A lot of people understand HTML & CSS, but only a few of them understand web design.
If you’re an observer, you may already know that a good web design plays a very important role in user experience.
Fortunately, you don’t have to get into design school just to learn about web design, you can just read great books.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of books on web design. Which one to read?
Lucky for you, because in this post, I only featured the best web design books.
And because I care about you, I sorted all the books in this list by their popularity, from the highest to the lowest.
Go check it out.
Disclosure: We earn some money from affiliate links, thank you.
|Title||HTML and CSS||Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited||Convert!|
|Buy This If||You want to learn HTML and CSS, just enough to customize your WordPress site.||You want to improve your website usability and navigation.||You want to increase conversion rates and make more money.|
|Rating||9.4 out of 10||9.2 out of 10||9.1 out of 10|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
1. HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett
First thing first, if you’re a beginner and have no clue at all about HTML and CSS, then this is the book for you.
It’s full-color and designed to teach beginners to grasp the basics of HTML and CSS, and also a little about web design.
The structure also makes it easy to progress through from the beginning, or just skim and skip into a particular topic.
All I can say is, buy this book if you want to redesign your blog as a complete beginner, or if you just want to learn the basics of HTML & CSS.
Written by usability guru Steve Krug, this guide will help you understand what you need to know on crucial usability subjects.
Not only that, the latest (revised) edition also includes a new chapter on mobile usability and fresh examples.
Moreover, the book itself is quite short, practical, easy to read, and fully illustrated.
Being one of the most recommended web design books of all time, I really recommend you to buy and read this book.
But first, I need to remind you that this book is intended for programmers only.
It contains a comprehensive reference to the core language, HTML5, ECMAScript 5, and also jQuery.
This book is pretty much similar to the first book in this list, it teaches you about HTML and CSS and how you can design websites.
The book is beginner friendly, you will learn how the web work and start doing practices to make sure you’ll be able to create a simple website.
One thing I like from this book is that it gives you tips on optimizing web graphics so they will be loaded faster.
Mainly aimed for people learning the technical aspect of a website, you should read this book if you want to code everything manually.
5. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk
One of the most popular reasons people learn web design is to make sure visitors are buying something (honestly, this is the most popular reason).
Obviously, you can increase your conversion rates by using the right web design and structure.
And to achieve that, this book is here providing you with real science and research with practical examples.
Furthermore, most of your questions in regards to people’s online behavior will be answered in this book.
6. Professional WordPress: Design and Development by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern
Well, Professional WordPress is probably the most popular WordPress book targeted to web developers.
The key features of this book include detailed information and examples that illustrate the concepts and techniques at work.
If you like to customize your own WordPress website design or to improve its usability, this book is a good starting place.
For most affiliate marketers and bloggers—which uses WordPress for their websites—this book is really helpful.
7. Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy
Design for Hackers takes a different approach in teaching web design, it reverse-engineer real life examples, such as Renaissance sculptures or the Mac OS X Aqua interface.
The solid principles are also mixed with concrete and actionable advice complete with suggestions.
It gives you a new approach when designing your website by teaching you how to make better decisions.
For people who wants to learn, not just applying practical tips, then you may buy this book, it’s worth the money.
8. Web Form Design by Luke Wroblewski
Written by a Man with experience at Yahoo! and eBay, this book provides you with an original research.
And as the title suggests, this book is mainly about web forms and how to improve its performance.
If you think web forms are important, then you should definitely consider this book as a reference.
However, if you want a more general web design book then go look for another book in this list, because this book focuses only on online forms.
9. The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond by Jesse James Garrett
In this full-color book, Jesse James Garrett provides us with vital references for web and interaction design.
To get successful interaction, it requires not only just creating clean code and sharp graphics, but also meeting the needs of your users.
This book does deliver beginner-worthy knowledge of web design and user experience, experts may not gain so much.
Just like other books on UX, this one is a great book, and it’s your choice whether you buy it or not.
10. Rocket Surgery Made Easy: The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems by Steve Krug
In this how-to companion to Don’t Make Me Think (the second book in this list), Steve Krug explain an approach to usability testing that can be applied by anyone.
In short, he explains how to test any design, keep your focus on finding the most important problems, and fix the problems you find.
Not only that, you will also get access to demonstration videos in addition to the writing itself and before-after examples.
