Recommended Reading List
10 Favorites for InfoDev Pros
Science-Based Content Design©
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This recommended reading list reflects the interdisciplinary nature of information development, and allows you to learn from experts working in a wide range of fields, genres, and media. It encourages you to expand your horizons and to synthesize knowledge about content-based communications from areas such as business development, presentation design, user-interface design, and more.
Designing with the Mind in Mind: Simple Guide to Understanding User Interface Design Guidelines
by Jeff Johnson
Johnson provides enough background in perceptual and cognitive processes that design guidelines make intuitive sense, rather than being just a list of arbitrary rules to follow. While the title of the book refers to user-interface design, the principles and concepts are relevant for all types of information development, regardless of media.
Introduction to Information Visualization
by Riccardo Mazza
This tiny little book packs a powerful punch, and provides great insight into the science behind visual information processing. It also provides several visualization examples. While focused on presenting complex data, the principles and practices discussed in the book can be extended to any type of information.
slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations
by Nancy Duarte
Duarte provides beautiful examples with easy-to-follow explanations. This is an excellent introduction to visualizing information, with a focus on how to engage and persuade through imagery and storytelling. This is a very handy book to have around when coming up with ideas for visually presenting abstract concepts.
The Non-Designer’s Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice
by Robin Williams
This is an excellent introduction to design basics with lots of examples and easy-to-follow explanations. Williams provides specific guidance with an emphasis on cultivating awareness and designing with intent. While it takes a more traditional approach (rather than a science-based approach), this book provides a strong foundation for getting started.
Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors
by Michelle Carey, Ann Kilty Hernandez, Polly Hughes, Deirdre Longo, Shannon Rouiller, Elizabeth Wilde, and Gretchen Hargis
This is an excellent comprehensive writing style guide that covers specific conventions often overlooked in other writing reference books. While the title refers to “technical information,” the guidelines are relevant to all types of business writing. The authors translate abstract writing concepts into specific, actionable guidelines.
Content Strategy: Connecting the Dots Between Business, Brand, and Benefits
by Rahel Anne Bailie and Noz Urbina
An excellent book for a big-picture perspective on creating information deliverables in ways that are sustainable, scalable, and user-focused. If you want to become an InfoDev Pro, this book provides essential information about taking an integrated approach that makes sense for both your organization and your end users.
Information Development: Managing Your Documentation Projects, Portfolio, and People
by JoAnne T. Hackos
An important and vital book for any information developer because it provides both a general framework and specific criteria for understanding and improving content operations. This book includes Hackos’s Information Process Maturity Model, which invaluable in diagnosing organizational and procedural issues and in setting specific goals for change. This book is a must-read for anyone with decision-making responsibilities in a content-focused environment.
A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Building a Great Business
by Ari Weinzweig
This is not your typical business book. It’s personal, irreverent, and self-deprecating. It’s an absolutely visionary book about making business decisions that are rooted in a desire for quality and excellence, rather than continuous growth and endless profit. Surprisingly, this book, which is about business success in general, includes stories that show how business success is directly linked to best practices in business communications.
Information Visualization: Perception for Design
by Colin Ware
If you want to take a deep dive into the link between perception and design, this is the book. Comprehensive and detailed, this book may be the “bible” of science-based design. Excellent for learning and discovery, as well as for referencing during daily work.
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