Chicago's own 37 Signals recently launched their new book, "Getting Real". Download 37s-introduction.pdf These guys are fantastic. They practice what they preach—and their interactive products demonstrate their philosophy. Worth the download and reasonable price.
“Getting Real is about skipping all the stuff that
represents real (charts, graphs, boxes, arrows, schematics, wirefames, etc.) and actually building the real thing. Getting real is less. Less mass, less software, less features, less paperwork, less of everything that’s not essential (and
most of what you think is essential actually isn’t).
Getting Real is staying small and being agile.
Getting Real starts with the interface, the real screens that people are going to use. It begins with what the customer actually experiences and builds backwards from there. This lets you get the interface right before you get the software wrong.
Getting Real is about iterations and lowering the
cost of change. Getting Real is all about launching,
tweaking, and constantly improving which makes
it a perfect approach for web-based software.
Getting Real delivers just what customers need
and eliminates anything they don’t.”