The 9 Best Web Design Books

Updated April 12, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

9 Best Web Design Books
Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS3
About Face
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Whether you are contemplating a career in technology, are brushing up skills you already have, or simply want to stay abreast of the latest advancements, this selection of Web design books has got you covered. They are not only useful for professionals in the field, as any individual or business that maintains its own site can learn a thing or two from them. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best web design book on Amazon.

9. Designing with the Mind in Mind

Designing with the Mind in Mind is an in-depth study that focuses not only on design rules, but also the science behind them, so you'll gain an understanding of cognitive psychology, which can help you to make informed decisions across a variety of media.
  • covers budgetary issues
  • examples of good and bad layouts
  • can be hard to follow at times
Publisher imusti
Model n/a
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. HTML and CSS

HTML and CSS: Visual QuickStart Guide is for those who need to learn web design and don't have a lot of time to waste. It explains how to structure web pages, the right way to lay out websites, and how to debug your code, all in a step-by-step format.
  • contains code examples
  • covers input types in html5
  • writing can be unfocused
Publisher Peachpit Press
Model n/a
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. JavaScript: The Definitive Guide

JavaScript: The Definitive Guide is recommended for experienced programmers who want to take their skills to the master level. It helps you apply your current programming skills to website creation and features chapters on jQuery and HTML5.
  • focuses on client-side design
  • dense and well-researched
  • text is sometimes non-linear
Publisher O'Reilly Media
Model n/a
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Web Designer's Idea Book

If you are already a web designer but feel you need some fresh inspiration to get those creative juices flowing, then Web Designer's Idea Book Volume 4 might be just what you need. It has over 650 examples of interesting styles and trends.
  • pure visual joy
  • tips on keeping a portfolio relevant
  • doesn't teach any coding
Publisher Web Designer's Idea Boo
Model n/a
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Don't Make Me Think

Don't Make Me Think A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability focuses on creating intuitive designs that are easy for users to navigate. It has multiple illustrations, making it fun to read, and will noticeably increase your abilities as a web designer.
  • contains witty observations
  • information is very well organized
  • not enough real-world examples
Publisher New Riders Publishing
Model n/a
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. About Face

About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design has been updated for the mobile age, so you'll learn how to design for smartphones and tablets along with traditional websites. It contains lots of modern examples and even focuses on touchscreen interactions.
  • covers best patterns and practices
  • very methodical approach
  • binding tends to fall apart
Publisher imusti
Model n/a
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS3

Responsive Web Design with HTML5 and CSS3 was just released in 2015, so it contains some of the most up-to-date information on creating sites that flow seamlessly from a desktop to a smartphone, including how to use the Flexbox layout mechanism.
  • teaches css animations
  • shows how to use validations
  • utilizes a mobile first methodology
Publisher Responsive Web Design w
Model n/a
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

2. Learning Web Design

Learning Web Design is well suited to beginners who are just starting to grasp the basics of design. It teaches readers how to build HTML pages as well as use the ever-important cascading style sheets to alter how it all looks for a truly customized layout.
  • contains info on responsive design
  • explains web graphics optimization
  • includes short quizzes
Publisher O REILLY
Model n/a
Weight 3.1 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. Web Design with HTML

Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery is a two-book set that combines related technologies in an easy-to-understand format with lots of diagrams, charts, and photographs. It helps you learn how to integrate multiple technologies into one seamless website.
  • includes a discussion of seo
  • great for visual learners
  • suitable for beginners
Publisher Wiley
Model n/a
Weight 5.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Are Web Design Books Useful?

With the predicted 27 percent growth in the field by the year 2024, web designers are needed now more than ever. Web design books remain one of the most effective ways to learn concepts of web design at an individual pace and in an economical way.

If the your intent is to become a professional web designer, self study is one of the best options. Specialty schools, professional tutoring, and apprenticeship all have a rather large price tag attached to them in comparison to books, and provide much the same knowledge. With a web design book, the reader has the ability to learn at their own pace, and repeat concepts as needed to fully integrate them.

Web design books are equally as important for business owners and entrepreneurs looking to enter the growing startup economy. In this environment, cutting costs until investors arrive is usually a key factor. As a business owner, it may be better to learn basic concepts of web design before hiring an expensive designer, especially for simple changes. Web design books remain the most effective and comprehensive tool to do so.

What Is Covered In Web Design Books?

In the web design world, there are some concepts which must be understood before reaching the finer points of designing for the web. For instance, the idea of visual hierarchy. This is based on the known fact that in most cultures, people read in a similar way: left to right and top to bottom. This suggests that viewers favor the top and left sides of webpages. With this logic, it is easy to see why the company logo is nearly always found in the top left corner of the site.

From there, viewing behavior becomes more complex. Viewers tend to scan a page rather than read it, and their eyes typically move in a pattern similar to the shape of the letter F or the letter Z. Basic web design will usually cater to this and place the most important elements of the site in their natural viewing path.

Web design books may also cover the importance of color in design. Rather than being a decoration on a website, color may actually play an integral role in the psychological response a consumer has to a particular brand. An example is the notion that the colors red and yellow stimulate the appetite and promote quick decision making. It is interesting to note that the most successful fast food chains use heavily red and yellow color schemes.

Any basic web designer will also need to understand the beauty in the simplicity of a site. It can be tempting to try and force a site to stand out by using many different fonts, highly contrasting color schemes, or bright animations. Research in the field tells us that this may scare away the same customers the site is trying to impress. A much more positive impression can be made by limiting font and color choices to two or three dominant options, and to shift the focus towards simplicity in the text.

How Important Is Web Design For A Business?

As the internet era took hold, the need for web designers exploded. This need is as present today as ever. Now that a website is an integral piece of a business's brand and strategy, its design is an important factor in their success for many reasons.

Proper web design offers a business a consistent image, or brand. Over time, viewers begin to identify with this image. This brand awareness is actually a determining factor in whether or not a customer will choose a particular company. Consumers are much more likely to purchase from a brand they identify with versus an unknown brand offering a similar product or service.

In the modern era, most markets are saturated. Consumers are bombarded with advertisements, social media posts, invites, and push notifications from hundreds of different brands and businesses every day. The only way to stand out in a customer's mind is by differentiating your brand somehow. One of the simplest ways of doing this is through unique web design elements. A professionally designed website is much more appealing to the viewer, and is more likely to keep them reading as well as help build trust in your product or services. This increases the chance of them converting into a lead, or better yet a customer.

Controlling the customer journey is one of the most important aspects of web design. Most people put as little effort as possible into reading the contents of a site. This is why it is so important that the content and design match up. Proper web design will empower the content to catch the eye of the reader, keep them reading, and lead them to the desired action.

Web design can also help to properly target the correct audience. Some target audiences respond well to a minimalist design, while others like things spelled out for them. Some readers require heavy logic and well-researched text, while others are affected solely by the emotional elements of web design. Understanding web design enough to create a site based around the target audience will ensure its success.

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Last updated on April 12, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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