code for potential issues, such as unused variables, code smells, or potential runtime errors. They may also provide metrics on code complexity, which can help developers write cleaner and more maintainable code.
  • Integration with external tools, such as testing frameworks, build tools, and documentation generators.
  • Many IDEs support extensions and plugins that allow developers to customize the environment to their specific needs, adding additional features or language support.

Popular IDEs include Eclipse, Visual Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, PyCharm, and Xcode.

Visual Studio Code screenshot
Visual Studio Code

Collaboration and project management tools 

This type of tools grew in popularity after companies had to go remote. Such tools provide a structured framework for planning, tracking, and collaborating on tasks, ensuring that development teams can effectively manage their workloads and achieve project goals. Their functionality covers:

  • Task organization and tracking. Project management tools help break down complex projects into smaller, manageable tasks, making it easier for developers to understand what needs to be done. Developers can prioritize tasks, set deadlines, and allocate resources accordingly.
  • Project and task management tools facilitate communication and collaboration within development teams. This reduces the need for scattered communication channels and keeps all relevant discussions linked to the tasks they pertain to.
  • Many of these tools provide visual representations of workflows, such as Kanban boards or Gantt charts, to give an overview of task progress, identify bottlenecks, and allow for easy adjustments to timelines and priorities.
  • For teams following Agile methodologies, these tools are essential for managing sprints, user stories, and backlog items. They facilitate sprint planning, help estimate task complexity, and allow teams to adjust priorities based on feedback and changing requirements.
  • Project management tools enable managers to allocate tasks to team members based on their expertise and availability. This helps balance workloads and ensures that tasks are assigned to the most suitable team members.
  • Many tools offer reporting features that provide insights into project progress, task completion rates, and overall team performance. This data is valuable for evaluating the efficiency of development processes and making informed decisions.

Popular project and task management tools are Jira, Trello, Asana, Microsoft Planner.

Continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) tools

Continuous integration (CI) and Continuous deployment (CD) tools are essential components of modern software development practices. They help developers automate and streamline the process of integrating code changes, as well as testing and deploying them to production environments. This approach ensures that software remains functional, stable, and up-to-date, while reducing the risks associated with manual interventions and human error. Their major functionality includes:

  • Automation of integrating code changes into a shared repository. With each code commit, these tools trigger automated tests, ensuring that new changes do not break the existing functionality. This helps catch bugs early in the development cycle.
  • CI/CD tools enforce coding standards and quality checks. Code reviews, automated linting, and static code analysis are often part of the CI/CD pipeline, maintaining code consistency and reducing technical debt.
  • By integrating code frequently and running tests automatically, developers receive rapid feedback on the quality of their changes. This accelerates the development cycle and reduces the time taken to identify and fix issues.
  • CI/CD tools integrate with version control systems like Git, allowing developers to automate the process of building, testing, and deploying code changes as they are committed.
  • While CI focuses on code integration and testing, CD takes it a step further by automating the deployment of code changes to production environments. CD tools help ensure that code changes are not only tested but also deployed to production seamlessly, reducing the time between development and deployment.
  • CD tools often include strategies for rolling back or rolling forward changes in case of deployment failures. This minimizes the impact of issues and ensures a stable production environment.

Some notable tools include Jenkins, Travis CI, CircleCI, and GitLab CI/CD.

We discussed how tools can be classified by their purpose. Now let's take a brief look at how they function. 

On-premise vs cloud-based developer solutions

If you're thinking about entering the dev tools market, the choice between the on-premise model and cloud is crucial. Here’s a brief overview of both models to help you make the right decision

On-premise solutions

On-premise solutions involve hosting and managing software and infrastructure within an organization's own physical premises, such as data centers or servers. This approach provides a high degree of control and customization but requires significant upfront investment, ongoing maintenance, and expertise in managing hardware and software. On-premise solutions are often used when security and data control are critical, or when specific regulatory requirements must be met.

While they have their merits, cloud-based solutions are not only already more popular than on-premise ones, but will continue to grow more actively as well, so let’s focus more on their types.

Software development trends graph

Platform as a service (PaaS)

PaaS provides a platform and environment for developers to build, deploy, and manage applications without worrying about underlying infrastructure. PaaS offers tools, libraries, and services for application development, and it abstracts much of the infrastructure management. 

