66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2001
This book is a high-level, phased approach to web design. The context is the development team's workflow, and all of the key tasks, deliverables and roles that need to be choreographed to successfully develop, implement and maintain a web site.
From a project management point of view this book serves as the basis for a work breakdown structure (WBS), and the project sequencing. I was able to quickly develop a generic project planning template that contained a relatively detailed WBS, project phasing, roles and responsibilities matrix and activity diagram. These tools were easy to extract from the book because of how well the authors have thought out the key elements of a web project and the development workflow.
Among the things I most like are: (1) the care that was lavished on the layout and design of this book has resulted in more than mere aesthetics - as I read through it picking out the project elements I found myself inspired by the sheer beauty of the book, and actually felt more creative. Since I am more disposed towards technical aspects than art I was amazed by the influence the book's design had over me. It also made it easy to go through the book and find things. (2) completeness - while the authors do not go very deep in any one topic, they do cover all of the key points in a thorough manner. I found no gaps in coverage, and did not see the superficial treatment of the technical topics as a problem. In fact, this book is ideal for non-technical project managers who need to concern themselves with the project-oriented aspects of a web project. For the more technical members of a project team there is ample material covering every aspect of the technical approach. (3) sequencing - the phases of the project and associated workflow evidences the authors' extensive experience in web development projects. A lot of thought went into this and I couldn't help but think of the hard lessons learned on prior projects that resulted in such a refined workflow. (4) expert topics - the insets titled <expert topic> imparted a lot of useful information, making this book all the more valuable.
For detailed project planning and deeper look at technical issues I will always recommend Web Project Management by Ashley Friedlein. However, after reading this wonderful book I am now recommending that this book be read before tackling Mr. Friedlein's book. I also recommend that this book be provided to all key members of the project team because it shows the big picture and gets everyone pulling in the same direction. In my opinion, this book is an essential read for anyone involved in web projects.
88 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2001
In just 253 thinly-laden pages, "Web Redesign: Workflow that Works" dodges the special challenges of redesigning Web sites, and ranges well beyond Web designers' workflow issues. How, then, does this newest addition to the Web site builder's library justify your time and its price?
The answer is that "Web Redesign" teaches designers to mix discipline with all that painful designer hipness. With its semi-gloss pages, landscape format, copious illustrations and liberal use of Jan Tschichold's elegant Garamond typeface variant Sabon, this volume entices lovers of design. Then the text content slips in, all rational and process-oriented, to explain soberly that Web design must push beyond pretty, that it demands documentation and budgets and schedules and testing or the whole damn glorious enterprise will fall in a heap. Authors Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler, old-school Web designers themselves, enthuse over funky skating sites while earnestly explaining that such sites need project plans. Screenshots of budget spreadsheets sit next to screenshots of sites with fancy menus and lots of designer-illegible tiny grey text.
Does all the rationality sound a little familiar? It should, these days. "Web Redesign" spends much of its time in territory already authoritatively mapped by 2000's volume from Ashley Friedlein, "Web Project Management". Friedlein's book possesses all the flair promised in its title, but its publication marked a new phase for the discipline of Web site development. "Web Redesign" echoes most of what Friedlein has said, with less depth and more glamour.
Like Friedlein's book, "Web Redesign" focuses on deliverables - tasks that you can list, tasks that you can celebrate completing, and tasks whose completion entitles you to ask the client for money. Like Friedlein's book, it broadly adopts software's longstanding systems development life cycle, which moves from project definition to detailed planning, to build, to implementation, and finally to system support. Like Friedlein's book, it accepts the challenge of gathering Web site content, a challenge alien to traditional software development.
Unlike Friedlein's book, however, "Web Redesign" offers a swag of basic site design techniques, from audience profiling to establishing file-naming conventions. Indeed, it reads as its authors' accumulation of notes on how to get sites out the door. It compensates for a wooden prose style by enlisting sidebars, diagrams, worksheets, sketches, summaries, tips and just about anything else that might keep the reader engaged.
