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The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better Paperback – January 18, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
The author starts off with 'bad' examples that admittedly have been made on many websites, but are really to obvious to put in a book of which the author is claimed to have 'inimitable wisdom' (back cover).
Then, towards the end, more examples of 'good' design are given, and most of these did not impress me at all. At some point I even got the feeling this was some sort of brochure (given its size, you can hardly call it a book) written to advertise the websites of Godin's friends and clients.
The enormous amount of research the author must have done is nicely summarized in this quote from page 105: 'Find the sites on the web that are working and copy their organization.'
If you're looking for a good book on this subject, look up Steve Krug or Jakob Nielsen.
Two quick equally brief observations:
1. Mr. Godin has a wealth of direct marketing knowledge using both online and more traditional techniques. Both the reader and the writer would be better served if there was more substance in this book. A terribly quick read, this book misses the opportunity to tell more.
That said, the Internet is the greatest direct marketing medium ever, but that ain't all it is. While the direct marketer in me understands the need for the banana, sometimes the site needs to do something other than sell. Some of these sites and emails look much better as informational programs than they do as sales pitches.
2. How could Adobe take its ubiquitous, powerful and intuitive Adobe Reader product and mangle it into this "eBook Reader?" Ugh! We'd all be better off with a standard PDF version of this book (like "Unleashing the IdeaVirus). I'd pay more than the three bucks for a truly readable copy.
Here's how the book breaks down. There are a total of 111 pages. There are 46 mini-critiques which are comprised of one page with a single B&W screenshot of a webpage or email and a facing page explaining what you're looking at. These pages are usually only about 3 - 4 paragraphs (half the page). Of the 46 mini-critiques, 7 are about emails. This leaves 39 mini-critiques about actual websites.
I think that for the money we should have had at least a few of the screenshots in color, particularly the one where Seth tells us that the buttons are the wrong color, but doesn't mention what color they are. We don't know, we're looking at a B&W picture.
There are only about 13 unique insights. So each insight is repeated an average of 3 times. In the book Seth himself says, "Redundancy is often the enemy of a great web experience". Well, ditto for the book experience.
The first web site listed on Seth's recommended site list is the book's. You'll find that the only content on the web site is directed toward selling you the book that you're already holding. There are no extra web site critiques or examples. What's the point? As Seth himself would say, "Where's the banana?"
Godin uses a number of different real-world Web sites to illustrate what is and is not effective; he also explains why. (Presumably many of those responsible for the ineffective Web sites have read this book and made the necessary revisions since it first appeared about 18 months ago.) One of the book's most interesting points concerns the quite different mentalities of the engineer and the marketer. The former assumes that smart people have plenty of time, know precisely what they want from their online surfing, and can make a considered decision if provided with sufficient data. In stunning contrast, the marketer assumes that people are busy, ill informed, impatient, not very thoughtful and eager to click on to something RIGHT NOW.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Classic. Need to read if youlan on having a website for your business or brand.Published 10 months ago by Michelle Schoenberger
The technological examples in this book are outdated, but the theory behind the examples are not. Seth is a guru.Published on March 8, 2014 by Brande A.
Great small book about the basics of any website and what to look for, from a search engines and online visitors perspective.Published on December 25, 2013 by SEO Expert Dagmar Gatell
Among all of the fancy techno literature on web sites, this book in its simplicity is brilliant and focuss on the only thing that really matters when it comes to web sites -- what... Read morePublished on September 2, 2013 by Zev Asch
I am writing this in 2013... so this book is a bit dated, but for what it's worth, although this book is a bit dated, it's still a good read. Read morePublished on May 5, 2013 by Joe Crescenzi
This book runs a little over 100 pages. The left hand page is a screen shot from a website. The right hand page is the commentary. Read morePublished on February 8, 2012 by MLSchoenfeld
"The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better" by Seth Godin is a book that can be read very quickly, yet it has a lot of useful information in it.Published on September 30, 2011 by Chad Thiele