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

IaaS offers virtualized computing resources over the internet. It provides organizations with virtual machines, storage, networking, and other resources on a pay-as-you-go basis. Users can set up and manage their own operating systems, applications, and development environments. IaaS is suitable for developers who want more control over their infrastructure while still avoiding the physical hardware management.

Software as a service (SaaS)

Finally, SaaS delivers software applications over the internet, with providers hosting and maintaining the software on their own servers. Users access the software through web browsers without needing to install or manage it locally. SaaS solutions are cost-effective, as they eliminate the need for hardware setup and maintenance. They're ideal for collaborative tools, project management software, and other applications that can be accessed from any location.

SaaS solutions also excel in scalability, enabling developers to easily adapt their toolset to meet the needs of projects of varying sizes and complexities. As development teams grow, they can effortlessly upgrade their subscriptions to add newmembers, making SaaS tools an attractive choice for startups and enterprises alike. Additionally, SaaS tools typically come with regular updates and maintenance, ensuring that developers have access to the latest features, security patches, and improvements without the burden of manual updates.

Simply put, if you're looking to create an easily scalable, monetizable tool which will solve the specific pain points of developers, SaaS is likely to be a good choice for you.

Github screenshot

Developer tools trends

As the software development market continues to evolve, new trends and innovations influence the development tool ecosystem. Two notable trends that have gained momentum are low-code/no code platforms and artificial intelligence, so let’s focus on them.

Low-code/no-code development platforms

These platforms are one of the key B2B SaaS design trends. They let non-developers create applications with minimal coding knowledge. They provide visual interfaces and drag-and-drop components to streamline the application development process. As the McKinsey review points out, low-code platforms influence the whole process of development, from start to finish.

Examples include platforms like OutSystems, Mendix, and Bubble. Website builder platforms, including Webflow which this website is built on, also belong to this category. 

OutSystems screenshot

Integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI):

AI-driven tools are becoming increasingly prevalent, aiding developers in tasks such as code completion, bug detection, and automated testing. AI enhances code quality and accelerates the development process.

Tools like GitHub Copilot, Microsoft IntelliCode, and DeepCode are utilizing AI to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of developers' workflows.

GitHub screenshot

Finally, a trend we need to discuss concerns UI/UX design. Considering the target audience, developer tools tended to focus less on usability and simplicity in comparison to the apps created for less tech-savvy audiences. However, the situation is changing. Smooth user experience and a clean interface are exactly the things that bring additional value to developer solutions and distinguishes an app from its numerous competitors.

Designing tools for developers

When it comes to designing tools for software developers, it's a whole different story that requires a unique approach. As a design agency specializing in SaaS, we at Eleken know that crafting effective developer tools demands a deep understanding of the software development process and the specific needs of developers, as well as smooth designer-developers collaboration.

Let’s consider one of our recent cases to better understand how it’s possible to achieve flawless design that every developer will find easy to use. One of our clients, PicaSaaS, offers ready-to-use modules of code their clients can choose via the platform and add in minutes to their own website or application, automating the product development process. So, our goal was to make the UX as simple as possible.

From the very first screen, we made the users' lives easier by adding login through integration with different services. This significantly saves the time for registration and allows quicker onboarding. 

PicaSaaS screenshot

We made sure that the devs can create and customize one's workspace with drag and drop. It's a perfect balance between leaving the users with the ability to tailor their workspace for their needs while leaving the user flow as simple and intuitive as possible. 

PicaSaaS screenshot

The dashboard is minimalistic and clean. Clear visual hierarchy, distinct fonts and buttons ensure the user can get all the necessary information at first glance without any confusion. No superficial elements distract the user, everything is to the point.

PicaSaaS screenshot

In the end, when you're designing for developers, everything should be straightforward and frictionless. 

In our work, we rely on best practices and design systems examples from leading companies that allows us to ensure any dev tool we work on is perfect for their users. After all, developers are only humans, and, just like everyone else, they love solutions which are easy to use and look good.

So, if you think of entering the developer tools market, ensure from the very beginning that your product's UI/UX supports your vision and not hinders it. At Eleken, we have vast experience of creating interfaces that boost developers' work. So, if you're looking for a design partner, drop us a line!