This book also grants usability testing a key role in site development: its 18-page user testing summary, laced liberally with the thoughts of Jakob Nielsen, ranks with the best.
Don't buy it just because you're planning a site redesign, though. Barely a sentence in it does not apply equally to new sites. A serious book on redesign would show readers how to evaluate the performance of existing and new sites, not dismiss evaluation in three paragraphs. A serious book about site redesigns would place usability testing right at the start of the redesign process, not shove it carelessly into the second-last chapter. A serious book about site redesigns would discuss the sheer riskiness of a once-off redesign, and tackle the tough challenges of designing for continual change and expansion. But Goto and Cotler show little expertise or interest in evaluation, maintainable design or evolutionary improvement - and with that "Web Redesign" title they simply lie outright.
Forgive that lie. Goto and Cotler are at least spreading the word that Web site creation is a discipline. The combination of Friedlein's "Web Project Management" and Nielsen's "Designing Web Usability" (...) massively outguns the Goto & Cotler volume. If you can buy those two and read them, you should. But if you want to read - or want to hand a designer - one pretty volume, then "Web Redesign" is your first choice.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2001
The Web has become so pervasive that redesigns are now more common than new designs. In fact, nearly all Fortune 500 companies now have Web sites (those that don't shall remain nameless), so redesigns are now the norm. This book is the first to address the Web site redesign process.
The book codifies the workflow work co-author Kelly Goto lectured extensively on at Thunder Lizard conferences since 1997. After one of her sold-out lectures on Web design workflow one of her loyal fans would invariably ask, "When are you going to write a book?" This book, and its accompanying Web site, is the answer.
Anyone can design (or redesign) a Web site. But to do it on time and on budget requires a disciplined approach. This book logically lays out that process. The authors concentrate on the "Core Process" common to all Web site design and redesign projects. By following their methodology, you can raise your chance of success for your next design project.
"The idea is to put everybody - the client and team alike - in the same frame of reference, using the same terminology, following the same path," says Emily Cotler, co-author of the book. "The Core Process that we developed can apply to any sized web team, with any sized budget, whether an initial design or a redesign."
Primarily aimed at project managers, this book is designed to streamline the redesign process for everyone involved. Whether your budget is $10K or $1M, the Core Process still applies. What is the Core Process you ask? It's a five phase roadmap of the workflow required for redesigning a Web site. The phases are:
* Defining the Project
* Developing Site Structure
* Visual Design & Testing
* Production & QA
* Launch & Beyond
The book follows this outline, expanding on each topic with detailed action items for each phase (discovery, clarification, planning for phase 1). The wonderful thing about this book is the synergistic effect it has with its companion Web site, which offers free on-line worksheets you can use in your own redesign projects. Client questionnaires, meta tag builders, and budget spreadsheets are all included and discussed extensively in the book. You save money by not buying an out of date CD-ROM, and everyone wins by having access to these battle-tested workflow worksheets.
Although only 253 wide pages, the book is packed with useful information. The authors liberally sprinkle the text with site redesign examples, illustrations, flowcharts, and checklists. Plus they feature full-page in context contributions from Web experts like Nielsen, Siegel, Veen, Lynda, and Zeldman (who all happen to be New Riders authors).
The advice is good, though marred by some minor technical errors. Gather are much data as you can beforehand, get client signoff on key documents, perform a competitive analysis and usability testing. However, I found one common misconception, the latest Flash plug-in is not supported by 96% of current browsers, as stated on page 124. It's Flash 3 that has a 96% penetration rate. Flash 5 has less than 80% penetration worldwide, and less than 70% in the US, according to a survey by NPD research for Macromedia.
To their credit the authors are collecting these types of errors and listing them on the accompanying Web site.
I wish I had this book when I was working at a Web design firm in the '90s. It would have saved us all a lot of headaches.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2001
Very comprehensive, both in it's approach to research methods, to the examples used to illustrate ideas and concepts.
