30 Useful Web Design Books for 2009

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March 23, 2009

books_20091To keep up with the fast-paced web design industry you must seek out self education sources as often as possible, such as books, or you'll be left behind.

The year 2009 promises to bring us some excellent, and even groundbreaking, new reads. Listed below are 30 web design related books from some of the brightest designers and developers in the industry, that will likely be influential must-reads.

Certainly there can't be any promise that these books will deliver, but it will be worth your while to check them out.

Each book has either a release date or estimated release date listed, however these dates often change due to publishing and other related issues, so please take these dates as approximations only.

1. Web Design: Navigation - Julius Wiedemann

Web Design: Navigation

This addition to the popular ICONS Web Design series focuses on very carefully crafted navigation systems, where usability and narrative are taken in consideration in the development of the website.

Featuring over 90 projects from more than 20 countries, as well as case studies on outstanding work by the world's leading studios such as Fahrenheit, Clusta, and Sequence, this collection illustrates the ingenious solutions to one of the most difficult and important aspects of web design.

Released: March 2009


2. The Findability Formula: The Easy, Non-Technical Approach to Search Engine Marketing

The Findability Formula

Whether you're a seasoned search marketer, a paid search advertiser, or a complete novice, this book will help position your business front-and-center when prospects are searching for solutions online.

In simple, non-technical language, renowned search engine marketing expert Heather Lutze reveals how to achieve "findability" through the use of the ideal keywords applied to both pay per click campaigns and organic search optimization. She includes a wealth of creative strategies for keeping campaigns fresh and effective, so that you can re-energize stale Web sites or tweak successful ones to make them even more profitable.

In addition, Lutze explains how to respond to your customers and understand their issues, wants, and needs so that you can more easily turn prospects into customers. Her step-by-step approach, up-to-date research, and warnings about common pitfalls make this the ultimate practical guide to getting your business noticed on the Internet.

Released: March 2009

Order - Publisher's Website

3. A Project Guide to UX Design: For User Experience Designers In The Field or In The Making - Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler

UX Design

This book presents a chapter-by-chapter guide through an appropriate User Experience process, as well as provides additional information on the creating SOWs and Proposals, Project Ecosystem, best practices for meetings, and understanding business requirements.

User Experience neophytes and professionals alike should be able to find information relevant to any phase of a project in this book.

Released: March 2009

Order - Publisher's Website

4. When Search Meets Web Usability - Shari Thurow and Nick Musica

When Search Meets Web Usability

This book delivers a proactive approach to building an effective Web site that is search engine friendly and will result in better search rankings.

It outlines the steps needed to bridge the gap between a Google search and a Web site, and also improve the users' experience once they get to the site.

By understanding the wide variety of information-seeking strategies and the individual behaviors associated with them, this book helps information architects, Web designers/developers, SEOs/SEMs, and usability professionals build better interfaces and functionality into Web sites.

Creating a satisfying user experience is the key to maximizing search effectiveness and getting conversions.

Released: March 2009

Order - Publisher's Website

5. Sexy Web Design: Creating Interfaces that Work - Elliot Jay Stocks

Sexy Web Design

Designing usable and aesthetically pleasing interfaces is crucial to the success of any application on today's Web. This book answers critical questions such as:

  • What makes a web site work?
  • What makes a web site look good?
  • What makes a web site easy to use?

This book also covers the process of web site design from the discovery phase all the way through production and the development of style guides.

Released: March 2009

Order - Publisher's Website - Author's Website

6. Graphic Design Theory: Readings from the Field - Helen Armstrong

Graphic Design Theory

Graphic Design Theory distills modern design thinking into twenty-four essential essays.

It presents ground-breaking, primary texts from the most important historical and contemporary design thinkers—from Aleksandr Rodchenko’s “Who We Are: Manifesto of the Constructivist Group” to Kenya Hara’s “Computer Technology and Design”

This fundamental survey quickly reveals key evolving ideas in the industry, putting them into a rich historical and cultural context.

