Web Design Books for Non-Technicians

Most web design books are stuffed with HTML and CSS code. But there is more to web design than just code. Here is my list of less- or non-technical books.

A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web


Mark Boulton is well-know in the web design community as a speaker, publisher of beautifully designed web design books at Five Simple Steps, and his online tool for building responsive grid systems, Gridset. He runs Mark Boulton Design and works with clients such as CERN, Al Jazeera, and Drupal.

“A Practical Guide to Designing for the Web” covers graphic design fundamentals, rather than code. Mark Boulton discusses the design process, he explores typography, color, and layout from a web design perspective.

The print version of the book is currently out of stock, but you can either order the PDF or read it online for free.

Designing for Emotion

Designing for Emotion

Aarron Walter, director of user experience at MailChimp, wrote a fantastic short book on the importance of emotion in web design and on designing for humans. The book discusses how design psychology influences how you understand and desire websites and how Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be employed to help design user interfaces that make your users fall in love with your site. Several case studies show how designing for emotion works.

“Designing for Emotion” does not cover technical issues of web design, but it looks into the psychology of user experience and as such it will not get out of date soon. It lays the groundwork for a new way of approaching user experience on the web. A quick read, even for non-designers.

The Strategic Web Designer


“The Strategic Web Designer: How to Confidently Navigate the Web Design Process” by Christopher Butler, gives a great overview of popular strategies to those new to web design and web development and will prepare you to lead web projects. The book will not teach you much if you are a seasoned professional, but it might give you new ideas and approaches in your development process though.

Seductive Interaction Design


“Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences” by Stephen P. Anderson provides many examples and references of how to create sustainably engaging user experiences. Like in Aarron Walter’s book “Designing for Emotion”, there is a strong emphasis on psychology and on delighting the user with unexpected personalization.

Five Simple Steps Pocket Guides


“The Pocket Guide” series by Five Simple Steps focuses on specific aspects of web design and development in an easy-to-digest-format. Each guide can be read in a couple of hours and provides practical and useful advice by industry experts. A must read for the seasoned professional.

The Pocket Guide series are eBook only releases, but limited paperback prints are available from time to time.

The Shape of Design


Frank Chimero’s book is unique in that it was funded through Kickstarter. “The Shape of Design” is a book about the creative process that designers undertake as a method to shape the world. Dream big, apply the lessons, and get your hands dirty.

The book is available in hardcover or as a free web edition.