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The potential to vastly improve everyone's online experience,
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This review is from: Submit Now: Designing Persuasive Web Sites (Paperback)I've been involved in Website design and implementation since 1996. I don't claim to be the top designer, but the success of my sites gives me enough stature to comment on a book like this. First, the downside of this book: It was published in 2003. Consequently, some of the references and information in it are a bit dated. But when you understand the points Chak makes in this book--that doesn't matter. The upside of this book is quite substantial.
When I began reading this, I figured it would be smart to keep a notepad next to the book because I'd probably pick up a pointer or two. I ended up with copious notes and several things to follow up on.
I've read umpteen books, newsletters, articles, and e-mails about Website design. Many of them propose the "right" way to implement a site. That way is "right" because it's the way that particular author does it. Fortunately, Chak stays above the fray, not even venturing into that territory. Instead, he focuses on the theme of getting your Website's visitors to do what you want them to do.
Most "how to do a Website" authors seem to forget why anyone has a Website in the first place--they get lost in the glitzy stuff and forget the site visitor. Chak stays keenly aware of the visitor throughout the entire book. In fact, five of the eight chapters are about Website visitors.
If you have a Website for any reason other than self-stroking your ego, then Chak's book is a "must read." Each chapter provides a solid explanation of key concepts for going beyond simple usability. That's where you want to go. You want to convert visitors into customers.
Chak isn't yet another Web designer who can sling a line of BS and then call it a book. He's a Web designer who has worked for major clients and has amassed the expertise that comes from that experience. He's also a solid researcher, and you can see this in his real-world examples. Add to this the fact that he's a great writer who communicates clearly and you have all the ingredients for an excellent book on Web design. After you read this book, you'll see why Chak is also in demand as a speaker at Web conferences.
This book has the potential to vastly improve the online experience for everybody. The trick to making that happen is to get all Webmasters to buy a copy, read it carefully, and implement what they learned. We can always hope....
A note on style and composition: Form is important, as it dictates readability. Fortunately, this book actually uses Standard Written English (SWE). In an age where most "authors" seem oblivious to basic writing, this book stands out as one where the author actually cares about communicating to the reader. Given the subject matter, Chak's consideration for the reader is a crucial plus.