10 favourite web design books
As a break from reviewing new books, this is a quick list of older web design books which I’ve enjoyed a lot.
Designing with Web Standards – I read the first edition of Jeffrey Zeldman’s book in 2003 when I was pretty fed up with the unsatisfying business of learning endless display hacks for different browsers, which web design then seemed mainly to consist of. I liked the whole idea that web standards offered a more coherent future for web development and the author’s coherently-argued narrative and gradualist approach made it all seem more realisable.
The Zen of CSS Design – Really opened my eyes to what could be done with CSS. Lots of really pretty stuff.
From a personal perspective, I’d like to include The Art and Science of Web Design by Jeffrey Veen published back in 2000. I borrowed this from the library at college in 2001 while doing an MSc in Information Systems. I read it through in an afternoon, totally caught up in it. A lot of its advice is definitely outdated now, but it was well written and a great read at the time.
Don’t Make Me Think! A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability – Fun to read and re-read. A real-life feel to the examples and some great graphics and cartoons which you can use with clients or project team members to explain points.
Designing Web Usability– Another book which I read at college as part of a module on user interface design which focused mainly on web usability. I felt like I got more out of this book than from everything else in the module combined. It’s powerfully (if somewhat prescriptively) argued and made a great cover-to-cover read at the time.
Building Accessible Websites – Well written with a friendly authorial voice and a pragmatic approach to accessible design. Also had a nice selection of resources on the accompanying CD.
Search and navigation
Ambient findability – I always enjoy well-written stuff about search and this is one of the most satisfying reads on the subject.
Information Architecture for the Word Wide Web – I read the original (shorter) version at college and enjoyed it a lot – then read the second, much larger, edition a couple of years ago. A really comprehensive look at navigation and search which gives you a lot to think about.