10 Awesome ebooks for Web Designers
It’s a great time to be a web designer. True, the trends and technologies are changing at a breakneck speed, but we have many resources at our fingertips to keep up to date. We can find inspiration on all the latest trends online, we can hear intelligent conversations among the world’s best designers by listening to podcasts, and there are always books.
While traditional paper books might get outdated pretty quickly, there are new e-books on the subject of web design popping up all the time. And even if you don’t have a Kindle, chances are you have a device that can put all of these e-books into your hands today. iPhones, iPads, and just about any smartphone will allow you to download, store and read them at your convenience.
Having just written two e-books aimed at graphic and web designers, I did a lot of research to see what else was out there, and I found that there are hundreds of unique and helpful titles to choose from. So check them out, load up your Kindle (or e-reader of choice,) and keep up to date in your web design career!
1. Don’t Make Me Think By Steve Krug
Often considered to be the quintessential book on usability design, Don’t Make Me Think combines a wry sense of humor and practical advice that will make you see that usability and design can and should go hand-in-hand. As an added bonus, this second edition features three additional chapters.
2. Rock Your Portfolio Website By Wes McDowell & Joseph Bergess
If you’re a web designer, then chances are you have a portfolio website. If so, and your aim is to attract high quality clients, then you need to check out this book. While most books and articles on the subject of portfolios focus heavily on how your site should look, this book goes deeper, showing you foolproof strategies that you can utilize on your online portfolio site. These strategies are designed to position yourself as more of a “creative expert” rather than just “another web designer.” I have used most of the strategies found in the book, and I can tell you they actually work when done right.
3. The Business Side of Creativity: The Complete Guide to Running a Small Graphics Design or Communications Business By Cameron S. Foote
Like several books on this list, it is not only for web designers, but it is very applicable if you are thinking of starting your own web design business. Touted by one reviewer as the creative business “bible,” and considered the authoritative book on the subject for over ten years, The Business Side of Creativity is revised to include even more invaluable facts, tips, strategies, and advice for beginning creative.
4. Above the Fold By Brian Miller
This book does an amazing job of walking you through the entire process of creating a website, from the planning phase, to content strategy to the design. You won’t learn how to code from this book, but you will learn everything you need to know in order to design, plan and manage a successful website project. With very little fluff, lots of great information, and plenty of visuals, this book is a must-read.
5. Get Graphic Design Clients: Pro-tips for Landing, Impressing & Keeping the Good Ones By Wes McDowell
While the title implies this book is just for graphic designers, don’t be fooled. This e-book gets right down to the business of how both graphic and web designers can find high-quality clients, as well as little things you can do to attract the good clients to you. In addition, this book actually shows you how to work with your clients throughout the entire project, how to keep them on board with your creative ideas, and how to turn them into your biggest fans, so they will become repeat customers, and provide you with career-changing referrals.
6. SEO Made Simple (3rd Edition) By Michael Fleischner
The third edition of this popular book gets a complete overhaul in order to address the changing world of SEO – namely how to survive in the post Penguin 2.0 landscape. The author completely covers everything you need to do today to benefit your site, or your clients’ sites. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing, exact-match domains and spammy techniques. Google has gotten smarter, and you need to step up your SEO game or run the risk of being penalized.
7. Implementing Responsive Design By Tim Kadlec
Everyone knows that mobile is quickly surpassing desktop web browsing, so you had better start learning the basics of responsive web design. This book takes a close look at how the emerging medium of responsive web design affects the way we must design and build websites. You will learn how to build responsive sites using fluid layouts, media queries and fluid media, as well as how to adopt a responsive workflow from the very beginning of a project.
8. Web Designer’s Guide to WordPress: Plan, Theme, Build, Launch By Jesse Friedman
I don’t know about you, but almost every site I design these days is through the WordPress platform. Providing your clients with a site that they can easily update themselves saves them money in the long run, and saves you from being bogged down with tedious web maintenance tasks. This e-book not only explains the numerous benefits of WordPress, but you will learn how to design a site with the functionality in mind. You will know how to create site plans and content architecture, develop your own WordPress themes, and how to implement the right plugins that will make your sites much more dynamic. Are you looking to convert an existing site into WordPress? You will learn that too.
9. 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People By Susan Weinschenk
“One size fits all” web design just doesn’t work. This book will teach you to design with the correct audience in mind. Who is ultimately going to be using the site? How to do get and hold their attention? How do you properly motivate people to go into action-mode? These questions and many more are answered in this e-book, giving you the power to make informed design decisions. And informed decisions ultimately lead to a successful website design.
10. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative By Austin Kleon
One of the major themes this book explores is the fact that there really are no new ideas. So it’s okay to unapologetically embrace what others have done before you, and to remix, reinvent and re-imagine what has worked in the past. In some ways this isn’t new. I mean, we as web designers are always on the lookout for new sources of inspiration. While Kleon does not advocate actually “stealing” other people’s work as the title implies, it is an interesting read that shines a light on the fine line between following your inspiration and outright plagiarism.
Have you read any of these e-books? Do you have any other must-read titles that weren’t included on the list? Leave your recommended reading suggestions in the comment section below!