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Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0764536748
ISBN-10: 0764536745
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"?a carefully considered text?if you are involved in designing a website this is one of the books you should consider reading before you start?" (Cvu, October 2002)

From the Back Cover

"Usability" has become the watchword of contemporary Web design, and with good reason. But until now, books on Web usability have focused chiefly on response times, compatibility, and other technical matters, providing only limited guidance on design issues. This book takes Web usability a step further-and shows how good visual design can make a site not just usable, but user-friendly.

Using hundreds of real-world Web examples, interface expert Luke Wroblewski explains how to enhance usability by applying the principles of visual communications to site design. Good visual design, he demonstrates, can make a site's organization crystal clear-and convey its personality or "attitude" in an instant. Offering lots of specific design recommendations for text, links, images, navigation, forms, home pages, dynamic content, and Web services, Site-Seeing delivers the insights and advice you need to boost a site's visual appeal-and take Web usability to the next level.
* Learn how colors, type, photos, and more work together to give each site a distinct personality
* Create Web sites that are both practical and charged with emotion
* Discover how visual organization can clarify Web site elements and simplify interactions
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (July 12, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764536745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764536748
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This book lays a good foundation for web design by emphasizing planning, meeting clients' goals, and understanding the target audience. Wroblewski emphasizes usability when describing the core of the site- structure, navigation, content- and how it will affect the experience of the audience. He uses numerous examples to illustrate layout, visual heirarchy, color schemes, and how they work together (or don't!) to communicate quickly and effectively to the site visitor.
I got frustrated about the amount of fluff surrounding actual information. He makes plenty of good points and then buries them beneath a barrage of condescending, long-winded metaphors, like the way we can read a map and know that blue represents water. The analogy itself could be helpful, but three paragraphs to explain the analogy is just distracting.
I'm glad I read it... it opened my eyes to many challenges that web designers face, and inspired me to infuse life and personality into my own site. I'm also glad I highlighted the meaningful parts so I (or friends who borrow it) can skip past the fluff in the future.
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Format: Paperback
As a fan of Site-Seeing, I must respond to a few of the reviews asserting that the author should have condensed certain material in the book. For me, the many visual examples and the great, detailed explanations (one reviewer suggested "wordy") are exactly what makes this book so useful. Rather than just skimming over important design concepts, the author actually takes the time to properly explain these important principles and illustrate them with examples. In my opinion, many other web design books use only words, whereas in this book, you can actually see and understand what the author is talking about. This is very important to me, as a visual learner. That is just one reason why this book is still on my desk.
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Format: Paperback
To be fair about this, I am not judging the content of the book, but the format of the book is horrific. The author presents concepts for implementing usable web design through a book that seems to ignor hundreds of years of proven usability principles for the printed word. Interesting design, or even attractive design, is not always usable design.

The book looks like an undergraduate graphic design project - and not a successful one at that. While the author may have many good things to say, communication of those points gets lost in the design. His credibility for what he has to say also gets lost, because of the way he presents his information. I purchased this book for about $6 (used), that's a fair price for an example of what not to do. If you want to gain a solid understanding of basic usability principles, start with Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think".
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The publication of this book is quite timely as websites today are in my opinion too cluttered and it is mind boggling to go through most web pages. Most people (myself included) simply scan such web pages quickly. Visual cues and relationships are the key making sense of these pages. Therefore, I think it is a great idea to teach website developers usability issues from the visual perspective. Which is exactly what Site Seeing does with lots of examples and many many great tips on how to design navigation, home pages, web applications, and more. Wonderful book.
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Format: Paperback
Luke Wroblewski, in his book Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability, offers an interesting and, in my view, much needed perspective on the topic of web design. In Section One, he starts at the very beginning, explaining what is basically the design process every designer learns in school. This includes such things as researching your client, documenting your process, generating a mission statement or goal for the website, organizing content and developing an effective navigation system---things that should be thought through before ever firing up the html editor. This information is invaluable for anyone approaching a web design project because it reduces the chance for major revisions further into a project and makes it easier for a designer to do his or her best creative work.
Section Two gets more focused, describing the peculiarities of communicating via the web. I found particularly gratifying the suggestion to not "break the web model"---the established idiom of the web including the back button, bookmarks, history, etc. This is not a follow your bliss kind of web design book. It is a carefully thought through guide for what works and what does not work for effective communication on the web. The author also focuses here on the importance of getting and maintaining quality content for your website and how to make content dominant through visual organization and establishing a hierarchy of information. The next chapter in this section provides a primer on the Principles of Visual Organization---an invaluable resource for anyone approaching this kind of project and something that is largely missing from other books in this genre.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book. As a programmer without a lot of
experience charged with creating several WWW sites for my
emplyer, the sections on visual design were invaluable to me. The methaphos and examples used throughout the book got me "looking" at Web pages (especially the ones I did and plan to do) with an informed eye. My Web skills have vastly imporved, as evidenced by the praise I have received for my most recent site design! I recommend this book to all WWW designers who "struggle" to get the page "right"! This text will get you there.
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