I firmly believe in the importance of lifelong learning, and continually seeking to improve one's work and skillset. Here are some books I've read recently:
Books I've read recently:
Excellent 5-day structure on how to test and validate ideas for features. Agile projects are all about being focused on the user and making sure your product will solve a real problem in an effective way.
Don't Make Me Think
I love all of Steve's books! This one provides a fantastic overview of usability concepts and why they are SO important. Humans have a limited capacity to absorb information and make decisions, and so we have to design for that.
Practices of an Agile Developer
Every programmer should be required to learn these concepts - forming good habbits from the beginning of a project will help ensure things go smoothly and make everyones jobs easier.
The Human Side of Agile
A great reminder that possibly the hardest part of code is getting people to communicate and collaborate as a team - this book went over great strategies for agile team leaders to help their teams succeed.
Tom DeMarco & Timothy Lister
This book helped me to realize a lot about the business side of understanding what makes software teams effective and where teams often fail. It also validated (with research + data) that when you interrupt software developers, they are less effective!!
Coders at Work
Interesting conversations with brilliant software developers - helped me to feel a little bit less lost, and a little bit more validated with the weird and complicated challenges that software people face.
Rocket Surgery Made Easy
Every small team struggles with ACTUALLY doing usability testing and research - and this is a really good how-to guide for how to pull off user testing in real-world small team scenarios with limited resources.
The Amazon Way
We live in a day and age where customers want to help themselves. They will try everything they can to resolve their situation through automated tools before attempting to get in touch with a human. The interfaces we create must provide users the tools that they need to help themselves.
What Would Google Do?:
The Internet enables the most competitive market on earth; thus the price of competition in many industries has been driven down to "Free". Google understands that customers have many choices, and the only way to succeed in this new market is to simply provide the best service available.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On
I met Jonah Berger in person when he stopped at the Chapman University WIM Marketing Team to do a quick presentation for our content creation team. One point that stuck with me: People share when they care - content that sparks emotion of some kind goes viral.
Steve Jobs understood that the most important thing about technology was for it to get out of the way and help people focus on what really matters. My takeaway from this book is to continually focus on improving the experience for the end-users of apps and websites.
Where Good Ideas Come From
Everyone seems to have a "great idea for an app" and everyone wants an innovative work culture. This book explores the environments which have historically led to innovation and breakthroughs, so that we might embrace how good ideas naturally flow.
The Non Designers Design Book
This helped me SO much to be able to understand and articulate the four design principles - Proximity, Alignment, Repetition, Contrast - and to understand how the relationship between these items creates meaning and understanding for viewers. Every software developer should read this.
Design of Everyday Things
Design is really all around us, and sometimes the best examples of design are things you didn't think were really designed at all (like doors, or tea kettles). Good insight into how people learn about how things around them work.
HTML5 For Web Designers
Simple overview and explanation of various HTML elements, and when and why you should choose to use each.
One of my earliest web development books, this helped me to understand things like how CSS selector specificiy is calculated!
Smashing Book #2
Many folks follow the blog at www.SmashingMagazine.com - but they've also got books! This was one of my earliest web books which covered a lot of general topics.