Having covered blogs on a wide range of topics, you learn about all different subjects…some fun and some not as fun. So, it’s a huge perk when I get to cover something I like talking about, and today, it’s website usability books.
I consider blogs to be an important form of journalism as well as a great communication and learning tool. This is especially true if you are a fellow blogger. But sometimes, books are much more fun to research and talk about because -as bloggers- we don’t look at them all day.
I talk a lot about how valuable books are as a source of learning and research, so whenever I discover a new industry or interest, I am eager to write about the top literary references. Sometimes, however, I have to bide my time until there is enough material to cover the topic.
Well, I’ve spent enough time waiting, so let’s talk about the three best website usability books out there.
#1 -“ Web Site Usability: A Designer’s Guide” (Jared Spool)
This is the book I recommend to artists and ‘aesthetically minded’ people. It guides you on how to design comprehensive and powerful web structures that work properly. Some people aren’t programmers or technologists, but they are talented in other ways, so the tech stuff should never stop you from designing.
Spool takes that into account, and approaches usability with designers, not programmers or engineers, in mind. As a skilled design specialist himself, Spool truly knows what it takes to be a designer. His insight enables the artistically talented masses to harness the computer science of website usability that otherwise, only programmers and developers would understand.
He’s a competent writer, although perhaps a tad dramatic and I recommend, “Web Site Usability: A Designer’s Guide” to those who aren’t the most tech savvy.
#2 -“Don’t Make me Think: A common Sense Approach to Web Usability” (Steve Krug)
Those who follow my blog know that I’m a fan of Krug’s writing, with his no nonsense, down to earth approach to every topic that he covers.
Krug knows how to present things in layman’s terms. He is comprehensive, without being condescending. He goes step by step, getting a point across (without being slow). This is a tough feat to accomplish. This book combines a down to earth sense of humor with an informal yet professional writing style. -“Don’t Make me Think: A common Sense Approach to Web Usability” is a good book for the aspiring web designer to get their feet wet on the intricate science of usability.
#3 -“ Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed” (Jakob Nielsen)
This book is a little different than the others, in that it teaches by existing examples. Nielsen takes fifty of the most well-known successful websites out there, breaks them down and shows why their design works. Then he offers advice and inspiration that you can apply to your own site.
Nielson believes that even if content is good, the framework that delivers it is the key… that’s what makes the whole thing work. If you want a good reference to usability that gives you real world understanding – in a nutshell, without any fluff – then this book is definitely for you. Nielsen is an amazing ‘reverse engineer’, so you’re in good hands with him as your guide.
These are my top three picks for website usability books. They each contain a lot of helpful information for designing your site. Check them out and let me know what you think!