Post your recommended reading suggestions here, stick to this template for your posts.
Topic: Usability and Web design
Title: Usability for the Web Authors: T Brinck, D Gergle, S D Wood
Synopsis/Comments: A very good book for a detailed look at the issues that affect HTML based web design. Perhaps slightly dated now, it's still chock full of useful information relevant to Flash just as much as HTML.
Gives a good coverage from starting out with usability in mind in a project, through the development and design process, testing and deployment.
Title: The Design of Everyday Things Authors: D Norman
Synopsis/Comments: This is the classic for looking at design, the reasons for design and the mistakes in design.
Well written, with a good look at design in general rather than anything web specific.
It's showing it's age a bit now as it was published in 1989 originally and some of his discussion is aimed at obviously out of date products. Even so, it's definitely worth getting hold of.
Title: Object-Orientated Programming with Actionscript Authors: B Hall, S Wan
Nicely written, clear and concise look at how to use OOP in Flash, what the problems with OOP in Flash are and how to get round them. Aimed at Flash MX and 5 (a bit), not MX 2004.
Definitely requires a good grasp of actionscript to get into properly.
Jef Raskin was part of the design team for the original Macintosh, this book discusses what he sees as wrong with the interface paradigm we have at the moment.
The detail this book goes into is outstanding, discussing the finer points of making interfaces that work more effectively with the way people work rather than the other way round.
It also addresses techniques for analyzing the interfaces for pure efficiency of use in numerical terms, with overviews of GOMS analysis etc. something not usually seen in design, so often treated as a purely subjective issue (it's not).
Perhaps not entirely suitable for web work, the book still covers extremely valid areas in interface design in general which will become more relevant as web based applications developed in flash become more commonplace.
Synopsis/Comments: A relatively short article that explains how users' expectations can effect the optimal placement of key interface elements. Some people may find the conclusion fairly obvious but I always think there's a difference between knowing something and assuming it.
Synopsis/Comments: Talks about how practical advice you find in the plethora of books can be to use. Encourages designers to think for themselves and use usability guidelines as just that, guides, and suggests an alternative way of thinking.
There are a few web portals out there aimed at application and interface designers, the best by far imho is boxes and arrows where you can find a treasure trove of resources and articles. Here's a few recent ones that piqued my interest,
Jesse James Garret has put together the Garret IA modelling system, it's a very simple but useful and effective way of planning the information architecture and interface of a site.
Mac users, get yourself a copy of OmniGraffle for it!
Synopsis: Wonderful book that goes over the history of OOP in ActionScript, where it was, is and is going. Colin goes over every aspect of programming strict OOP in Flash AS 2.0. From syntax and standards to design patterns including MVC and Delegation Event Model.
A great thing that he does is to point out every bug in the Flash Authoring Environments implementation of AS 2.0 and all the incorrect compile-time error messages.
He also explains why several non-standard OOP syntax are used in AS 2.0, like the stupid reason why Post-Colon Syntax is used for type declarations ...
Many side-by-side comparisons to Java and C++
I have wanted to adopt complete OOP in Flash since MX 2004 came out, but without having much OOP experience in Java, C++ , or other I was having a hard time grasping the concepts and then applying them to AS. This book covered everything! I highly recommend it.