Psychology is a unique field because it can be applied to virtually every facet of life. Sales, marketing, and product are certainly no exception. Quite the contrary, psychology can be a profound tool for understanding user behavior, boosting the user experience, and driving sales.

Indeed, there have been quite a few psychology books written with the goal of helping companies, entrepreneurs, and product managers drive and boost sales.

With that in mind, here is a closer look at six books about user psychology that product managers should read.

Badass: Making Users Awesome - Kathy Sierra

The author of this book, Kathy Sierra, wrote this book with the intent of helping product managers refine the user experience to become a "badass” at sales and marketing. Pointing out that making sales is far more than a game of chance and is more a result of skill and strategy, Sierra seeks to uncover the psychological reasons why some businesses and sellers are far more successful than others.

She suggests assessing the buying triggers and overall success rates of sellers by taking the time to understand one’s workflows within products and between uses. This allows product managers to better understand what kinds of user experiences entice buyers in order to create similar experiences in the future.

For instance, one tool she uses to assess customer satisfaction is by looking out for certain indicators that suggest customers are getting value from your products or services. Some of those indicators are as follows:

  • They are more tolerant of issues.
  • They become loyal customers.
  • They give free word-of-mouth advertisements to their family and friends.
  • They are proud to discuss their experiences and show off your products.
  • They understand the need for upgrades and are patients while you make adjustments.
  • They purchase and/or wear accessories, add-ons, T-shirts, and other related items.
  • They seek out/form communities with others who enjoy using your products/services.
  • They refrain from purchasing products and services from the competition.

Either way, the most crucial thing Sierra points out is the fact that in the end, it is not about the products or services; it's about the users themselves.

According to Sierra, users are looking for products to make their lives easier, make them feel good about themselves, and reinforce their goals and values. Therefore, you should be designing your user experiences to allow users to do just that.

Hooked - Nir Eyal

Another highly interesting book about the psychology of the user experience is Hooked. Written by Nir Eyal, this book explores the way in which customers begin to design their lives around certain viral products such as smartphones and other popular items. In the end, the author asserts:

  • The products that have the most success and longevity are those that make us create habits around them.
  • One way to trigger customers to form habits around a product is by offering variable rewards.
  • If you want to find out whether or not your product can spark customers to create habits around them, you need to ask yourself two questions: Does the product improve the user's life? Would I use the product?

In other words, there are plenty of ways to offer habit-forming products, but you want to ensure the products you offer create positive habits. For instance, smoking is habit-forming but certainly not an ideal product to sell to anyone you care about.

On the other hand, fitness equipment and other related products can encourage your customers to form more positive habits. Moreover, these products are ideal as they have the propensity to stay around for the long haul.

Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Guidelines - Jeff Johnson

Yet another excellent book for those who want to leverage psychology to help boost the user's experience is Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Guidelines.

This book delves into the importance of human choice and decision-making when it comes to the overall user experience. In addition, it explores topics such as the importance of designing a customer-centric user interface.

In other words, how you design your user interface can play a major role in how much the users enjoy your products and services. Overall, this is an excellent book to help any product manager or business owner make better decisions in terms of designing more infectious user experiences.

Design for the Mind: Seven Psychological Principles of Persuasive Design - Victor Yocco

Design for the Mind is an excellent resource in terms of psychology and boosting the user experience. This book delves into how to create applications and sites that help enhance the user experience.

It covers topics such as how to make designs more persuasive, design user experiences in a way that encourages them to take action and become a more strategic influencer, how to meet the needs of both engaged and disengaged clients, and much more.

Either way, Design for the Mind is an excellent book to gain insight into how to improve your user experience.

Psychology for Designers - Joe Leech

Another great book is Psychology for Designers. This book specifically deals with how to design user experiences based on how these designs make you feel. In other words, this book shows users' methods of applying psychology to design and the user experience.

By showing readers the benefits of taking the psychological approach, readers gain better insight into how to apply psychology to design the ultimate user experience that keeps them coming back for more.

Moreover, rather than boring readers with a bunch of psychological theories, Leech offers insight into the benefits of employing psychological tactics in user design creation.

For instance, Leech points out that many users would prefer to see zoomed-in pictures of products in commercials rather than posting detailed lists of the product's features. In other words, it illustrates the importance of identifying what triggers these buying behaviors and finding ways to remix and revamp the same methods to create new, improved user experiences.

However, he also points out the fact that those who employ such tactics are walking a fine line and should be sure to make sure they are being ethical and not using their persuasive skills in an egregious way.

Don’t Make Me Think - Steve Krug

Lastly, Don’t Make Me Think is an excellent way to round out this list. Indeed, if you are searching for ways to use psychology to boost the user experience, this one is a no-brainer.

According to Krug, by taking the time to better understand humans, how they think, and what compels them to act and behave in certain ways, companies can design highly engaging websites that help boost the user experience and drive sales from the beginning of the process, to the very end.

In other words, Krug promotes the notion of keeping it super simple to prevent users from becoming confused, frustrated, or otherwise turned off by the user experience. To do so, Krug focuses on the following principles of web usability:

  • Don’t Make them Think: The first principle is not to make your website or advertisements overly complicated. Given the vast amount of media customers are exposed to, most are turned off by overly complex ad campaigns.
  • Make Every Click Instinctive: You should also focus on making your clicks as mindless as possible. You don’t want customers to make them think twice and talk yourself out of a sale.
  • Ruthlessly Reduce the Word count: Lastly, you want to maximize your message while minimizing the word count. When users are forced to read large blocks of text, they are likely to get bored or distracted.

Overall, there are plenty of books on the market that can help you better understand how to leverage psychology to boost the user experience. So, no matter if any of these books resonate with you or not, they are just the tip of the iceberg. In order to be well versed in this matter, you will likely need to study the topic extensively.

Therefore, you may just want to start picking out books that resonate with you until you feel you have a good understanding of the topic. From there, you will be able to apply the material to virtually every aspect of the user experience.

Know of any other great books about user psychology that product managers should read? Join the world's fastest-growing PLG community and share your recommendations. 👇