Top 10 Web Books

Seth Godin started a mini buzz about replacing an MBA education with about 30 books (blog post). People have also started sending him lists of books they feel should be on it. Never one to miss an opportunity to jump on a bandwagon I’ll publish my list of top 10 web books:

Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug
This is absolutely the best book on web design there is, period. It’s really easy to read and full of straight forward common sense thinking. In fact you should probably re-read it once a year.

Designing with Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman
You may think you know CSS, I know I did, but I was wrong. This book was nothing short of a religious CSS experience. I design everything differently now, and it is good.

Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed by Jakob Nielsen
Jakob takes 50 homepages and picks them apart and makes suggestions for improvement. The designs may be a little dated, but the principles and concepts are still useful.

The Non-Designers Design Book by Robin Williams
If like me, you come to the web from a technical background, and not a design background, this book helps you think about and understand good design. It won’t make you Michelangelo but it will make you better, and no it not that Robin Williams.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte
This is not a web book. It’s about learning how to present and display data and information in a visual way and make it meaningful. How is that going to help you? Ok it was his graphs that led to the connection between low temperature and the o-ring failure on the space shuttle explosion.

Information Architecture by Louis Rosenfeld
Unless all of your websites are going to have less than 12 pages you are going to need to organize them. This book can help you understand not only how to organize your website, or any large set of data. Yes it’s a bit dry but important stuff none the less.

Professional Web Site Optimization by Michael Tracy
In an age of always on broadband connections it’s easy to forget about code bloat, bad design other issues. While not the problem they once were, a quick and fast website always will be more desirable than a slow one.

Color Index by Jim Krause
Many times I have a hard time choosing a color palette for a website. When I do this is where I start. It has over 1100 different color combinations. While only the back part is browser safe I use the whole book as a starting point for finding web safe colors

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
You may be asking what they heck does that have to do with the web? Nothing. That’s right nothing, but all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So go out read some fiction, read a biography, read about anything else other than the internet. Remember silly muggles you have to take time to sharpen the saw now and again.

Advanced PHP for Web Professionals by Christopher Cosentino
Until this January I didn’t know a single line of PHP. I did know how to program in ASP and SQL but those tools are not only out of the budget of small companies but not really needed. I tried a couple of books but this one taught me the most. Don’t let the title scare you, if you have any programming skill you’ll be able to get through it.

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