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Web Design for Developers: A Programmer's Guide to Design Tools and Techniques (Pragmatic Programmers) [Paperback]

by Brian P. Hogan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 6, 2010 1934356131 978-1934356135 1

Developers don't get to spend a lot of time thinking about design, but many secretly wish they knew how to make their applications look just a little bit better. This book takes you on a journey through a web site redesign, where you'll learn the basic concepts of design, color theory, typography, and accessibility. You'll learn how to take a sketch and transform it into a digital mockup in Photoshop, and then finally into a working web page. You'll see how to develop logos, icons, and buttons using Illustrator and Photoshop, and then code a web page that will load fast, be easy to maintain, and most of all, be accessible to all audiences.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brian Hogan has been developing web sites professionally since 1995 as a freelancer and consultant. He's also built small and large web sites and web applications using ASP, PHP, and Ruby on Rails. He enjoys teaching and writing about technology, particularly web design and development.

Product Details

  • Series: Pragmatic Programmers
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (January 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934356131
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934356135
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 7.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Brian P. Hogan is an author, editor, teacher, and web developer who's been building web sites and applications professionally since 1995 as a freelancer and consultant. He enjoys teaching and writing about technology, particularly web design, accessibility, and development. When not hacking on Ruby or JavaScript code, he's writing songs, watching "The Simpsons," and spending quality time with his wife and daughters.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I recently finished reading Web Design For Developers: A Programmer's Guide to Design Tools and Techniques and while I would like to have seen a few more specific details in a few places, the book overall does a great job of breaking down the mystic art of web design in a manner that allows almost any left-brained analytical developer to grasp the concepts and produce work of sufficient quality. If you are a software developer that is interested in web design, this is the book for you. It is full of great parallels between the two worlds and will help you understand how to create a design that works, while conforming to standards and be accessible to all types of browsers and devices.

The book starts out by describing a fairly common set of scenarios where a customer is involved in some discussion about what their current website looks like and does, vs what they want it to do. It's an accurate portrayal of what really goes on in these types of meetings, leaving the reader with a sense of "ugh. not another nebulous, undefined set of `requirements'."

After that brief introduction into the world of dealing with customers, the book jumps into the basics of design and talks about some of the key elements of laying out a site, including the need to do pencil sketches as wire frames. One mild issue that I have with this section of the book is that the author uses a lot of standard notations for various elements in the sketches but fails to define those notations or provide any links to information on what those notations are. While most of it is rather obvious, I was able to understand the intent of some of the sketches only because I have experience with wire framing tools that use the same notations.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
When it comes to creating websites, there are typically two sorts of people involved in the process. There are web developers, creating complex and wonderful application backends, and web designers, who take textual markup and perhaps a bit of imagery, and create a beautiful web experience -- at least, in theory. Web Design for Developers, by Brian Hogan, is designed to teach the developers a bit about what it is that the designers do.

To provide a bit of background, I'm approaching this book as a seasoned web developer, having worked as a professional in the field for over a decade now. While I am a web developer at heart, I have taken the time to pick up some tricks of the designer trade here and there, though I still fight with the occasional float and mix up my margins and padding. I tried to redesign my personal site once, and I think I made a dozen people blind with my color choices, so I welcomed the opportunity that this book presented me, to learn more about what goes into design -- and I really did learn a lot. I only had one or two major gripes with some of the content.

The book is divided into four major sections:

As previously mentioned, I have virtually zero concept of what makes for good design, and the book opens up right away with the basics. I found this section absolutely wonderful. Having worked with several designers of varying quality over the years, I'd picked up on some ideas, such as "Grid-based design is good" and "Color choice is important", but I really didn't have any context as to the "why" behind many of those decisions.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must have book for developers. January 22, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I only wish I'd had this book earlier in my professional life! The author explains web design - colors, fonts, mocking up in PhotoShop, CSS and more - in terms developers get, not in language graphic designers use. The result: you get it.

The chapter on color is worth the book - exactly what you as a developer need to understand and not a bit more.

The title really should have been how to make your web apps look as good as the code behind them, but that's probably too long.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for every web developer April 27, 2010
Many web or rich internet application developers suffer from working with graphics, graphic design and designers who usually do not understand how their projects are implemented and integrated with code. On the other hand many developers know nothing or almost nothing about design stuff which make them feeling uncomfortable when working with graphics provided by graphic artists. If you are such a developer you should read Web Design for Developers by Brian P. Hogan. It is a programmer's guide to design tools and techniques. The book explains key quality web design concepts clearly and effectively. This book helps to close the gap between designers and developers by teaching the latter basics of web design.

The book covers many "interesting design topics" including working with colors, fonts and typography, designing mock-ups, building standards aware web pages utilizing HTML and CSS. There are also topics on working with different web browsers, accessibility and usability or search engine optimization. I like the way the book is organised and narrated. It is based on a scenario of building (or improving) a web site for a fictitious company called Foodbox. Throughout the book there are many usuful tips which can help save time later and deal with complicated things in simple ways.

Everything can be improved and this is especially true in design. This book helped me to understand better what makes the difference between bad and good design and how to accomplish the latter. It is easier to work with design issues knowing things I have found in this book. I think it is a must have for every coder dealing with design and usability of user interfaces. I agree with the author saying in the first sentence of the book: "If you've ever written and application and wished it looked a little better, then this book is for you". I am a web/RIA developer. Yes, this book is for me and maybe for you, too.
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