SaaS business
min read

14 UI/UX Books That Are Worth Their Weight In Gold

So many books, so little time — the problem of Choice arises when you want to become better in product design by soaking in some wisdom books.

Blurbs are useless. They are written to make you buy every book, not to help you choose one. Listicles are better, but most of them are written by people who’ve read only blurbs. Some other book-choosing strategies are way too… exotic. 

There even was an article that offered me to shape a summer reading list based on the colors of my bikini.

Now while you're struggling to unsee the picture above, it’s high time to introduce the book curation principle I’ve used for this article to recommend you best UI/UX design books.

I reached out to product designers I know personally (kudos to the Eleken tribe), and also product designers I don’t know personally (kudos to you, kind people). All my experts named the book that brightens their career path with its vivid vision, its practical tips, or its fire gags.

Thus, we have a living breathing list of best books to learn UI/UX design, no way ultimate, but 100% worth your attention. It’s broken into four categories:

  • UI/UX design books for beginners
  • Best books on design fundamentals
  • Practical guides for designers
  • Best books for UX research

And here we go.

UI/UX design books for beginners

Going to drill into design? Here we got a stack of books for you to test waters before jumping in.

The Design of Everyday Things

There are many iconic design books, but Aleksandra, the UI/UX designer from Eleken, says all of them pale to utter insignificance in light of The Design of Everyday Things — it has a superpower to change people. Everyone who’s read it learns to love design. Sometimes a feeling is so intense that people become designers themselves.

Instead of splashing a thousand words, I’ll put here the story one Redditor shared with me:

The Design of Everyday Things is what got my cousin into the design, who is now in that career, and I’m in the middle of reading it. It’s given me a new perspective on how designers think and basic fundamentals, definitely something worth reading!


UX for Beginners: a crash course in 100 short lessons

This one started as an email newsletter, grew into a blog, and became viral. And now you have it as a book, organized into small bite-sized lessons packed with actionable advice. 

Really great starter UX book is “UX for beginners” (with the duck). It’s really digestible and I still use it as a quick reference or to jog ideas.

Mekkie Bansil, Founder & CEO at leadbound studio

Designing Products People Love: how great designers create successful products

Now when you believe design is your thing, it'd be helpful to shadow experienced designers at work to gain some practical insights. Designing Products People Love was written just for this.

The author interviews dozens of product leaders from Twitter, Medium, Squarespace, and similar to get their secrets. Then, he shares all the secrets with you and teaches you to implement what you read into your own process.

This book can replace an intensive workshop with an actual product designer.

Maya, UI/UX designer at Eleken

Inspired: how to create tech products customers love

Product design is in no way a lonely ranger story. It’s rather a story of a string section in an orchestra. Besides designers, every great product team consists of a project manager, developers, testers, marketers, researchers, analysts, and delivery managers. You can’t play your string section well without understanding how it cooperates with all the other people and processes inside of the product team.

Inspired is the perfect book to shed light on how everything works. Ilya, our CEO at Eleken design agency, strongly recommends reading this book to all of us (especially the marketing department).

Chapter 11! Go read chapter 11 to grasp what product designers do!

Ilya, Founder & CEO of Eleken

Best books on design fundamentals

There are certain books that taught generations of folks to be product designers.

Those little designers have grown up into big professionals and today they reached their old textbooks from top shelves for you. They blow the dust off and figure out that even if the books are outdated sometimes when it comes to the visual component, the principal component is now more relevant than ever before.

Please welcome the nomination for top UI/UX books that have been proven by time — best books on design fundamentals.

Designing Interfaces: patterns for effective interaction design

Designing Interfaces is holding its ground even sixteen years after the original edition. This thick book with a lovely mandarin duck is a stalwart design guide for all the possible interfaces. 

A very fundamental book, chock-full with clear examples. It structures your knowledge and offers a new, more comprehensive, way of looking at interface design.

Maksym, UI/UX designer at Eleken

The Art of Color

Johannes Itten was one of the main teachers of Bauhaus — the avant-garde school of design, architecture, and applied arts. Sixty years ago he published The art of color, which is still considered the bible of color for artists and designers.

Don’t trust its plain and playful cover, the book is in no way an easy read. Dasha, who nominated this book in our list, recommends approaching it as strength training in the gym:

Read it in small portions and make pauses between each repetition.

