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Paperback: 420 pages
Publisher: Five Simple Steps Ltd (October 19, 2010)
Andy Clarke has been called a lot of things since he started working on the web at Stuff and Nonsense ten years ago. His ego likes words like ambassador for CSS, industry prophet and inspiring, but actually he is most proud that Jeffrey Zeldman once called him a bastard
Andy is a member of the Web Standards Project and a former invited expert to the W3C's CSS Working Group. He took ten months out of his life to write the best-selling book Transcending CSS: The Fine Art Of Web Design, but Andy's passion is amazing web design. He loves making designs for the web, writing about design and teaching it at workshops and conferences all over the world.
I've been designing websites for many years now following many of Jakob Nielsen's usability theories. This was the first book in a long time that is making me reconsider the way I design. Instead of designing what works for the lowest common browser out there, Clark asks what would happen if we designed for the best browser first. His answer is that we should design first for the more capable browsers and use everything that emerging technologies like HTML5 and CSS3 have to offer. It's really easier to style down than style up! For him it's top down responsive design all the way. I'm not sure I agree with all he has to say, but there's lot of useful information in here about responsive design from web fonts to media queries to designing to a browser's capabilities.
The book itself reflects this philosophy. It is beautifully designed. You can tell a lot of thinking and time was taken for even the minor layout details. It has loads of color examples and there's nary a dry screen shot to be seen. I bought it in the ebook version and was so impressed, I bought a hardcopy for my permanent library.
This book is something every web designer should read even if you disagree with his ideas. Clark makes you think about why you do the things you do and to think more creatively how to achieve the best design for your clients and those people that view their websites.
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When I started building websites back in 1997 I already made use of a fixed background in order to have the contents of the page to scroll over it. This gave extra depth to a page instead of just scrolling some printed sheet over the screen. Translucency is something which in that time was not possible yet. When it was finally possible I used it, even though a browser like IE6 presented it as a bland opaque background of my texts. There was little about the subject which one could find on the web. But there are so many more things which some of us would want to be able to avail ourselves of. But most webmasters need work and only listen to their clients, who up until a short time ago almost all used IE6 - and some still do. An extra obstacle is that designers, when working for the web, still think that a web page is a printed thing, which should not look different to different viewers using different browsers and systems. So development was - and is being - held back. To quote Andy Clark: "Some people say that websites must look the same in every browser. To hell with that."
This book has all the answers I've been looking for - plus the encouragement from a pro to go forward and make web pages which look optimal on advanced browsers and still functional on backward ones. HTML5 and CSS3 opened the way to do this in a never before imagined way.
The book is a gem to hold in your hands: appetizing design, a perfect choice of paper, the right size, to the point illustrations, readable and full of valuable information. And it is not a school book. It's the best book I have seen in the fourteen years I've been working for the web - a medium which we cannot ignore.Read more ›
Andy Clarke is a very inspiring person. I really like his insides and knowledge about web design and development. And he is never afraid to change the way we all think about responsive webdesign. This book is all about semantic HTML and CSS.
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