Here follows a collection of books on how to design a system to be useful.
You may order any book from Amazon.com by simply clicking on the title.
Loosley, C, and Douglas, F. High Performance Client/Server, John Wiley & Sons:New York, 1998.
A detailed book on the issues to consider when designing a client/server system. In particular, how do you design a system which will perform according to users' expectations?
Norman, D. A., The Psychology of Everyday Things (published in paperback as The Design of Everyday Things), Basic Books, Inc.:New York, 1988.
A description of why some things are easy to use and others are not. It is not explicitly about the design of computer systems, but the principles absolutely apply.
Tufte, E. R., The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Graphics Press:Cheshire, CT, 1983
A beautiful book that establishes a foundation for understanding how quantitative information can be displayed effectively.
________, Envisioning Information, Graphics Press:Cheshire, CT, 1990.
This continuation of Tufte's work describes the principles of effective graphic design: what makes a picture effective?
________, Visual Explanations, Graphics Press:Cheshire, CT, 1997.
In this book, Tufte discusses the elements of quantitative representations that make them honest, dishonest, or simply misleading.
Weinshenk, S. & Yeo, S., Guidelines for Enterprise-wide GUI Design, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.:New York, 1995
This may be used as a standards manual, describing the specific elements that should be part of the design of any graphic user interface.