Don’t make me think. Steve Krug.
(2000, Various editions)
Information Architecture for the World Wide Web. Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville
(O’Reilly, 2nd Edition, 2002 )
Hands down, the single most useful book about Web site design. They tackle the issues of navigation, labeling, and searching with admirable clarity and practicality.
Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. Paco Underhill, Simon and Schuster, 2000
A wonderful summary of many years of detailed observation of shoppers in their natural habitat. Even though the subject is the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, the problem is the same as Web design: creating complex, engaging environments where people look for things—and find them.
Home Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed. Jakob Nielsen, Marie Tahir.
New Riders, 2001
The bad news about this book is that after you’ve seen the problems of twenty-five Home pages, you’ve seen them all. The good news, though, is that the excellent set of 113 Home page design guidelines crammed into the first 28 pages is worth the price of the entire book.
Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions. Gary Klein, MIT Press, 1999
Klein’s study of naturalistic decision making is another wonderful example of how field observation can reveal the difference between the way we think we do things and the way we actually do them. If the Whole Earth Catalog still existed, this book and Why We Buy would both be in it.
A Practical Guide to Usability Testing. Joseph Dumas and Janice (Ginny) Redish, Intellect, 1999
Joseph Dumas and Janice (Ginny) Redish, Intellect, 1999 The best how-to book out there on user testing, and my favorite—at least until I write the one I keep scribbling notes for. Ginny is also currently writing a book on writing for the Web, which I can recommend highly, sight unseen. In the same vein, Caroline Jarrett (www.formsthatwork.com/),whom I consider the authority on designing Web forms, is writing the definitive book on, well…designing Web forms. If it hasn’t appeared by 2006, send her an email and pester her about it.
Other related books
The Design of Everyday Things. Don Norman, Basic Books, 2002
Defensive Design for the Web. 37 Signals, New Riders, 2004
Web Application Design Handbook: Best Practices for Web-Based Software. Susan Fowler and Victor Stanwick, Morgan Kaufmann, 2004
The Practice of Creativity: A Manual for Dynamic Group Problem Solving. George M. Prince, Macmillan, 1972.
Steve Krug’s web page about Usability tests sensible.com, Advanced Common Sense: www.sensible.com,
Jakob Nielsen’s Web site, useit.com (www.useit.com)
Beginning with Usability Engineering in 1984, Jakob Nielsen has long been usability’s most articulate and thought-provoking advocate. And since the advent of the Web, he’s shown up everywhere but on milk cartons preaching the value of Web usability.I don’t always agree with what he says, but I always admire the way he says it. His site houses his biweekly Alertbox columns (another reason to admire him: a columnist who’s smart enough to know he doesn’t have something important to say every week), and links to all of the best usability resources on the Web.
Usability News. http://psychology.wichita.edu/surl
WebWord. http://www.webword.com/. John Rhodes
UsabilityViews.com. http://www.usabilityviews.com/. Chris McEvoy
Usability.gov (Usability.gov) research-based guidelines
This excellent set of Web design and usability guidelines, published by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), includes very nice examples and references to the research each guideline is based on. If you have a usability question, it’s always worth checking here first to see if they’ve covered it.