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Recommended reading for Front End Developers

Here's some reading recommendations for my fellow FEDs - books I've discovered, read, and re-read of late and the favourites that have contributed most to my work in the recent year.

Five Simple Steps pocket guide series

Various Authors/Five Simple Steps/2013

Now I could go on and on and on and on about these, but I won't do it here. The Five Simple Steps pocket guides are a great set of short but sweet eBooks written by some awesome authors on a variety of topics including accessibility, HTML, CSS, typography, content strategy and research. As the tagline says you can "Learn a lot from a little book" and I recommend buying the entire set right now!

A Book Apart series

Various Authors/A Book Apart/2010-2013

Another great series of books (these ones slightly longer) - the A Book Apart series comes from the guys from A List Apart, a blog that I follow quite regularly. Again I won't go into too much detail as there are a lot of books in this series, but my favourites were Designing for Emotion, Mobile First, Design is a Job and the most recent - SASS for Web Designers.

100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People

Susan Weinschenk/Peachpit/2011

Dipping in and out of this book has been fun and addictive and I'm still not finished! The tips that Susan Weinschenk gives brim with her experience and original research, lending credibility to issues that you didn't even consider before reading them here! I'm personally really intrigued with the psychological aspects of design and usability and this book excels in explaining many aspects of user behaviour and gives essential tips on how to design for these considerations.

Web Form Design Filling in the Blanks

Luke Wroblewski/Rosenfeld Media/2008

An entire book on form design?? YES. If you step back and think about it for a second, forms are pretty much the most important thing on the web, and Luke Wroblewski covers everything you need and more to help create the most usable, interactive and semantically coded forms. His research is second to none on this subject and I took away so much from this book to implement into my own projects.

The Modern Web

Peter Gasston/No Starch Press/2013

I'd wanted a copy of this book since very shortly after seeing Peter Gasston speak at Canvas Conf in 2012, but just not had chance to delve into it fully until the middle of this year. I'm glad I did! Peter is so thorough in taking you on a little journey into the newer parts of the HTML & CSS specs and pretty much advises you on how to create a website or web app from the ground up, considering everything you'd ever need to in order to get going on an awesome project for your modern web users.

Hardboiled Web Design

Andy Clarke/Five Simple Steps/2010

Another amazing book that covers everything you need to know to build for the modern web, from the ground up,"hardboiled" web design is about building the most robust website you can for every single different kind of user of the internet and hammers in something I love to adhere to - users do not all need to have exactly the same experience. It talks about building for the capabilities of the technologies and browsers that they choose/have to use and enhancing for the modern web.

JavaScript The Good Parts

Douglas Crockford/O'Reilly Media, Yahoo Press/2008

There's photographs floating around the internet somewhere showing JavaScript The Good Parts vs the Definitive Guide - it goes to show what the essentials really are (although I still refer to the definitive guide every now and then). The Good Parts is a concise, well-written book detailing the most important aspects of JavaScript to learn and I recommend it to anyone wanting to get a bit deeper into the language as it also helps break bad habits that could be forming straight away and tells why these things are bad, showing ways to improve the language itself through your use of it.

SMACSS A Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS

Jonathan Snook/2013

SMACSS is another book I think the whole team should read. It covers CSS architecture for large-scale projects and how to write it in such a modular way to enable components to be easy read and reused by both the present team and future developers on a project. It gives examples of cleanly written CSS and you can see from this how much sense it makes to implement Jon's techniques. Bonus the eBook version comes with some great screencasts too!

Don't Make Me Think A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

Steve Krug/New Riders/2005 (2nd Edition)

An absolute bible in usability, I re-read this a short while ago. It's amazing to see how pretty much everything in this book is still completely relevant today. I think all of us should re-read this every year because Steve Krug knows his stuff, he boils down his vast amount of research and experience into 12 chapters of brilliant advice that definitely needs considering before designing any user experience.

Rocket Surgery Made Easy The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Finding and Fixing Usability Problems

Steve Krug/New Riders/2010

I won't lie, I've literally only just started reading this but I just know that it's going to be as good as if not better than Steve Krug's previous book. If Don't Make Me Think tells you how to cater for usability problems whilst designing, Rocket Surgery Made Easy will help maintain and fix any usability issues that arise - showing how to combat them and give your users the best possible experience.

So with that, I'm going to go and finish it now - I'll get back to you on how good it is.


By: Codeweavers - 13/12/13

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