Web Designer Books

PC Pro logo Posted: 1st April 2001 | Filed under: Press Articles
Author: Paul Ockenden
First Appeared in PC Pro 2001

Paul spotted a question on a new media mailing list which asked, 'Can anyone recommend an absolute beginners' guide to Web site design type of book?' Paul's advice was that if you want to become a great Web designer, then forget Web books for a while and first go out and read some general design books - books like Design for the Real World by Victor Papanek. When we last checked this was out of print, but it's worth tracking down via your library, the second-hand bookshops or on-line via or

After that, read the three brilliant Edward Tuffte books (Envisioning Information, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative). In fact, you should read these Tuffte volumes twice, as they're three of the most important books that any budding Web designer will ever read.

Next, go and find some of the classic user interface design books: most people would point you in the direction of Usability Engineering by Jakob Nielsen, which is indeed a very good and worthy book, but I'd like to point you in the direction of an alternative text 'Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication Oriented Techniques by Kevin Mullet and Darrell Sano. This manages to be both useful and accessible, and probably ranks alongside the Tuffte books in our 'essential reading' list. Only once you've made your way through these non-Web books should you even consider purchasing something like 'Janet and John Teach Web design to Dummies in 21 days'.