I was particularly impressed with how the authors presented user research and needs analysis, and then proceeded to translate that into a functioning design which addressed those discovered needs.
Another point that I really enjoyed was the breadth of skill sets it appealed to. They talked about the need for user profiling, which would imply cultural anthropomorphic research, and also talked about staging areas and versioning control to appeal to the techies. Not only does this serve to show the various disciplines how they interoperate, but also helps to keep the readers attention and gives everyone a sense of position in the process.
Finally, they covered most bases of design, but did it in a way that it is really done. For example, in the design section, the use of thumbnail sketches and page grid layouts are shown to illustrate how you begin to build a site. While these methods are entirely personal to the designer, they offer a method of understanding to those who have no context, and a starting point to those learning.
All in all, this is a great "road map" to building a site from A to Z. While it may not drive to the depths of any particular skill or discipline, it does a fabulous job of talking about all of them and how they interoperate to accomplish the goal of building a web site.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2001
"Web Redesign Worlkflow That Works" is every developers dream. It is the Bible of redesign. This book offers an essential step by step process of developing a web site project. It helps readers to understand how to get the clients perspective and how to deliver above and beyond what is expected in a professional and efficient manner.
How do you get content from the client? How do you budget for site tasks versus site team? How do you know a good client from a bad client? How do you understand your target audience? "Web Redesign Work Flow That Works" answers them all. Every site project has these issues and not going through every step as stated in this book could make or break a project. It's all about the user not only the company.
My company has developed many sites. I only wish I had this book as a resource in 1998 when I first founded my business. I would have saved thousands of hours and heart ache. This book is easy to follow and provides quick links to downloadable forms that help implement the site development process referred to within the book. I recommend this book to any and all involved in developing a site project. IT IS AN EXCELLENT BOOK!!!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2003
I expected a book to help me with my job as web developer for a non-profit organization that has about 100,000 webpages. We do a major web page redesign once every three years, and the last redesign was a nightmare in its lack of organization. This book was to become my roadmap.
The layout of the book was pleasing. The front cover appealed to the designers in the office and the content appealed to the developer (me). There was a nice overview of the process and definition of terms so that both new and seasoned developers (and others involved) are able to follow.
The companion website, is easy to use. I was able to download the checklists in the book, since the book didn't come with a CD. That's understandable since I'd want the most up-to-date versions of data in the book. I wish, however, that I could converse with other readers to see how they are implementing the process. It's sometimes difficult to apply business-style web books with a non-profit organization.
It's nice to see in print solutions to things that drove me insane not too long ago with the last redesign. I think this method the authors have laid out will greatly lighten the stress level for all involved. And simple things like establishing deadlines and tracking time spent is so key, but easily forgotten till too late. And it's easy to back up suggestions for a process when the authors have given such great explanations and examples.
I also liked that the expert essays about various web topics, including knowing your client before you code, web standards and branding. I've already started implementing some of the tips these guest authors included, with great success.
The production and QA section is amazingly well done. It has example check sheets instead of drowning the reader in dry theory. It's easy to quickly (the key here) adapt these sheets for real world use.
Each phase is laid out with excellent illustrations, checklists and easy to follow project plans. It's so helpful to know where the road is going before getting three miles down it and realize you have to redo it all again.
I prefer normal book size, however, since it's easier to handle and fit on my "Most Used Web Books" shelf. But, at least the binding seems to be sturdy to put up with all my use.
This book has greatly helped me begin to plan our next web redesign.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
If you think this book is about designing a site workflow, you'll be disappointed, as I was.
It's about the process of designing sites, which is still useful information. Although some of the advice is somewhat vague and generalized, they do offer questionnaire and checklist templates for download at their site. (Note that their site doesn't follow some of their own advice, especially regarding screen size and fluid layouts.)
