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The Art and Science of Web Design Paperback – December 28, 2000

ISBN-13: 002-9236723705 ISBN-10: 0789723700 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders Press; 1 edition (December 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789723700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789723703
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,352,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

When it comes to Web design, style guides are often too boring and predictable to capture the attention of caffeine-riddled Web developers. But not The Art & Science of Web Design; this book strategically equips readers to design sites effectively.

Jeffrey Veen, an established design guru and one of the creators of HotWired.com, has authored a carefully structured look into the undercurrents of Web design. Organized around the key development topics, the book is laden with a historical background of standards, features, and trends. Yet the topics are timeless and core to good Web engineering, so it's space well spent. The mix of expert opinion and historical explanation creates a well-rounded reader experience.

Issues such as interface consistency are explored within the unique paradigm of the Web, with the assistance of a sidebar to explain what "above the fold" means. Performance is discussed with an unusual twist: the current constraint on Web-browsing performance is actually good since it fosters creativity and more elegant design and development. This, beyond the usual design tips, is what makes this book special. Art & Science stays at a reasonably high altitude, dwelling not on the fine details of browser compatibility but rather on the key areas designers need to be concerned about. With his years of experience and knowledge of the legacy of traditional publishing, Veen has provided a great perspective on the dicey work of Web designers. --Stephen W. Plain

Topics covered:

  • Technology history (publishing, presentation model)
  • Interface consistency
  • Site structure
  • Interactivity and self-aware content
  • Browsers
  • Performance
  • Web advertising
  • Database-driven content

From the Back Cover

The Art & Science of Web Design will help you understand the Web from the inside. It is structured around core Web concepts that often get only a passing mention in books on Web design. This book is not a reference book or a style guide. It is your mentor, whispering in your ear all the answers to those ubiquitous questions, and reminding us that there are now new rules and new ways to break them.

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Customer Reviews

For what it is (a beginner's book), it is about a 4 star book).
Bogon
For beginners he gives a good soft introduction to basic concepts so you'll wind up having an idea of which direction to go after you finish the book.
Shaft
Veen's book is a book full of Web Design foundations and principles.
Dag Suul

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By S Dutton on November 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
A disappointment, given the author's guru reputation and the five star reviews here at Amazon.
All in all, an incoherent series of essays with no clear message and little practical advice, badly edited and badly proofread (a typo on every other page -- check out the bullet points on page 17) with umpteen unenlightening screenshots and illustrations ("Code", "Word" and "Pictures" in circles joined by a triangle -- hey! they're connected!)
It's too basic for techies (readers are advised to give alternatives when specifying font names...) but too cryptic for the novice or general reader ("Just as a good classification system will spawn prediction in information retrieval, a good integration structure will do the same with services" - -huh?)
The general-reader stuff is padded out with platitudes ("The Web may be growing fast, but its foundation stretches back through years..."), the nuts-and-bolts sections are far too specific to be useful (several pages are devoted to an IE-only method of dynamically resizing headlines, which is pretty questionable anyway) and most of the last chapter is taken up with ASP code for a specific database application.
The author also has an irritating predilection for long-winded tangential analogies (three paragraphs describing how David Copperfield uses diversionary tactics to do his magic) and unnecessary long words like "disambiguate", "heuristics" and "deconstruct".
Far better alternatives are Steve Krug's book Don't Make Me Think!, any of the O'Reilly Web books or Jakob Nielsen's website (...)
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50 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Andrew B. King on January 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Jeffrey Veen is on a mission to make the Web a better place. His latest book, "The Art & Science of Web Design," came from a need he saw for a higher-level view of Web design: "I looked around at what Web design books were available, and saw a hole in the market." Veen was Executive Interface Director for Wired Digital, and the man behind Webmonkey, HotWired, and HotBot's designs.
For many of you, reading this book will be an "aha" experience. According to Veen, Web design is no longer logos and layouts, it now takes a multidisiplinary approach, with elements of information architecture, programming, and of course design. Veen says: "The line between design and programming is getting more and more blurry." The rare few who stretch beyond their comfort zones and learn these other disciplines can become design masters. Jeffrey Veen is such a person.
It's a different kind of Web design book. Veen doesn't dwell on technical details, he guides you towards more elegant solutions. He provides ways you can find the best solutions (interfaces etc.) through the use of heuristic usability and pattern matching, rather than the tedious testing promoted by the likes of Jakob Nielsen. It's a new design philosophy really, a more fluid approach with "intelligent content that can figure out how to display itself correctly" created from dynamic publishing systems (databases and scripted templates).
And Veen makes it look easy. Veen's final chapter on "Object- Oriented Publishing" ties it all together with a great example of a database-backed scripted template (using ASP) front-end to a church's sermon respository.
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Format: Paperback
Having a stylish and effective web site for your business is now a necessity rather than an option. For many varied, unusual and sometimes baffling reasons, it is very difficult to create a site that satisfies a sense of good style as well as a taste for commerce. Jeffrey Veen is an acknowledged expert in making web sites work and much of that expertise is captured in this book.
I was very impressed with his starting point that simple consistency is a virtue. While fancy displays are impressive at first sight, if it is not backed up by clearly understandable functionality, your captured eyeballs will not bring their brains and wallets along. The basics of page layout and design listed here are rules of thumb that you should violate only in the most unusual of circumstances.
One of the best points he makes refers to the magician David Copperfield. He notes that while the scantily clad women do provide entertainment value, their real purpose is to take your mind away from paying too close attention to the magic tricks. The same thing applies when designing web sites. If the page display proceeds in steps, the result is to render a powerful illusion of speed to the user. Therefore, while the primary concern must be the overall speed of the download, a secondary concern is to organize the page so that it appears to load quickly.
Veen also has all of the proper scorn for the tactics used by some online advertisers. Like him, it has always baffled me that someone would believe that the way to get me to buy something from their site is to mislead me into clicking to it.
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