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Designing Easy-to-use Web Sites: A Hands-on Approach to Structuring Successful Websites Paperback – December 21, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

usable e-business websites; websites that not only contain up-to-date, effective information that is easy to find, but sites that actually make it easy for users to do all the tasks that they have come to the site to achieve. The emphasis now for e-business websites is to improve customer satisfaction and to make the user experience of the site simple, intuitive and efficient. Companies who invest in designing solutions that make life easy for their users are far more likely to achieve customer retention - the key to the success or failure of any business on the web.

This book analyses the reasons why many e-business websites fail and then goes on to provide a structured approach and methodology that can help improve the chances of success. It provides a toolkit of techniques that can be adopted and tailored to design easy-to-use websites, and details the processes that can be introduced within an organization to ensure that once a site is up and running, there are controls in place to make sure that site quality is maintained.

One of the key issues in the development of web solutions for existing businesses is how to utilize the their existing knowledge of their business and bring this experience effectively to their website. This book looks at the exciting possibilities of adaptive interfaces, and how businesses can effectively target information to different users and build in content relationships into the interface using collaborative filtering techniques.

In this book practical design methodologies underpinned by common information models can be adapted by web design and development teams to create practical robust content templates, and develop task and work flows. This ensures that not only is the website an easy and enjoyable experience for users, but the publishing and transaction environments that sit behind the site are sympathetic to the needs of the business management processes as well as the needs of those who must support and maintain the site.

This book will ensure that your website:
· Is easy to use
· Is enjoyable to use
· Delivers high-quality up-to-date information
· Successfully meets business targets and models
· Keeps customers coming back for more!


About the Author

Vanessa Donnelly is a software designer and Ease of Use Consultant within IBM specializing in Website Design and Content Management.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 429 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson Education; 1st edition (December 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201674688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201674682
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,005,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By RDW on January 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book elevates designing web sites to the status of a science. I've read plenty of books telling me which colors to use and how to make things readable on a acreen. Most were interesting but focused on presentation. Designing a scalable and managable database-driven web site is not easy, but this book spells out the steps in a logical structure
It also links business processes directly to the construction of a web site. Content managemnent, ownership, classification, information modelling, workflow etc are all examined in detail.
If I have one criticism, it's that the section on XML standards could be expanded. These days, sharing content at the db level with other web sites is crucial to many businesses. The section on page 142 talks briefly and then refers you to more in-depth information online. I guess the author figured that XML is really a separate book.
If you have some heavy-lifting to do in terms of an industrial strength web site, spending a couple of days reading this book could save you a lot of time later addressing scalability and management issues. I've not seen another book like this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew B. King on September 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Designing Easy-to-use Websites is much more than a conventional usability book, it's an attempt to make us rethink the entire Web design process. Instead of directly jumping into the fun stuff of design and layout, as most designers tend to do, Vanessa Donnelly advocates a much more structured approach to Web site development that includes analysis and design techniques that enable a Web development team to design usable websites.
The process she lays out is not unlike a well-run software development project (only with continuous updates). Based on her own extensive usability research, and experience as IBM's chief usability guru, Vanessa has compiled a comprehensive, high-level, uber-guide to creating high quality, scaleable, and maintainable Web sites.
Donnelly's thesis? Usability is much more than layout and link colors, it bubbles up naturally from a well-planned database- driven site using a content management system that scales well, raises productivity, and dramatically reduces operating budgets.
The idea is to plan for expansion early, and separate the different components of content into manageable, discrete chunks (content, layout, style, navigation, and classification) that all exist independently, and can be assembled using a database. The days of lone webmasters coding entire Web sites by hand are over. In order to succeed, today's e-business sites need a content management system, extensive up-front planning and usability testing throughout the entire development process.
The author first shows how the current ad-hoc one-HTML-page-at-a-time methods are not working, and can cause problems as sites scale. Maintenance, version control, access, archiving, deletion, and classification are all made more difficult and ad-hoc by using a manual process.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Tom on March 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
I agree that the Netherlands reviewer in that the title is a bit of a misnomer in the current design/usability climate. *However* I think this is an excellent book for that odd group in every enterprise known as "core development", "integration and strategy", "publishing and architecture" or what have you. Those who approach usability from the front end only are told straight up that you really need to develop your back-end systems, particularly your content management system, at the same time as your site in order for maximum efficiency and usability to happen. This kind of info is often left out when pundits discuss usability and ease-of-use -- it's unglamourous but absolutely vital -- and this book allows you to present your case to your boss in a very persuasive manner. Only complaints are the largish number of IBM services group plugs, but since the author works for IBM, I guess that's natural.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By F P on January 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Well worth buying, this book does an excellent job of explaining why it's important that your Website is easy to use, and how you can design it to make it so. If you are planning to do business on the Web, this book is essential reading. The author has clearly thought through the issues and come up with a design approach which adresses them.
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