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Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design 1st Edition

68 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 078-5342410976
ISBN-10: 0321410971
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

As the Web evolves to incorporate new standards and the latest browsers offer new possibilities for creative design, the art of creating Web sites is also changing. Few Web designers are experiences programmers, and as a result, working with semantic markup and CSS can create roadblocks to achieving truly beautiful designs using all the resources available. Add to this the pressures of presenting exceptional design to clients and employers, without compromising efficient workflow, and the challenge deepens for those working in a fast-paced environment. As someone who understands these complexities firsthand, author and designer Andy Clarke offers visual designers a progressive approach to creating artistic, usable, and accessible sites using transcendent CSS.


In this groundbreaking book, you'll discover how to implement highly original designs through visual demonstrations of the creative possibilities using markup and CSS. You'll learn to use a new design workflow, build prototypes that work well for designers and all team members, use grids effectively, visualize  markup, and discover every phase of the transcendent design process, from working with the latest browsers to incorporating CSS3 to collaborating with team members effectively.


Transcending CSS: The Fine Art of Web Design:

Uses a visual approach to help you learn coding techniques

Includes numerous examples of world-class Web sites, photography, and other inspirations that give designers ideas for visualizing their code

Offers early previews of technical advances in new Web browsers and of the emerging CSS3 specification

About the Author

Andy Clarke is an internationally known speaker, designer, and consultant focusing on creative, accessible Web development. Andy is passionate about design and passionate about Web standards, bridging the gap between design and code. He regularly trains designers and developers in the creative applications of Web standards. Andy has written articles for A List Apart Magazine and contributed to the CSS Zen Garden. Outside of his studio, Andy is a member of the Web Standards Project.

Author, instructor, and Web designer Molly E. Holzschlag has written over 30 books on Web design and development. She’s been coined "one of the greatest digerati" and deemed one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women on the Web. Molly is also Group Lead of Web Standards Project and frequent lecturer on Web design and development around the world.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (November 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321410971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321410979
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #975,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

143 of 151 people found the following review helpful By Michael McKee on January 13, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off, this is one of the best design books around for the web designer who wants to use good code to create attractive and usable web sites. It is one of the few that does a good, no, excellent job of integrating modern HTML and CSS with good design principles. The examples represent the state of the art in CSS practices and are well paced and very well described. But more than offering some coding tricks, this book teaches solid visual design concepts and good professional workflow practices. Read the book carefully and follow the examples and you will be a better web designer.

Unfortunately, some of the book veers of into CSS 3, which isn't going to be a viable production option for a long, long time. Internet Explorer, the browser with, by far, the highest user base barely does an adequate job of supporting CSS 2, and that's with the brand new version, the first in 5 years. Including a chapter on it in this book is a waste of space. If I want a fantasy, I'll look in the fiction section.

Another quibble is in Clarke's justification for following web standards, especially when he compares building sites in Dreamweaver and hand coding. Saying that learning Dreamweaver is more difficult than learning HTML and CSS to the level needed to make it work in current browsers is plain silly. I am perfectly comfortable with either method and find that each has definite benefits. But the learning curve for hand coding is by far the steeper one. I don't have to browse the forums every week to learn new Dreamweaver workarounds as I do for CSS and Internet Explorer's shortcomings.

I've given more space here to the couple minor negatives than the numerous fine qualities of this book. Don't let my nit picking lead you to think I don't like this book.
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69 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Frank Stepanski on December 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Andy Clark ([...] ) is one of the leading UK designers for the past 10 years and he has been at the forefront in promoting web standards and accessibility.

This is a somewhat unique CSS book in that it is not a "beginners" book nor it is a purely "advanced" book either. It is a book for web designers who know the basics of CSS who want to know how to use the full potential of CSS level 3 whether or not every browser will support every technique you use. It describes what can be done with CSS and how web layouts can be viewed as a means to provide semantic data to your viewers.

Throughout this book, Andy Clark provides beautiful illustrations and photographs of web pages, stock photos and snap shots that give the book a less "textbook" feeling and more of a slight story telling feeling. It's hard to describe, but it makes reading it more interesting and allows it to flow better. There are four main sections of the book: Discovery, Process, Inspiration, and Transcendence.

The book begins with Discovery: This section reviews many existing well designed web sites (CSS Zen Garden, Clear Left, Adacto, A List Apart, etc.) in explaining what the term "Transcendent CSS" really means. These principles such as not all browsers see the same design, use all available CSS selectors, use CSS3 where possible, se JavaScript and the DOM, avoid sing hacks and filters, and use semantic name conventions.

The next section is Process: This section talks about how to create a perfect workflow. The process of working with wireframes, using prototypes, how to build proper layouts, organizing CSS code, styling navigation and understanding elements of typography are all discussed.

The section Inspiration is my favorite section.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Diane Cipollo on January 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
One of the major decisions one needs to make when starting a website project is how "cutting edge" your site design will be. Will you use only basic HTML or will you also use CSS, JavaScript, Ajax and more? If you do decide to use these other web languages, how much will you use and how will you use them? For a long time, there was only one answer to this question. Those features that were supported by the most popular web browsers represented the limited amount of advanced features that you could add to your site and still be assured that most people would be able to access your site.

In this book the author, Andy Clarke, presents the argument that website design should not be limited in this way. Written from the designer's point of view, this book has beautiful photography, plentiful screenshots and real-world examples of the author's approach to web design. The purpose of this book is not to teach you web standards or the popular web languages such as XHTML, CSS and JavaScript but to teach you how to use these tools to create effective and cutting edge websites.

In the first part of the book, Clarke discusses the Graded Browser Support approach to web design introduced by Yahoo and the seven principles of Transcendent CSS. The author's goal is to expand your design options beyond the commonly used table-based layouts and toward a content-based approach where the website structure is based on the meaning and purpose of the content on the page.

The next part of the book teaches how to build a web standards compliant and content-based website with XHTML, CSS and JavaScript. Again, it is not the author's desire to teach these languages and he does assume a working knowledge of them.
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