The Design of Everyday Things (http://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Donald-Norman/d...)
The Humane Interface (http://www.amazon.com/Humane-Interface-Directions-Designing-...)
Contextual Design (http://www.amazon.com/Contextual-Design-Customer-Centered-In...)
However, if you are looking for something more pragmatic, Steve's Don't Make me Think and JJG's The Elements of User Experience should be the top of your reading list, especially on web design.
Ask HN: Learning Web Design — http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1604915
Ask HN: How can I get better at design? —http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1474315
I’ve found this online book great — http://designingfortheweb.co.uk/book/index.php
Experienced designers always emphasize learning about typography, and which seemed unintuitive to me until I began to study it. Bringhurst is a fantastic place to start there:
- http://webtypography.net/ for typography basics
- http://uxmovement.com/ for general user experience advice
- http://uxmovement.com/resources/4-best-design-pattern-librar... (inspiration :) )
- http://alpha.patterntap.com/collections/Tabs (found recently about it).
Hope it helps.
While many of the books recommended on this board are good books, some of the authors learned through trial and error without the guidance of the scientific rigor that is provided by Human Factors, while others are just plain wrong.
The mind works in particular patterns, understanding those patterns will help you conceive of interfaces and test those conceptions, while verifying that it does indeed improve whatever metric you are trying to improve, not just emulate something that worked for someone.
Now I am not saying you need a PHD in Human Factors to design good interfaces, but a little grounding goes a long way. It will help you understand why something worked for someone in a book and determine if it will also work for what you are trying to apply it to.
Institutionalization of Usability
User Interfaces for All -- expensive but good.
About Face 2.0 -- Good info poorly written I think 3 may be out by now.
Human Factors in Information Systems
I guess I should have and put a disclaimer on it. When I bought it, it was around $275. If you have to buy one book and you can spare the change, this is the one. But some of the others will get you going faster.
It depends on what you want to do, This book is deeply focused and considered an academic text, many teach from it. Once the subject matter in this book is mastered you will be a HF professional for sure, but some of the other books can get you up and running faster.
At some point you should consider this book for your bookshelf but it is not a beginners book that is another reason I was hesitant to recommend it.
Their posts are usually really informative and provide a lot of jumping off points and design analysis. They have a book out as well that I've only thumbed through a bit, but looked really well done.
I have to worry about form design mostly, so two links I liked were
I also stole some ideas from here:
Those are the ones I've read and somewhat followed.
I also bookmarked this framework to try out:
There are also several eyetracking services (some provided by Ycombinator companies I believe) - I'd love to have eyetracking studies on the company website, but the current management doesn't mind that it looks like crap since it will be outsourced anyways.
I discovered that a couple of weeks ago. It's really, really well done.
He talks more about user experience and interaction, not graphic design, that as someone else mentioned, you can find tutorials on the tuts plus network.
He's really an excellent speaker.
But yea, Ryan Singer is the awesome.
I have yet to choose a book from the list that didn't leave me feeling much more informed. If you click on a book in the list it jumps to a description of why he thinks someone should read it.
I desperately want to get the Handbook of Human Factors and Ergonomics, but it's just way too expensive:
Don Norman's books are also worth a read (though more difficult to immediately apply to creating software).
For general visual design "The Non-Designers Design Book" by Robin Williams is an excellent tutorial to teach you how to be, as you say, "not horrible".
You should understand the difference between Web design and UI/UX design: it's like Monet/van Gogh versus Da Vinci.
In UIs you're crafting like an "engineer", while with general website design (eg. most of the cases done by graphic designers) you're painting. Either way practice is required (if you're a programmer you know this, you can't learn programming only by reading books :).
Also if I may, I would recommend "Semiology of Graphics"
by Jacques Bertin, it's a reference to information design and visualization (if you plan to design apps, you may want to give it a look). http://www.amazon.com/Semiology-Graphics-Diagrams-Networks-M...
2. Whitney Hess, a respected UX professional with great PR skills, has a recommended list at http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/Best-Recommended-Books-...
As a person who once switched to UX design for a while, I can say that they are definitely great books, though I can't understand everyone' obsession with Steve Krug (he has EXTREMELY basic books).
Also, Whitney has two popular blog posts of So You Wanna Be a UX Designer series:
http://whitneyhess.com/blog/2009/06/30/so-you-wanna-be-a-use... and http://whitneyhess.com/blog/2009/11/23/so-you-wanna-be-a-use... .
They will provide you basics, but also overwhelm with the huge volume of recommended sources.
3. konigi.com (ther blog and wiki) is a top source of information about ALL old and new UX tools, some UX basics and new UX trends. They also sell some very handy tools for UX designers http://konigi.com/tools/overview
I would recommend you "Defensive Design for the Web" by 37 Signals and "Designing Web Interfaces" by Bill Scott.
These books use examples of Web Interfaces but you can apply them on anything. Be it a software or hardware.
Also, I would say, when you design something, Dont focus much on visual appearance. First try to make things clean and ask your non-tech friends to use it. See what difficulties they face in using your product. You will learn a lot from these experiences.
Also, I'd throw in The Design of Everyday Things -- see http://www.amazon.com/Design-Everyday-Things-Donald-Norman/d.... It was written long before anyone ever thought of web usability; instead, it focuses on the usability of things you interact with daily in real life. Let's just say that you'll never look at teapots or door handles the same way again...
MIT's OCW class on UI - http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-comput...
Also, look at RISD, Stanford, CMU, Berkeley, Cornell (in no particular order).
If you can, anything by Doug Engelbart is amazingly motivational (inventor of the mouse) and insightful.
If you contact me, I'd be happy to send you my slides from lectures I've done on interaction and answer any questions.
Don't know about all these books recs. All good books, but reading books wont make you a better designer. Reading books about fine art wont make you a better painter; and reading books about soccer wont make you a better soccer player. You'll learn the rules, sure, but at the end of the day you need to develop the skills by training/being coached (if I can run with the metaphor), so I suggest taking a short course on graphic design fundamentals and learn by doing.
Getting drilled on the fundamentals will stay with you much longer than anything you read in a book about ux/design.
Grab a copy of "Rocket Surgery made Easy" by Steve Krug, a copy of Silverback for Mac, and start doing some user tests.
In time, you will start to see the same patterns coming up over and over again, and this information will begin to unwittingly inform your thinking during the design phase.
This isn't going to help you with visual design so much, but it certainly will help you with the communication aspects of the software/website, and will help you to avoid design/UX pitfalls.
if you wanna learn about users, the way they think, and which problems they have on the web (eg with forms,..)
just sit by your girlfriend, your mum or everybody you can watch in front of a computer.
the best is to watch them using something you created. so you get a clue of how different problems (than you think) other people have that you might think.
i was yesterday at a customer showing my progress. so he (a trainer for wordpress stuff) registered on the site and asked and did some (for me) weird things.
there´s tons of things to learn from that. :)
Here's some of my favs (look through the portfolios)
http://www.odopod.com http://bigspaceship.com http://barbariangroup.com/ http://codeandtheory.com http://akqa.com http://rga.com
Design, and art in general, is not very different from coding. You have to write code to be able to appreciate and learn from other's work. Here is one good link on how to critique art: http://bit.ly/d5Ep7p
Do that for UX/Design.
and as well as mrshoe, I love The design of everyday things.
- Always think of the user. All tradeoffs should be made in favor of the user
- Don't expect users to read anything; they're busy
- Make it as simple as possible, but no simpler. Don't dumb it down, just don't complicate it
- For each page/window, know exactly what the user wants to do there.
- Make things clear, easy to see, and easy to learn
- Have an Undo command, for Christ's sakes