To Be Released: April 4, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website - Author's Website

7. Search Engine Optimization for Flash: Best Practices for Using Flash On The Web - Todd Perkins

Search Engine Optimization for Flash

This breakthrough book offers you a series of best practices for using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, for building sites with Flash that will stand tall in search rankings. You'll learn how search engines work, what constitutes a search-engine-optimized (SEO) site, and what to watch out for in the way of SEO pitfalls. With this concise book, you will:

  • Learn about searchable content, and understand the importance of metadata, keywords, and links
  • Place HTML content in your Flash applications
  • Create an SEO website by connecting Flash to JavaScript and CSS
  • Work effectively with SWFObject by understanding its capabilities and limitations
  • Realize the advantages of using the Adobe Flex framework for SEO

The first -and only- book that explains how to optimize Flash content for search engines, Search Engine Optimization for Flash is an invaluable resource if you develop with Flash and want to be sure your audience can easily find your site.

To Be Released: April 6, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

8. Speaking in Styles: Fundamentals of CSS for Web Designers - Jason Cranford Teague

Speaking in Styles

Speaking in Styles targets Web designers, aiming to help them learn the "language" that will be used to take their vision from the static comp to the live Internet.

Many designers think that CSS is code, and that it's too hard to learn.

Author Jason Teague takes an approach to CSS that breaks it down around common design tasks and helps the reader learn that they already think in styles- they just need to learn to speak the language.

To Be Released: April 7, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website - Author's Website

9. Professional Web Widgets with CSS, DOM, JSON and Ajax - Rajesh Lal and Lakshmi Chava

Professional Web Widgets

Professional Widgets with CSS, DOM and Ajax is the first guide to building web widgets - tiny applications that can be embedded in a web page or on the desktop and have exploded in popularity in recent months.

Inside, award-winning programmer Rajesh Lal provides readers with a methodology for building widgets using standards like CSS and DOM to create widgets that work anywhere.

Next he guides readers though the creation of widgets using several popular toolkits and frameworks including Yahoo! Widgets, Silverlight with PopFly, Google Web Toolkit, Microsoft Web Gadgets and more.

Professional Widgets with CSS, DOM and Ajax is heavy on step-by step examples enabling readers to get up to speed and begin building widgets quickly and easily.

To Be Released: April 13, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

10. Semantic Web Programming - John Hebeler, Matthew Fisher, Ryan Blace, Andrew Perez-Lopez, Mike Dean

The next major advance in the Web 3.0 will be built on semantic Web technologies, which will allow data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries.

Written by a team of highly experienced Web developers, this book explains and examines how this powerful new technology can unify and fully leverage the ever-growing data, information, and services that are available on the Internet.

Helpful examples demonstrate how to use the semantic Web to solve practical, real-world problems while you take a look at the set of design principles, collaborative working groups, and technologies that form the semantic Web.

To Be Released: April 13, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

11. Beginning Joomla! - Cory Webb

Beginning Joomla

Beginning Joomla! will take the reader step-by-step through the process of building a website with Joomla! 1.5.

From beginning to end, the book will explain a concept and show how that concept relates to the development of an actual sample web site the reader can access online. This book applies each concept to a real-world example every step of the way.

Once a concept is explained in theory, it is then illustrated by showing how one would implement each concept in a real web site.

Topics covered include:

  • Configuring Joomla!
  • Managing Content
  • Core Modules and Plugins
  • Managing Menus
  • Extensions
  • Building Custom Templates
  • Troubleshooting
  • Advanced Tips and Tricks

To Be Released: April 13, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

12. Front End Drupal: Designing, Theming, Scripting - Konstantin Käfer and Emma Hogbin

Front End Drupal

While other Drupal books focus on module development, Front End Drupal is 100% focused on issues of site design, behavior, usability, and management.

The authors show how to style Drupal sites, make the most of Drupal’s powerful templating system, build sophisticated community sites, streamline site management, and build more portable, flexible themes.

You’ll also gain hands-on experience through several case studies that walk you through site creation and customization from start to finish.

To Be Released: April 20, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

13. Website Owner's Manual - Paul Boag

Website Owner's Manual

Using clever illustrations, easy-to-follow lists and diagrams, and other friendly touches, Website Owner's Manual helps readers form a vision for a site, guides them through the process of selecting a web design agency, and gives just enough background to help them make intelligent decisions throughout the development process.