If you buy the main book (Don’t Make Me Think), then Rocket Surgery Made Easy is a recommended companion!
11. Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS3 by Ben Frain
Unlike the other books, this one is more a technical book rather than designing principles book.
It provides us with references and guides on how to use HTML5 and CSS to create a responsive web design.
You will also learn why responsive design is vital for modern web development, and why not using it will cause financial loss.
Buy this if you only interested in the technical stuff, if you want to learn the basic principles of web design, go look at other books that I’ve mentioned.
12. Convert!: Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion by Ben Hunt
Web design expert Ben Hunt and his team identified simple yet powerful solutions to double conversion rate, involving design, copy, analysis, and techniques.
In this book, you will learn how to understand the essentials and how to create a site that generates the desired action.
I recommend this book to those of you who wants to optimize their website’s maximum earning potential.
Affiliate marketers, bloggers, and e-commerce owners definitely need to read this book.
13. CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems by Lea Verou
CSS expert Lea Verdou provides you with 47 CSS techniques and tips to help developers devise elegant solutions in this practical guide.
You also will learn how to apply the author’s analytical approach to every CSS problem you face to get lightweight and flexible results.
Having talked in more than sixty international web development conferences, Lea provides information for various web developing topics.
Don’t buy this book if you want to learn the principles of web design, but buy this book if you want to learn more about CSS.
14. High Performance Web Sites: Essential Knowledge for Front-End Engineers by Steve Souders
First thing first, you should know that this book is not for beginners, it’s for intermediate to advanced web developers.
It deals with codes, tuning web servers, databases, and hardware. Stuff that most of you probably don’t care.
Why is this book is on this list? Because certain web designs require more resource, therefore, you should optimize it.
So, if you think your website load speed is fine, then skip this book and buy other books instead.
15. Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach
The reason I put up this book on this list is because content and web design go along, they complete each other.
A specific type of content requires a specific type of design, and by starting with the “great content” framework, you will know what kind of designs to be used for your website.
For example, if you want to create a great landing page, then most likely you will need to remove the sidebar to reduce distraction.
To be honest, this book is optional, however, if you’re planning to create great contents from the beginning, it might worth your while.
16. Getting Real: The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application by Jason Fried, Heinemeier David Hansson, and Matthew Linderman
This is not a technical or design tutorial book, but it is a book full of ideas and principles of the 37signals (now Basecamp) company.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, designer, programmer, or marketer, as long as you’re working on a web app, you will find value from this book.
The company has been able to successfully launch five web-based applications with no external funding, no debt, and only 7 people.
If you want to get some value about launching a web app, this book will give you a different perspective.
17. Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click? by Susan Weinschenk
Neuro Web Design explains the science behind people’s motivation and reasons to click, register, and buy from your website.
But not only that, it also gives you the application of principles of persuasion so you can design websites that encourage consumers to click.
Moreover, it’s scientific, accessible, easy to read, and full of concepts and examples.
For those of you interested the neuroscience of online behavior, this book will give you valuable insights.
18. PHP Solutions: Dynamic Web Design Made Easy by David Powers
This one is probably one of the most recommended reference books for any web developers out there.
Needless to say, this book is not beginner friendly, it is aimed at programmers and experienced developers.
People who deal with the sales and marketing aspects of a website probably won’t need this book at all.
However, if you’re building a big site with serious money in it, you should consider expanding your PHP knowledge.
19. A Project Guide to UX Design: For User Experience Designers in the Field or in the Making by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler
First, you need to know that this book is intended for people working in a company or corporation.
It involves obtaining consensus from your team on project objectives, defining the scope of your project, planning for development.
The authors argue that there is more than technical knowledge of web technologies and trends for you to get a successful UX design.
Again, this book is not for beginner or marketers or designers working alone or in a small company, it is best for people who works with many other people.
20. Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works by Janice Redish
Web design is not only about the color, shape, or typography you use on your front page.
It is also about how you present the information provided, in short, how to design your content so it can perform as well as your website’s layout.
The book itself is filled with examples, information on content strategy, SEO, and social media.
Buy this book if you don’t know how to present your content elegantly to your visitors.
Do You Know Any Other Books? Let Me Know!
If you think I have missed any other important books, please leave a comment below!
Don’t forget to share this list with your friends.