Usability Books Worth ReadingFollowing are a handful of books on usability, testing, and consumer psychology that I personally recommend. This isn't a comprehensive list, but these are all books that I've gotten real, lasting benefit out of reading.
Books on Usability & TestingHomepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
by Jakob Nielsen & Marie Tahir (2001)
Jakob Nielsen is clearly the father of modern website usability, and while this book is slightly outdated, it's one of Nielsen's most accessible works. Homepage Usability elegantly outlines core usability principles, including a comprehensive checklist, and shows how to apply those principles to real websites.
Don't Make Me Think
by Steve Krug (2005)
If Nielsen is the father of website usability, than Steve Krug is its fun uncle. Don't Make Me Think is considered a must-read by many usability professionals and is a clear and compelling guide to usability principles and testing. One of the few usability classics that is accessible to almost any audience.
Always Be Testing
by Bryan Eisenberg & John Quarto-vonTivadar (2008)
Bryan Eisenberg was practicing website testing and conversion improvement long before most people knew what a conversion rate was. This is a complete guide to understanding the basics of testing, knowing what questions to ask to create an effective test, and implementing testing using Google Website Optimizer.
A Project Guide to UX Design
by Russ Unger & Carolyn Chander (2009)
This book was written out of a frustration many of us in usability feel - that people new to the field, especially in the corporate world, are left floundering on their own. This is more than just a project guide; it's a guide to everything a UX professional needs to know to succeed in the workplace.
Selling Usability: User Experience Infiltration Tactics
by John Rhodes (2009)
Selling Usability is for anyone doing usability/UX in the corporate world; anyone who has to deal with the reality of corporate politics, heirarchies, and budgets. Instead of trying to take on the world and make a frontal assault, John shows you how to work within your organization's structure and culture to sell usability from the inside.
Books on Consumer PsychologyInfluence: The Psychology of Persuasion
by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. (2007)
Dr. Cialdini's book has become a marketing classic even though, ironically, much of the book is about how to defend against influence. Although the first edition came out in 1984, this headlong dive into real-world sales and marketing techniques is nothing short of brilliant and remains incredibly relevant.
The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
Although Gladwell's books get a lot of hype, he has a unique ability to integrate scientific research and use it to tell a story. This is the story of how and why social trends grab hold. It's one of the few non-fiction books I can honestly say I couldn't put down, and the anecdotes contain many useful insights for marketers.
Other Recommended ReadingWeb Analytics: An Hour A Day
by Avinash Kaushik (2007)
You can't improve what you can't measure, and no usability or testing campaign is complete without solid analytics. Avinash's book has quickly become a classic, providing in-depth advice in a way that's both easy to digest and highly actionable. This book is appropriate for all levels, and even experts will benefit.
Information Architecture for the World Wide Web
by Peter Morville & Louis Rosenfeld (2009)
I'm ashamed to admit it - I haven't actually read this one. Everyone says I have to read it, it's on my shelf, and I swear I will soon. Information architecture is critical to good usability, and this book is the hands-down classic on the subject. Also, I've heard Lou Rosenfeld is a heckuva nice guy.