This book provides a jargon-free overview of web design, including accessibility, usability, online marketing, and web development techniques.

Using Website Owner's Manual, readers master the vocabulary and concepts they need to discuss how a website dovetails with the needs of a business.

This book will help them work confidently with the designers and developers building and maintaining a site so they can concentrate on what your website needs to do.

To Be Released: May, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website - Author's Website

14. Web Standards Solutions, Second Edition - Dan Cederholm

Web Standards Solutions

The expanded second edition of Dan Cederholm's best-selling Web Standards Solutions is even better than the first.

This book, like the first edition, is your essential guide to understanding the advantages you can bring to your web pages by implementing web standards and precisely how to apply them.

Web standards such as XHTML and CSS are now fairly well-known technologies, and they will likely be familiar to you, the web designer.

Indeed, they are all around you on the Web. However, within web standards still lies a challenge: while the browser's support for web standards is steadily increasing, many web developers and designers have yet to discover the real benefits of web standards and respect the need to adhere to them. The second edition:

  • Contains bonus material not in the first edition
  • Teaches how to use Web Standards effectively to build better web sites
  • Promotes learning by work-through examples and assessments

To Be Released: May 4, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website - Author's Website

15. Beginning JavaScript and CSS Development with jQuery - Richard York


This book demonstrates how to use jQuery to reduce the amount of code you need to write and reduce the amount of testing that is required.

You'll see how separation of presentation (CSS), markup (XHTML), and script (JavaScript and Ajax) in web pages is a crucial direction in web development for creating maintainable, accessible, cost-effective web sites.

The featured full-color code syntax highlighting provides you with a visual reinforcement so you can see the various pieces and parts that make up each line and section of code for each language.

To Be Released: May 4, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

16. Recharge Your Design Batteries - John O'Reilly and Tony Linkson

Recharge Your Design Batteries

Recharge Your Design Batteries will help shock you out of your complacency, inspire you to look in new directions for radical solutions, and invite you to hone entirely new skill sets.

Tactics include: writing must-have lists and storytelling scenarios; compiling visual scrapbooks, drawing in sketchbooks and journaling daily; establishing a blog with a regular creative challenge; launching your own cute product line; collecting color and texture swatches and constructing atmospheric mood boards; experimenting with still and video cameras and recording experiences and environments; sourcing ephemera and found objects from flea-markets to build and display inspirational collections; volunteering and working pro-bono; and taking day trips and longer excursions to discover archival resources

To Be Released: May 12, 2009


17. Total Web Monitoring: Watching Performance, Users, and Communities - Alistair Croll and Sean Power

Total Web Monitoring

This book combines real-world examples, clear explanations, and practical recommendations in an accessible and engaging style that makes it a thorough -- and surprisingly readable -- must-have for anyone involved in running a website, from web operators to e-business professionals. With Total Web Monitoring, you will:

  • Discover how visitors use your site, using web analytics and tools for customer feedback
  • Determine if visitors are able to use the site as they intend, with technologies that evaluate the health of your site's back-end performance
  • Learn how visitors interact with your site with tools to measure the effectiveness of usability and navigation
  • Track eight kinds of online community: social networks, groups and mailing lists, forums, blogs, microblogs, real-time chat, wikis, and social news aggregators

You can't fix your mistakes if you don't know what they are. Learn how to avoid missed opportunities, frustrated users, and spiraling costs with the tools and advice in Total Web Monitoring.

To Be Released: May 15, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

18. Web Application Architecture: Principles, Protocols and Practices - Leon Shklar and Rich Rosen

Web Application Architecture

Web Application Architecture provides an in-depth examination of the basic concepts and general principles associated with Web application development, using examples that illustrate specific technologies.

This conceptual knowledge is critical when building and deploying complex systems that are scaleable, extensible, maintainable and reusable.

The book explains the underlying protocols and languages that support Web application development, and delineates the best practices associated with building robust applications.

It describes mechanisms for providing Web access to heterogeneous data sources including relational databases and multimedia.

