For those of you that have a desire to quickly learn more about the fundamentals of user experience theory I’d like to suggest the following books.
Now, there are a TON of books on this subject and believe me I’ve probably heard of or read them all. I recommend these because they are accessible and because they are short. All of them can be perused in a few hours or can serve as a blueprint for deeper investigation into subjects.
Designing for Interaction, by Dan Saffer (If you only get one book on UX get this one)
User Experience Design (Web)
The Elements of User Experience, by Jesse James Garrett (by the guy that coined the term AJAX, nice universal model of the Web design process)
Don’t Make Me Think, by Steve Krug (a book on down and dirty usability testing that will get you a basic overview)
If you have the means Forrester and Gartner are both excellent resources of guidance on User Experience as well. In Forrester look for articles by an analyst named Harley Manning, he covers virtually every topic you could want to know about regarding User Experience. Gartner also has some nice third party content on the importance of the business value of User Experience and the implications of some of the new technology that is being designed to support it.
We have re-launched two sites. Check them both out, there’s a lot of information there on design and some of our professional design tools.
Finally, be sure to check out www.msdn.com. Do some keyword searchs on Vista guidelines, User Experience, etc. You'll find some great articles on User Experience in general and on how to specifically address it within the Windows platform and tools and standards we've developed for cross-platform and browser experiences.