I’ve looked at, and bought a lot of web design books. These are the three best I’ve found for ease of use and good discussion of basic topics.
Web Site Usability
First, there’s Steve Krug’s Don’t Make Me Think. Its subtitle is "a self-proclaimed common sense approach to web usability" — and it’s right with that claim. This book is quite inexpensive and is worth at least its full price.
Have you ever noticed that some websites are a lot friendlier than others?
On some websites you can find what you are looking for without much or any effort — it just jumps out at you. On other websites, you may be so swamped with information (e.g., the the new NOAA site) that you have trouble finding anything.
The term is “usability” — and most of us have not thought much about it. Don’t Make Me Think is fun, humorous and easy to read as well as giving great "good" and "bad" examples.
HTML — the Language of the Web
HTML for the World Wide Web
is an excellent book. Not only did I purchase the 3th edition, I also purchased the 5th edition — and consider that this was a good, worthwhile purchase.
It’s both an effective book for learning HTML and an effective reference book for looking up the details of how to do something.
I have a more detailed review of HTML for the World Wide Web in the book reviews section of my TerryStockdale.com site.
The Principles of Beautiful Web Design
This is a new book (2007) and has been just the thing I was looking for — an introduction to graphics design concepts for non-artists.
You see, I can draw (a straight line, if I have a ruler to use as a guide!)
It’s actually a book to lead we non-artistic web designers through a quick graphics and art education — complete with plenty of pictures and walk-through how-to examples.
Check out The Principles of Beautiful Web Design. I think you will like it as much as I do.