To Be Released: May 18, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

19. Web Anatomy: Interaction Design Frameworks that Work - Robert Hoekman and Jared Spool

Web Anatomy

In Web Anatomy, renowned design researcher Jared Spool, founder of User Interface Engineering, and veteran interaction designer Robert Hoekman, Jr., author of Designing the Obvious and Designing the Moment, introduce a collection of interaction design frameworks and reveal how the psychology behind these standards leads not only to effective designs, but can also serve as the basis for cutting-edge innovations and superior user experiences.

Web Anatomy delivers:

  • A reference guide to interaction design frameworks
  • An examination of the psychology behind the standards
  • An in-depth look at what works, what doesn't, and where to go from here

To Be Released: May 25, 2009

Preorder - Author's Website

20. Eyetracking Web Usability - Jakob Nielsen and Kara Pernice

Eyetracking Web Usability

Eyetracking is a hot new field in user interface design. What better way to explore this growing field than with master usability expert Jakob Nielsen showing the way?

Jakob and his coauthor Kara Pernice train thousands of people each year on Web usability, and in this book they demonstrate what can be learned from users' eye paths over a broad variety of Web designs.

Readers learn how much a user's goal or task influences the way they read and traverse a Web site, which parts of a page users attend to first, how readers react to advertising and design elements that look like ads, where people look first for common page elements and navigation, how they respond to text, pictures, and multimedia, and so much more.

With all this data in place, readers come away with practical and effective information about designing their Web sites.

To Be Released: May 25, 2009

Preorder - Author's Website

21. Web Design for Developers: A Programmer's Guide to Design Tools and Techniques - Brian Hogan

Web Design for Developers

Developers don't get to spend a lot of time thinking about design, but many secretly wish they knew how to make their applications look just a little bit better.

This book takes you on a journey through a web site redesign, where you'll learn the basic concepts of design, color theory, typography, and accessibility.

You'll learn how to take a sketch and transform it into a digital mockup in Photoshop, and then finally into a working web page.

You'll see how to develop logos, icons, and buttons using Illustrator and Photoshop, and then code a web page that will load fast, be easy to maintain, and most of all, be accessible to all audiences.

To Be Released: May 28, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

22. The Designer's Guide to Business and Careers: How to Succeed on the Job or on Your Own - Peg Faimon

The Designer's Guide to Business and Careers

The Designer's Guide to Business and Careers is a comprehensive guide to basic business issues for designers in today’s competitive marketplace.

You'll find information on how to successfully navigate your design career or start your own studio with case studies, tips, examples and exercises.

From choosing a career path to freelancing to striking out on your own, this must-have guide gives you the tools you need to find clients, negotiate prices, understand production basics and stay on top of industry trends.

To Be Released: June 12, 2009


23. Build Your Own Database Driven Web Site Using PHP & MySQL, 4th Edition - Kevin Yank

Build Your Own Database Driven Web Site

Build Your own Database Driven Web Site Using PHP & MySQL is a practical hands-on guide to learning all the tools, principles and techniques needed to build a fully functional database-driven web site using PHP & MySQL.

This book covers everything from installing PHP & MySQL under Windows, Linux, and Mac through to building a live web-based content management system.

While this is essentially a beginners book, it also covers more advanced topics such as the storage of binary data in MySQL, and cookies and sessions in PHP.

To Be Released: June 15, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website - Author's Website

24. Advanced CSS - Joe Lewis and Meitar Moscovitz


Advanced CSS goes beyond the basics of CSS to give you an expert's understanding of CSS concepts and practices.

It discusses everything you need to know to work on large-scale projects, such as CSS optimization and techniques for managing complexity.

The book uses real-life examples to help intermediate CSS developers take their CSS skills to the next level and help all Web developers and designers utilize the full power and flexibility of CSS.

To Be Released: June 15, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

25. Web Content Rx: A Quick and Handy Guide for Writers, Webmasters, Ebayers, and Business People - Wayne English

Web Content Rx

Web Content Rx is a hands-on primer that shows anyone--even technical novices--how to write high-quality, keyword-laden, search engine optimized Web content.

