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Books about GUI

This is not a comprehensive list of books, there are many other books worth buying. Here we mention just a few GUI/UI books that don't gather dust in our shelves.

C++ GUI Programming with Qt 3 by Jasmin Blanchette and Mark Summerfield, ISBN 0-13-124072-2. This is the Official Qt book written by two veteran Trolls. (Read more about it or buy it.)

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald Norman, ISBN 0-38526774-6, is one of the classics of human interface design. Norman shows how badly something as simple as a kitchen stove can be designed, and everyone should read it who will design a dialog box, write an error message, or design just about anything else humans are supposed to use. (Read more or buy it.)

GUI Design Handbook by Susan Fowler, ISBN 0-07-059274-8, is an alphabetical dictionary of widgets and other user interface elements, with comprehensive coverage of each. Each chapter covers one widget or other element, contains the most important recommendation from the Macintosh, Windows and Motif style guides, notes about common problems, comparison with other widgets that can serve some of the same roles as this one, etc.

(Read more or buy it.)

Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines, second edition, ISBN 0-201-62216-5, is worth buying for the don'ts alone. Even though you're not writing Macintosh software, avoiding most of what it advises against will produce more easily comprehensible software. Doing what it tells you to do helps, too. (Read more or buy it.)

This book is now available on the web and there is a Mac OS 8 addendum.

The Microsoft Windows User Experience, ISBN 1-55615-679-0, is Microsoft's look and feel Bible. Indispensable for everyone who has customers that worship Microsoft, and it's quite good, too. (Read more or buy it.)

Microsoft's guidelines are often available on the web, but have occasionally been hidden in an impenetrable maze of javascript. Try and see.

The Icon Book by William Horton, ISBN 0-471-59900-X, is a perhaps the only thorough coverage of icons and icon use in software. In order for icons to be successful, people must be able to do four things with them: decode, recognize, find and activate them. This book explains these goals from scratch and how to reach them, both with single icons and icon families. Some 500 examples are scattered throughout the text, generally in groups of four or five. (Read more or buy it.)

Buying these books from

These books are made available in association with, our favorite on-line bookstore. Here is more information about's shipping options and its customer service. When you buy a book by following one of these links, gives about 15% of the purchase price to Amnesty International.

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