Top critical review
84 people found this helpful
Decent for beginners but some incorrect info, and author's own sites are lacking
on April 30, 2011
I am a web designer who has done work for Fortune 1000, non-profs, and govt, but I have little experience with small e-commerce sites, so I thought this book might be helpful.
This book is written at a *very* basic level, a small step up from explaining what a website or search engine is. Much of it is common sense, but there are some pretty good points that not everyone will know. So on that level, I think its good for beginners who have no experience with web development or even how to run a business.
What concerned me was that because the author is not actually in the field of web development, he seems to just "improvise" some info. This book contains some incorrect information and there are some issues with the author's own websites.
-The author's websites should be models of well designed e-commerce sites. They are "fine" and functional, but there are some design and usability issues. forcopywritersonly.com does not look professionally designed, has some basic usability issues such as lack of breadcrumbs, nav states not staying on at the tertiary level, an inconsistent use of text links and button links, blog missing most common blog functionality, use of the word "click here" which is seen as a big faux pas in the industry, etc. I just showed my girlfriend forgraphicdesignersonly.com (his second site), and told her the guy on the homepage says he is a graphic designer. Her response was, "Are you f-ing kidding me?" It doesnt look professional at all despite the author saying he is a "Registered Graphic Designer" (NEVER heard of such a thing).
-He defines terms he says are common in the industry that just arent. "Beta site" is a not a demo site used by designers, it is a site used for web applications before they are done. I have never heard a designer use that term. We might call them staging sites or testing sites. We don't use the term "masthead". The author must be thinking of magazines. We call them headers or banners. On page 105, he says, "This is tricky because most internet web browsers, like Foxfire.." The author must be thinking of Firefox. Typo perhaps, but at the level this book is written, one assumes the readers havent heard of these different web browsers.
-He mentions applications or services that are not common or forgets some common ones. For example, he says Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression are "used by most professional designers". Dreamweaver, yes. The second I have never seen used ever (and I have worked lots of places). When he mentions email marketing software, he forgets the number one most popular, MagnetMail (and yes, it was big at time of publication too).
-When talking about web development, he only talks about web design, the word information architecture never appears and that is a big part of it too.
-His lists of websites to consult or applications to use that exist throughout the book are deceptively long. Usually the first couple are commonly used and the next 12 or seem to be just the result of the author doing a web search and entering the results into his book w/o actually knowing anything about them.
Anyway, again, I wouldnt completely discount this book because it has some pointers on promoting your business and such, but there have to be other books out there written by professionals in the industry (people who work at reputable web development or PR firms) who really know what they are talking about.