Based on the latest research on how people read the Web, it also includes numerous tips, tricks, and techniques on writing a blog, training, and creating an audio or video podcast.

This must-have reference is for anyone working on the Web. Webmasters can avoid losing projects for lack of content. Business people can now create effective, readily understood Web content about their services or products.

eBay sellers can create powerful online advertisements and photograph your products to maximize their appeal. Technical writers, and those who write for industry, will appreciate the extensive safety-related material.

To Be Released: June 20, 2009


26. Content Strategy for the Web - Kristina Halvorson


This book is the key to delivering useful, usable content to your online audiences, when and where they need it most. It delivers the knowledge to plan for and implement a successful online content strategy It shows which tools are available and how to use them to plan for, create and govern online content.

This is the only book that gives practical advice on staffing and resource allocation for web editorial roles and responsibilities. The Web Content Strategy Handbook can help in delivering useful, usable content to online audiences, when and where they need it most.

Focusing on the user experience as it relates to content strategy, this book defines content strategy, its business value, and why so many web projects implode in the content development phase. It provides simple ways to introduce content strategy into the user experience design process.

Readers get solid, practical advice on staffing and resource allocation for content-related roles and responsibilities and learn about the easy-to-use tools that are necessary to plan for, create, and govern online content.

To Be Released: August 2009


27. Good Design: Deconstructing Form, Function, and What Makes Design Work - Terry Marks

Good Design

The author, Terry Marks, polls several designers of different age groups and phases in their careers about what they consider “good design.”

Each has selected an existing design piece they feel to be good, based on their personal definition of what “good” is. The author also takes a critical look at the design to determine if it is effective with its target market and interviews the designer of the piece to unlock the concept behind the design.

By taking this backwards approach through design—from completed piece back to conception—readers will discover why the design works and how they can use this information in their own projects.

To Be Released: July 1, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website - Author's Website

28. Freelance Design in Practice - Cathy Fisel

Freelance Design in Practice

As a designer, it’s easy to take on a freelance project here and there to expand your creativity and increase your income. But very quickly, such projects begin to have legal and financial ramifications.

Freelance Design in Practice addresses these issues as well as explaining exactly what it takes to create a full-time freelance business.

For both active freelancers and those who aspire to it, Freelance Design in Practice offers insight and advice from working professionals who have successfully jumped the many hurdles on the road to becoming solo practitioners.

To Be Released: July 8, 2009


29. Beginning Rails 2: From Novice to Professional - Jeffrey Allan Hardy and Cloves Carneiro Jr.

Beginning Rails 2

Beginning Rails 2 is the practical starting point for anyone wanting to learn how to build dynamic web applications using the Rails framework for Ruby.

You’ll learn how all of the components of Rails and Rails 2 fit together and how you can leverage them to create sophisticated web applications with less code and more joy.

This book is particularly well suited to those with little or no experience with web application development, or who have some experience but are new to Rails.

Beginning Rails 2 assumes basic familiarity with web terms and technologies but doesn’t require you to be an expert.

To Be Released: July 13, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website

30. The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks - Rachel Andrews

The CSS Anthology, 3rd Edition

The CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks is a compilation of best practice solutions to the most challenging CSS problems.

The third edition of this best-selling book, published in full color, has been completely revised and updated to cover the latest techniques and newer browsers, including Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8.

It's the most complete question-and-answer book on CSS, with over 100 tutorials that'll show you how to gain more control over the appearance of your web page, create sophisticated Web page navigation controls, design for today's alternative browsing devices including phones and screen readers, and much more.

To Be Released: July 28, 2009

Preorder - Publisher's Website - Author's Website

Additional Books Coming Soon in 2009

New books are being announced every week. These below have recently been announced, therefore lack any detailed information about their content, however they too sound promising:

Compiled exclusively for WDD by Michael Shelton. Michael is a web designer and graphic design student who has worked in both web and print for over 4 years.

Do you know of any other books? What kind of books do you wish someone would write (maybe someone will)? Let us know what you think.

WDD Staff

WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. If there's something you think we should be talking about let us know @DesignerDepot.

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