Print Resources

  • Don't Make Me Think - Steve Krug: My new favorite book on Web usability design and user testing. This is a short book (I like books that get to the point without a lot of padding!) that promotes some real commonsense design principles and cuts through much of the nonsense that passes for site design today. It also has a great couple of chapters on usability testing that demystifies the process and makes it accessible to anyone doing Web work.
  • Windows User Experience - Microsoft: This is the bible for Windows development. Not exciting, but your copy should get as dog-eared as Windows Interface Guidelines for Software Design, which it replaces. (And about time too - that book was released in 1995!) If your company is doing Windows development this book should be on every developers desk.
  • Java(TM) Look and Feel Design Guidelines (2nd Edition) - Sun: This is the Java version for application development. Just as indispensable as the MS guidelines above if you're doing Java work.
  • Designing Visual Interfaces - Mullet & Sano: This is a very slim book on general interface design that has more wisdom than any huge tome out there. It is a gem because it talks about general principles of design rather than how many dialog units a command button should be. As such it will serve you well for any kind of interface design.
  • Visual Interface Design for Windows - Virginia Howlett: This is more of a Windows-centric book, but is another slim volume that covers general design principles in the context of Windows apps, and has a nice section on "makeovers" so you can see the principles in practice.
  • About Face - Alan Cooper: This book is very good, but probably longer than it needs to be. Alan Cooper is called the "father of VB", and has some useful things to say about UI design.
  • The Design of Everyday Things - Don Norman: This is an old book (originally published in 1988 as The Psychology of Everyday Things) but is still readable and meaningful today. It is a classic of sorts, and after reading it you will never be able to look at bad designs the same way again.
  • The Invisible Computer - Don Norman: Don Norman's latest book which talks about the shift from general purpose computers to more specialized information applicances. This has been covered elsewhere, but Norman does a good job of pulling the arguments together, and combines them with fascinating historical examples of transitions in technology.
  • Interface Culture - Steven Johnson: One of the odd things about this moment in time is that we completely ignore the past as it relates to how other profound technology changes were assimilated by society. Johnson draws parallels between cathedrals, Victorian novels and computer interfaces as devices to make comprehensible technolgy that would be beyond the capability of the average person otherwise. Johnson also writes for Feed.
  • The Visual Display of Quantitiative Information - Edward Tufte: A seminal work on how to display numbers and facts. A beautiful book, this could be a coffee-table book except that it has a lot of worthwhile ideas and examples.
  • Envisioning Information - Edward Tufte: The second book by Tufte, this one takes the ideas of the first book and expands on them.
  • Visual Explanations - Edward Tufte: The most recent book, this has a wonderful section on displaying statistical data, using a cholera epidemic and the Challenger disaster as examples.
  • Information Architects - Richard Saul Wurman: This is a book you more absorb than read. It describes a series of examples of information architecture in various settings. I find I go back and revisit it from time to time for inspiration.
  • Bringing Design to Software - Terry Winograd: This book contains a series of short essays, and some chapters with specific software examples. Many thought-provoking ideas, and very comprehensive for such a small book.
  • Usability Engineering - Jakob Neilsen: This is the book to get on how to do usability as part of the development lifecycle. I really like it because it is clear that Neilsen is not talking from a theoretical stance as much as a pragmatic one. He also has a great website.
  • Software by Design - Penny Bauersfeld: Anther choice on usability, which has a bit more formal approach than Neilsen. It appears to be out of print now.
  • Web Style Guide - Lynch & Horton: This is the Yale style guide all bound up in a nice book. You can read the material for free on the web, but the book is cheap and convenient. Your choice.
  • Web Site Usability - Jared Spool et. al.: This is the only book I know of that represents real leg-work in finding out what is usable and what is not on the Web. There is a ton of useful information in this book. My only desire is to see a new version (things change quickly!) with more findings. these guys also publish a little monthly newsletter called Eye for Design, which is quite good.
  • Web Pages that Suck - Flanders & Willis: The title would make you think this is a snotty book, but there is something to be learned from looking at the bad examples as well as the good.
  • Web Navigation - Jennifer Fleming: A typically high quality O"Reilly book that looks at both principles of Web design, as well as good examples. It may be basic for some, but I think it is generally worthwhile.
  • Information Architecture for the World Wide Web - Rosenfield & Morville: This book looks at the big picture for how web sites are organized (that's information architecture) and the pros and cons of deep vs. shallow sites (navigation, not content). A small but good book.
  • Cascading Style Sheets - Lie & Bos: A very good intro book on CSS.
  • Eric Meyer on CSS: Mastering the Language of Web Design - Eric Meyer: This takes a step-by-step approach to building CSS based pages. More reading than if he just told you what to do, but you'll understand it better at the end.
  • More Eric Meyer on CSS (Voices That Matter) - Eric Meyer: The follow-up volume to the book above. More examples, and tougher problems being solved.
  • The Computer Based Patient Record - Institute of Medicine: I have an old version (1991) of this book, but there is a 1997 revision available. I haven't seen it, but for those of you who know design but not clinical information systems, this is a compact treatment of the subject. You can also see the book contents.
  • Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity - Jakob Nielsen - This is an excellent book by a well known advocate of UI simplicity. Some of the material here can also be read on his website, but the book collects all of that and adds more, and besides, you can't (yet) curl up with a monitor.
  • SIG-CHI Conference - excellent conference overall, although sometimes it gets pretty esoteric.
  • AMIA Conferences (Spring & Fall) - Academic focus to health information systems, but the demos are worth the price of admission.
  • HIMSS Conference - More aimed at IT managers, but still the best place to see what everybody's doing.