A number of years ago when I was working closely with the Great Plains development team in Fargo, I heard that everyone on the team had been given a book to read. This book would help the team understand why it is important to work with designers when creating software, especially the user interface.
That book was Alan Cooper’s The Inmates Are Running The Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity.
Below is the short description:
The Inmates are Running the Asylum argues that, despite appearances, business executives are simply not the ones in control of the high-tech industry. They have inadvertently put programmers and engineers in charge, leading to products and processes that waste huge amounts of money, squander customer loyalty, and erode competitive advantage. They have let the inmates run the asylum. Alan Cooper offers a provocative, insightful and entertaining explanation of how talented people continuously design bad software-based products. More importantly, he uses his own work with companies big and small to show how to harness those talents to create products that will both thrill their users and grow the bottom line.
This book and others by Alan Cooper are highly recommended.