As someone who is always reading three books at a time, I’ve read more than a fair few of books on aspects of the web design industry. Unfortunately I think quite a few of them are duds; while others are particularly good. So good in fact, that I lend them out frequently to friends. Recently, one of them asked me for a list of the ones that I thought were the best, and I thought I would share it here as well.
Designing the Obvious was the book that created my passion for user interface design. Many of the principles within the book drive my thoughts about the tandem of simplicity and user experience. As far as application interface design goes, there is no better book for theory. That said, the information in the book is applicable to all facets of interactive design. The title itself, is pretty self-explanatory (obviously!) and the book makes for a good read, rather than being overly technical.
A must-have for anyone working with front-end design on the internet, Krug’s book has aged particularly well. The examples are in most cases no longer on the internet, but the principles and ideologies are still very relevant. If you don’t own this book and you do any form of web design, you need to at the very least borrow this from the library; though you’ll probably want a copy as your bible. My copy is getting pretty dirty on the covers.
Brendan Dawes is a curious man. Analog In, Digital Out is a book about interaction – sort of. Dawes takes a look at how every day events can be information that can be harnessed to produce designs, and frequently challenges the way we see computers today. The examples in book even include snippets of code to reproduce what he has made. Reading this book opens a new way of abstract thinking. Someone is going to read this one day and create some sort of technological marvel.
This book introduced me to the world of typography. Over time I’ve found that nearly any book on typography repeats the history of type for the first half of the book, and while this one is no exception, it presents it in an interesting manner. The examples and explanations are more manageable than The Elements of Typographic Style and I would highly recommend this as a starting point for those interested in learning more about typography.