Written by Brian Cray on May 4th, 2009
Designing websites, as with designing any user–interface, should be done with the needs of users in the forefront. Complicated interfaces can and will make your users leave. Oh, and they take their wallets and everything else with them. No happy users = no users = no conversion = career switch.
Here are 5 essential books that—simply put—change the way you think about your users and the interfaces you design for them.
Don't Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
By Steve Krug — The book title sums up the theme of the content. And I full–heartedly agree. This book is a no-nonsense illustrated approach to making usable websites.
Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works
By Janice (Ginny) Redish — Web professionals should understand every aspect of communication on their medium, front information architecture, to usability, to copywriting. This book shows how to say more with less, a must for sticky web content.
The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better
By Seth Godin — The philosophy in this book is remove everything that doesn't directly funnel the user into the next preferred action. Again, I whole-heartedly agree with this principle. Useless elements are simple potential distractions.
Designing With Web Standards
By Jeffrey Zeldman — Often thought of as the modern web designer's bible, this book is an essential tool to help web professionals understand and use the diverse set of languages available to build modern websites.
The Design Of Everyday Things
By Donald Norman — This is an absolute personal favorite. I hold this book on a pedestal. Although it doesn't speak directly to designing web interfaces, its user–centered design principles should be applied to every design. Understand your user and design to their needs.