June 14, 2007

LIS Books

Over on facebook, some librarians are having a discussion of favorite LIS books. I can't think of a dedicated LIS book that I like, but here are two that have shaped my view of design and users:

* Krug, Steve. Don't Make Me Think! : A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability. 2d ed. Indianapolis, Ind.: Que, 2006.
Explains in very clear language how to design for users in a way that they will understand. Emphasizes the value of simplicity. My favorite graphic is in the chapter "Street Signs and Breadcrumbs", in which he shows a street sign in Los Angeles and another in Boston. The LA street sign spans the entire street and is easy to read while you're driving around, possibly lost. The Boston street sign, when it exists (speaking as an infrequent Boston driver), is tiny and very difficult to read. Essential, and easy, reading for any web designer.

* Norman, Donald A. The Psychology of Everyday Things. New York: Basic Books, 1988.
Norman's classic is not specifically written for web site design, but it can easily be applied to web design, and Norman's engaging style makes for another easy read. I think about this book EVERY TIME I open a door that is not clearly marked. Essentially, he says "if I have to think when I open a door, the door is badly designed." (I'm looking at you, entrance to Hampshire College Library Center). I also think of this book when I try to turn off my iHome radio in the morning; Norman talks about how difficult it is to design something complex and keep it simple. Highly recommended.

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