20 Useful Web Design Books Worthy of Your Collection

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If you’re in search of books on the topic of web design to expand or start up your book collection, here’s 20 web design books worth considering.

All books are linked to their Google Book Search page so you can see previews, reviews, and other related works associated with it.

Web Standards Creativity - book cover1) Web Standards Creativity: Innovations in Web Design with XHTML, CSS, and DOM

Web Standards Creativity features innovative examples of beautiful and feature-rich web designs that are fully web standards compliant and includes entries by some of the world’s top web designers.

Designing the Obvious - book cover2) Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design

Designing the Obvious offers pragmatic solutions and ideas for developing web application designs to make the users’ experience more effortless and less unproblematic.

Designing With Web Standards - book cover3) Designing With Web Standards

Written by the highly-accomplished designer and editor in chief of A List Apart, Jeffrey Zeldman’s Designing With Web Standards covers intermediate to advanced techniques to help you create designs that comply with current web standards.

Don't Make Me Think! - book cover4) Don’t Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Don’t Make Me Think! is a very popular web usability book that covers viable techniques and concepts that you can apply to a winning web design.

Designing Web Navigation - book cover5) Designing Web Navigation: Optimizing the User Experience

An ineffective navigation scheme can confuse viewers and reduce the likelihood that they’ll navigate outside of the landing page. Designing Web Navigation is an in-depth book on the topic of web navigation.

Bulletproof Web Design - book cover6) Bulletproof Web Design

Bulletproof Web Design by Dan Cederholm talks about creating designs that cater to a large variety of situations. With websites being viewed in non-traditional ways (such as mobile devices), it’s imperative to develop accessible designs.

Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns - book cover7) Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns

Written by the world-renowned author Michael Bowers, Pro CSS and HTML Design Patterns talks about advanced CSS/HTML models and formulas. Expect to read about browser box model differences, explanation of the different doctypes, and much more.

The Zen of CSS Design: Visual Enlightenment for the Web - book cover8) The Zen of CSS Design: Visual Enlightenment for the Web

Authors Dave Shea and Molly Holzschlag discuss key design ideas for creating a visually-appealing web design. The book features designs from css Zen Garden and is a great read for anyone looking to be inspired.

Adapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big Sites - book cover9) Adapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big SitesAdapting to Web Standards: CSS and Ajax for Big Sites

Using the work of premier talented designers in its dialogue, Adapting to Web Standards discusses the application of standards-compliant designs and code that can be adopted into high-traffic websites.

Web redesign: workflow that works - book cover10) Web Redesign 2.0: Workflow That Works

Web redesign 2.0 offers methods for web redesign workflow management. It discusses logistical constraints and how to effectively analyze feature requirements to reach the company’s goals.

The Design of Sites: Patterns For Creating Winning Web Sites - book cover11) The Design of Sites: Patterns For Creating Winning Web Sites

The Design of Sites is a very thorough and sensible book on the topic of customer-centered designs. It discusses formulas that lead to powerful web designs.

Web Design: Studios 2 - book cover12) Web Design: Studios 2

Web Design: Studios 2 is a collection of some of the best web designs. If you’re looking for a book to inspire you on your own projects, check this one out.

Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance - book cover13) Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance

Many projects require compliance to section 508 (especially true for government work and accessible websites). Web Accessibility shares vital information on the subject of accessibility on the web.

CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions - book cover14) CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions

CSS Mastery is about modern CSS best practices and solutions. Two hypothetical websites are included at the end to hammer down concepts covered throughout the book.

HTML, XHTML, and CSS Bible - book cover15) HTML, XHTML, and CSS Bible

Most of the books featured here aren’t comprehensive reference books, but it’s a good idea to own one that’s complete and easily-searchable. If you’re interested in purchasing one, have a look at HTML, XHTML, and CSS Bible.

CSS Cookbook - book cover16) CSS Cookbook

This book is 500+ pages of professional-grade CSS design patterns. CSS Cookbook covers all elements of a web page (including navigation, page layout, and typography) and is appropriate for intermediate to advanced CSS developers.

The Essential Guide to CSS and HTML Web Design - book cover17) The Essential Guide to CSS and HTML Web Design

The Essential Guide to CSS and HTML Web Design is geared for beginning to intermediate web designers, or designers wanting to catch up on modern design patterns and standards-compliant coding.

Advances in Universal Web Design and Evaluation - book cover18) Advanced Professional Web Design: Techniques & Templates

Advanced Professional Web Design uses a “teaching by showing” methodology. The book is accompanied by loads of customizable designs that you can use to jump start your learning.

Transending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design - book cover19) Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design

Targeted for web designers who want to improve their understanding of CSS, Transcending CSS provides visual examples and talks about design workflow.

Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning - book cover20) Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning

Designing websites involves more than just the design itself, it’s also about managing and presenting information to the client. Communicating Design offers tips on presenting designs and developing usability tests, amongst other things.

This was published on Apr 6, 2008


Wow, great list! I’ve got a little light reading ahead of me now ;)

I can also absolutely recommend, “Prioritizing Web Usability” by Jacob Nielsen. It’s an updated and expanded version of his 2000 “Designing Web Usability”.

Jacob Gube Apr 06 2008

@Zack: I’ve read and re-read “Prioritizing Web Usability“, I agree that it’s an excellent and ground-breaking book.

I’m a big fan of Dr. Nielsen (as I’ve confessed in my article, “20 Websites That Made Me A Better Web Developer), but I felt that I already had too many “web usability” books featured here.

For those interested, I do highly recommend checking out both books that Zack mentioned.