There are some screenshots of before and after redesigns, which are helpful, but there could have been more. In the end it's mostly about outlining a process where you capture information about client and user needs, project management (costing, time tracking, etc.), and so on. It's not about smart workflow design of websites; it's about a workflow for designing websites. If this is the information you need, this book serves as a big checklist of what you should do, and also provides some useful resources, such as links to sites you will find useful as a site designer.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2001
"Web ReDesign - Workflow that Works" proved to be every bit as enjoyable, intelligent, down-to-earth, and practical as I had hoped. I have been to two Thunder Lizard Conferences, and had the opportunity to listen to Kelly Goto's presentations about usability and workflow. She was far and away my favorite speaker, with practical, common-sense approaches to tackling web site projects of varying sizes and scopes. When I heard about this book, I was very anxious to see how it would turn out.
Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler do a tremendous job on several levels with this book. For one, the book is designed very attractively, and the design makes the reading experience all the more enjoyable. There are countless visual examples of web sites (before and after studies, for example), as well as tips and articles from other leaders in the web design world, such as Jeffrey Zeldman and Jim Heid. Every chapter begins with a "What This Chapter Covers" overview and ends with a checkoff list and summary. The layout as clean and polished, making it very readable.
There are no secret, convoluted schemes presented in it -- everything is practical, makes sense, and is universal to whatever web project is at hand. The progression of information is very straightforward. The authors lay out specific phases to the project, from defining the project to going beyond the actual launch. The most valuable subject of this book for me personally concerned testing for usability. There are many suggestions and tactics for tackling this sometimes-overlooked key to a successful design.
Complemented by worksheets to an accompanying website with files and information for download/printing, the book ought to be valuable time and time again. I had very high expectations of "Web ReDesign" based on Kelly's wonderful presentations, and I was very pleased with the results. I know I could have used this book long ago, and plan on incorporating as many elements from it as I can in future projects. It's a must have for web developers and designers.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2001
This book is an excellent reference and how-to guide for anyone involved in any phase of web development. I've been involved in multimedia and web design for over 10 years, and this is the first book I've seen that covers all the angles of the process. As Vice President of Product Development for DigitalMed, I will use this book as a resource for our company's project managers. The insight on dealing with clients will be invaluable to our team as they manage custom projects for our clients in the healthcare industry. Kelly and Emily have obviously done their time in the web design world, and have amazing insights to share. Their "lessons learned" will become my team's how-to manual.
22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2003
A book printed on glazed paper in a non-standard (10 in. x 8 in.) format normally incites me to be more careful before purchasing. A rather serious browsing made the book attractive. After reading from cover to cover, I can say that Web Redesign|Workflow that Works, is a good acquisition.
This book covers in details a Project Life Cycle, called Core Process, developed and extensively used by the authors in their Web Publishing consultancy business.
The Project Life Cycle contains 5 phases:
1. Defining the Project;
2. Developing Site Structure;
3. Visual Design and Testing;
4. Production and QA;
5. Launch and Beyond.
The suggested Project Life Cycle appears to be using a Waterfall methodology with some fast tracking. No mention is made of the existence of other more recent methodologies such as the Rational Unified Process or those at the origin of the Agile Alliance such as Extreme Programming (XP).
Surprisingly, examples of project schedules are presented in a Microsoft WORD format and no other project management software are covered.
The experience Project Manager familiar with the PMBOK Guide will sometimes be puzzled as no distinction is made between project management processes and product-oriented processes and both can be intermixed and covered in the same paragraph. Once realized, this situation had no further negative impact.
There is no mention or reference to the PMBOK Guide.
This book is best for the experience Project Manager who wants to become familiar with the Web Publishing environment. The novice should first acquire basic knowledge of project management to make good use of this book. The PMBOK Guide is a very good start.
Here are a few suggestions for the second edition of Web Redesign | Workflow that Works:
1. A new chapter on Information Architecture with emphasis on project processes;
2. Summary review of Content Management Systems;
3. Integration with the PMBOK Guide;
4. Discussions on the latest project development methodologies;
Jean C. Ducharme, PMP