10 Usability and Interaction Design Books
1. About Face 3. The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann and David Cronin
Alan Cooper is a professional designer, specialized on software design, and all his knowledge is represented in this book. He makes emphasis on Goal-Directed Design, meaning that goals, not features, are the key to the product success. This technique is based on the use of personas and scenarios to conduct user research. Goals are explained in three categories, experience goals, end goals and life goals. This master piece has mostly theory but it also includes very good examples.
2. Prioritizing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen, Hoa Loranger
Jakob Nielsen, the maestro of Web usability, has been writing about usability since 1995. Nielsen and Loranger work at the Nielsen Norman Group. The book presents a good combination of theory and practical examples. It has clear, useful tips and well-documented “Dos & Don’ts”. As the title indicates, this book has been written considering the Usability from the practical point of view.
3. Designing the Obvious. A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design by Robert Hoekman, Jr.
This is a small guide focused on web-site usability and web-based application usability. The entire book consists of precise concepts and examples. This heavily graphical and illustrated book could be a first introduction for web developers who are interested in this topic. Among covered subjects are building only whats necessary, preventing and handling errors, and designing for the activity. Supporting the user mental model is one of the most interesting concepts where the author proposes to consider designs from the user-centric point of view.
4. Don’t Make Me Think. A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug
Don’t Make Me Think is already the must-read book when it comes to Web usability. It has a number of colorful and humorous examples, including nice cartoons that deliver the message and bring the important observation from real life in the foreground. This relatively small book has the necessary basics, being a recommended first usability read for web designers. Steve Krug does a great work explaining his Laws of Usability, for example to “get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what’s left”.
5. The Design of Sites. Patterns for Creating Winning Web Sites by Douglas Van Duyne, James Landay, Jason Hong.
The Design of Sites is a toolbox for every web-designer that wants to inspect and study usability and interaction design patterns. It is basically an excellent reference book with very good concise examples. The authors have divided the book in a collection of design patterns, giving clear hints and examples on how and when to use each of them.
6. The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
Published many years ago, this book is already a usability legend. Norman writes about the importance of the user-centered design and how this concept can be applied to design of everything. Memorable chapters include “Design for Error”, “Simplify the Structure of Tasks” and “When All Else Fails, Standardize”. Donald Norman is one of the founders of the well known Nielsen Norman Group, pioneers in usability and user-centered design.
7. Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design by Jenifer Tidwell
Designing Interfaces delivers what a book from O’Reilly usually offers, good content and quality printing. This book has well-illustrated examples on web applications, desktop software and mobile devices organized according to user interface patterns, each containing practical advices. A kind of “read it from beginning to end”, this book provides solutions for each problem a user interface could have.
8. Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices by Dan Saffer
Designing for Interaction provides examples, patterns and guidelines for interaction design on the Web as well as suggestions for software applications and different electronic devices. Dan Saffer himself was working as a creative leader and interaction designer which is clearly illustrated in the way this book is written. Particular and unique are the short and clear real design case studies and the interviews with professional designers.
9. Designing Interactions by Bill Moggridge
This book describes the origins of interaction design. Every chapter introduces the creation and development of successfully designed products, for example the mouse, the Mac, The Sims and the iPod. Interviews include the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Doug Engelbart and Bill Atkinson, involved in the creation of the mouse and desktop. Designing Interactions comes with a DVD containing interviews worth watching.
10. Envisioning Information by Edward R. Tufte
Tufte’s books, and specially Envisioning Information, are the essential reads for every person trying to get a better understanding of usability and interaction design. In this book, the author explores different ways of visualizing data. The book has many colorful examples of good and bad data visualization with graphs, maps and charts. The book itself is beautifully printed and comfortable to read. Although it does not provide any examples on website design this book represents the basis of this science.
My Additional Pick
1. The Elements of User Experience-User-Centered Design for the Web
2. Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites
These highly recommended user experience books cover everything from user research and interface design, to information architecture and UX strategy. If you’re really serious about your career as a user experience professional, these books should be the cornerstone of your personal library.
What are your top 5 User Experience books?
- Subject To Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World
by Peter Merholz
- Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning
by Dan Brown
- Contextual Design: A Customer-Centered Approach to Systems Designs (Interactive Technologies)
by Hugh Beyer
- Designing Web Navigation: Optimizing the User Experience
by James Kalbach and Aaron Gustafson
- Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices (Voices That Matter)
by Dan Saffer
- Designing for the Social Web (Voices That Matter)
by Joshua Porter
- Designing Interfaces
by Jenifer Tidwell
- Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design
by Robert Hoekman Jr.
- Designing Web Interfaces
By Bill Scott
- The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web (Voices That Matter)
by Jesse James Garrett
- Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites
by Louis Rosenfeld and Peter Morville
- A Project Guide to UX Design: For user experience designers in the field or in the making
by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler
- Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition
by Steve Krug
- Measuring the User Experience: Collecting, Analyzing, and Presenting Usability Metrics (Interactive Technologies)
by Thomas Tullis
- Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design
by Bill Buxton
- Mental Models: Aligning Design Strategy with Human Behavior
by Indi Young
- Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions
by Tim Ash
- Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks
by Luke Wroblewski
- The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures
by Dan Roam
- Observing the User Experience: A Practitioner’s Guide to User Research
By Mike Kuniavsky