Here’s the link to the Google Book Search entries:

Brian Moschel Apr 07 2008

This post made me realize how badly I need to read a CSS book. While learning CSS by experimentation, Googling, and necessity are great, books are usually a better method for learning things.

On the topic of web books, the only programming book I’ve ever actually enjoyed was the O’Reilly JavaScript guide:

That’s a good standard on technical writing that somehow doesn’t bore readers to tears.

Sarah Apr 07 2008

I love the css and html web design book.

Virtual Assistant Apr 09 2008

wow! this is a great list of reading materials about web designing… but I would just like to ask you personally.Which among the list can you consider the most suitable for novice web designers like me?…

Great list of books, have ordered “Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design”. For those that live in the UK I have ordered this from for £13.59 Delivered [Great Price]

Jacob Gube Apr 09 2008

@Virtual Assistant: I recommend starting with “The Essential Guide to CSS and HTML Web Design” first, then buying a book on CSS such as “CSS Mastery” (which I own and love) or “CSS cookbook”.

@Tony: Thanks for giving people a heads up on the price!

taylan Apr 13 2008

Great books for HTML and CSS.

One of my fav’s that’s not on your list is Jeremy Keith’s “DOM Scripting”

He does a fantastic job of explaining what the DOM is and how to use it.

J.Glow Jun 18 2008

If only I had this last week – I *just* bought 4 books from Amazon (and they’re not on here!): Web Standards Solutions, Learning Web Design – A Beginner’s Guide…, Stylin’ with CSS and Build Your Own Website the Right Way Using HTML and CSS. I’m quite new to web design and these books had great reviews on Amazon. I hope I don’t have buyer’s remorse when I get them in the mail. I’ll definitely look into your suggestions, thanks!

Arthur Jun 19 2008

although a little bit older, but still a great book: The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman

Gayle Bird Jun 19 2008

Oh, I’ve got some validation! Several of the books I chose for our web design course are on here. Phew! :)

Max | Design Shard Aug 08 2008

“dont make me think” has its good bits but in my opinion is beginning to become out dated, “CSS Mastery” is an awesome book and i would definatly reccomend it to any web designer

good list i want more books for reference purposes
Max | Design Shard

Jason Miller Aug 26 2008

I would ADD the new “Guidelines for Online Success” by Rob Ford and Julius Weideman (pub. by Taschen). Awesome book!

Subash Dec 18 2008

Great collection – I never knew there were so many Graphic Designer books haha!

I might have to look into a couple of those.

Darren Aug 25 2009

Are these books still relevant or is it best I find more up to date information?

Jacob Gube Aug 25 2009

@Darren: Most of these are timeless; the ones to maybe be aware of are any books that use CSS2/HTML4 because those will be outdated in a few years.

Darren Sep 18 2009

Thank you for that information Jacob.

Wow, great list! I’ve got a little light reading ahead of me now

Wendy Oct 01 2009

Very helpful list of books and comments! As a novice webdesigner, I also would appreciate any input about books for implementing online bookings within the website. The online bookings would be for a bed and breakfast.

Web P Nov 03 2009

Looks like I have some reading to do. This list will keep me busy… Thanks!

I am so confused!!! There are so many books. Today, what is the best up-to-date novice book for starting your own wed site (HTML, CSS, etc)????

What is best CD for web design that is easy to use??? Site Pinner? Microsoft Experession? Coffeecup? From wha I have read Dreaweaver is not for the beginner.

Chris Dec 08 2009

Think you should add the new Smashing Magazine book to this collection. Great list though.

Peter Dec 10 2009

I have 2 books out of the 20

Keith Davis Dec 11 2009

When I started looking at CSS, I bought “CSS The Missing Manual” by David Sawyer McFarland… fantastic book.
Learnt all I needed to know about CSS from this book including how to produce a tableless layout and all the internet explorer hacks.

Still go back to my well thumbed edition when I have a CSS problem or I can’t remember the syntax and I usually find a solution.

Highly recommend this book to anyone.

Alexis Miller May 08 2011

I know this is about 2 years later but I was hoping for a little help. I’m a graphic designer who really wants to get into the web design world, not just designing but coding as well. Now I already know Flash and I’m teaching myself Dreamweaver but I would like to learn all the ins and outs of HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc. I’m just looking for the right resources and this list looks pretty good as a starting point. My question is are all these books still relevant today or are there new and better books out there now? Any help would be appreciated.

Mario Jul 29 2011

Hi! I’ve just discovered this website and it’s gone directly to my bookmarks.

I completed my degree on IT last year and I have some knowledges on web designing and developing. However, I want to deep in this.

I’ve already know the basics of HTML, XHTML and CSS. Which one would you recommend me for an intermediate level on both developing and designing?

Thanks in advance! Go on with your website, it’s awesome!

Greetings from Spain!

hi! not a website designer or have i been to any school for it. i found this site which has a lot of good books i can start with to make my own site. awesome jacob.

trying to make a shopping cart or e commerce site for selling has been the bigest obstical i came across thus far and makes me like millions of other people looking to have a selling sight but…have come into some diffecultly with finding what i would like. here is why its such a problem now a days which all the designer today do not realize about the small business persons.

I have to sell on sites like ebay: thetoypeddler: just for 2 examples because i dont have the time to figure out what everything i need is called when discribing what i want in a website. i do know what i want it to do. i also find it cost so much i couldn t afford it as a large company could. i deffinatly would not be able to update and build on thus site because all i know is my business.

jacob: please show reviews on software used for making said sites like what i need. i may not know what they might be but i could look them up and start building something myself.

thank you for this site and info: mike

How about for a complete beginner such as myself?
What book(s) would you recommend?

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