Dasha, UI/UX designer at Eleken

Don't Make Me Think: a common sense approach to web usability

To all the people — from all parts of the world — who have been so nice about this book for fourteen years.
Especially the woman who said it made her laugh so hard that milk came out of her nose.

From Steve Krug’s preface to the third edition

Do you need any other reason to read what’s under the cover? Dasha, who recommended this book, has one for you. She says it offers the simplest (and, probably, funniest) way to figure out how usability works. 

Practical guides for designers

Sooner or later, seeing how things could go wrong in practice, you start looking for some sets of recommendations towards good practice in design. Such guidelines we have here, in our practical books category.

A Project Guide to UX Design: for user experience designers in the field or in the making

Whether you are overwhelmed by your first UX job or get stressed just looking at your new design project, this book will help. Use A project guide to UX design as a mind-calming meditation.

[It is the book] I read so many times and still refer back quite a lot.

Tokiko Miyazato, Principal UX Designer

Change by Design: how design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation

To work as a designer you must think like a designer. To think like a designer, and incorporate design thinking into your working process, you must read Change by design

[This book is] really good for understanding what is design thinking and the process behind it… and when done well, you really can uncover gems (i.e. get into your customers’ mind/perspective)

Daniela Marquez, VP of Product & Growth at Lovingly

Evil by Design: interaction design to lead us into temptation

With the previous book, we learned how to ease the users’ lives. Now, welcome to the dark side of UX, following the path succinctly indicated by JD, a guy I’ve met in one Slack community for designers:

Evil by Design. 


Learning to understand people, designers get tremendous power to create interfaces that are not just easy to use but encourage you to do things that you didn't mean to. I am not pointing fingers, but you just look at those addictive social media interfaces or video platforms that automatically play the next video in a sequence.

Any knowledge or tool can be used for good or bad. It's really the ethics of the professional using it.

Best books for UX research

Asking designers about the most important books in their careers, I’ve heard the word “research” more often than any other word, and even participated in one UX survey

So, we have indirect evidence that product design is not about “making it pop”, but about discovering great data that yields great insights, and then turning great insights into novel ideas. Where does great data come from? Right, from research.

To celebrate this finding, we have a special nomination for the best books on UI/UX research.

Just enough research

Erika Hall in her book says research is a periscope offering you a better view of your surroundings. I'll tell you, she created a perfect manual to adjust your periscope. In simple and vivid language, the book tells what is research and what research is not, when you need to gather more information, and when it’s just enough.

This book helped me survive in the wild wild web of unstructured controversial content when I was writing a series of articles about UX research. So I nominate it by myself, and highly recommend it to everyone who wants to break into the UX research field with no prior experience.

UX Research: practical techniques for designing better products

It’s a basic practical research book that explains everything about questions, methods and analysis in research. Here's what says Alicja Głowicka, the designer who recommended O'reilly’s UX research:

[This book] is practical, has templates, and takes you through organizing research step by step. 

Alicja Głowicka

The Mom Test: how to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you

People say you shouldn’t ask your mom whether your business is a good idea — she’ll lie to you because she loves you. The author of the book argues that you shouldn’t ask anyone whether your business is a good idea, just because it’s a bad question. 

If you want to validate your ideas by asking good questions, go read The Mom Test.

Maksym, UI/UX designer at Eleken

Measuring the User Experience: collecting, analyzing, and presenting usability metrics

That's the ultimate research manual for non-researchers. Not really the one you 'read', more useful to go over it all so that you can reference it later when you must decide what types of tests to run, when to run them, how to crunch the numbers.

Can say this book is one of my bibles — very useful for any research/data-oriented designer like myself.

Tokiko Miyazato, Principal UX Designer

Bonus time

All useful stuff goes better in groups. Like, lockdown helped me to figure out that I’m fatally incapable of doing sports by myself. And I know I’m not alone.

So if you want to read more books to raise your competence level and want some company, I've found a proper corner of the web for you. Here’s a UX/UI book club in Slack, where designers come together every month to read and discuss a suggested book.

And that wasn’t even an ad, because here comes an ad:

Looks like you love a good read. Based on your reading preferences our neural network says you’ll love the article about UI/UX trends.

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