At the height of those flush dot-com days, Carrie Bickner, in her role as Web developer for the New York Public Library, was about to embark on an ambitious site redesign project, one that would entail bringing aboard information architects, graphic designers, editors, and writers. Then the stock market suddenly tanked and the bottom fell out of her budget. Reduced to a two-person staff, she quickly learned how to do a lot with a little. And with, Web Design on a Shoestring
, a lean but power-packed book, Bickner, along with some fellow "shoestring warriors," shares this knowledge and shows how each phase in site development can trimmed back without losing control, quality, or beauty.
Using case studies and countless anecdotes throughout the book, she begins with some steps for good project planning: find a clear focus for the site, figure out what resources (hardware, software, people) are already available, and, (this will cause a knowing smile for many readers) keep the number of decision makers small. She outlines how to document the goals and requirements, both functional and technical, and advises keeping this documentation where every team member can see it. The book covers user testing, proving that usability checking neednt be sacrificed when moneys tight, and theres helpful advice on what makes good written and visual content.
But the pot of gold in this book is in the chapter on content-management systems (CMS), especially ones that save money like templates, cascading style sheets (CSS), server-side includes (SSI), and open-source CMS solutions. Bickner discusses how employing good markup and adhering to Web standards can make your site work on the widest range of browsers and devices and even goes over some fine points of proper XHTML. She finishes with some sage words on choosing and registering a domain name and comparison shopping for domain hosting.
The checklists at the start of each chapter and little "Budget Threat" sidebars make Web Design on a Shoestring a handy desk companion for any money-strapped office. And isnt that every office these days? --Angelynn Grant
From the Publisher
Now more than ever, individuals and companies alike are pinching pennies. But that doesnt mean your web site needs to suffer. In fact, the economy shouldnt even matter. Whether youre experiencing great cash flow or a dismal downturn, there are all sorts of things you can do to make your web site and your workflow better. And author Carrie Bickner makes it easy.
This shoestring book is about more than pinching pennies. Sure, it will save you money, but its also best practices-the things that save you time and enable you to put your energy toward creativity. My most favorite things about this book are Carries Chapter Checklists and her writing style. The Checklists give you immediate ways to take action-whether its implementing web standards, cleaning up your design, or making sure youre not spending too much on hosting--and her conversational tone makes it a fun, engaging read.
Jennifer Eberhardt, Editor