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on July 1, 2000
There's a lot to love about this book. It profiles a good selection of web sites, all in full color. Some design books feature sites that are so unusual, it's hard to apply them to your daily work, but this book focuses on business sites that make excellent examples.
The text covers all aspects of web design, including site conception, HTML, animation, producing large sites, site promotion, business practices, etc. Most of the chapters are interesting to read, and I found useful tips even in areas I thought I knew thoroughly.
The book does have its faults though. While the chapters on HTML topics are very well done, the ones on Dynamic HTML, Cascading Style Sheets and Javascript are disappointing. They provide only a very basic introduction, and lack innovative examples. The remaining chapters also vary in their quality. These weak chapters make a 4 star book out of what could have been a 5 star one.
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This book presents analysis and how-did-they-do-that descriptions of numerous aspects of Web page design and production. The first two chapters covering general design issues and navigation are exceptionally good and should be read by anyone who makes Web pages. These chapters stress the overall need for usability and speed and discuss why sites that don't take their audience into consideration are unsuccessful. The remaining chapters are each geared to specific aspects of Web design that may be of interest to graphic artists designing for the Web; they cover such topics as Web graphics, fonts, animation, multimedia, and 3D worlds. In fact, some of the chapters are so specific that they may not be comprehensible to readers who don't work with Adobe Photoshop every day. The book includes a CD that has interactive examples and demo software for some of the design products mentioned in the book.
While the overall quality of the book is quite good, the technical chapters on HTML and JavaScript are rather weak- -new users of either of these languages won't find these sections very illuminating, and experienced users won't find many new tips either (the example figures showing HTML code are barely legible). The chapter on Web type starts off by considering usability issues, but soon turns to snazzy ways to make an artistic point, seemingly forgetting the needs of users (as well as search engines, which read only real text, not animated gifs or Shockwave). The book is definitely geared towards graphic artists, almost assuming that the readers are working on high-end Macintosh computers. Certainly, any graphic artist designing for the Web will find tremendous value in this book, as well as general readers interested in Web design.
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on February 19, 1999
This book is a collection of articles by some very successful web developers. They share a lot of good information.
If you're fooling around with a WYSIWYG editor like FrontPage or DreamWeaver and want to know how to cross over to professional layout design, you'll really enjoy this book.
This book isn't for someone just getting into web development, it focuses mostly on the layout aspects, and designs. Every page is full of color photo examples, and bios + development tool list are given for each of the 14 article authors.
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on September 7, 2003
If you want a book to put on your coffee table that will tell people that you know absolutely nothing about web design then look no further. I bought this book from Amazon and it is one of the worst books I have ordered. Yes, there are lots of full color pictures of websites... so what? I can go on line and see web sites... Where is the in depth design analysis? Not to be found here. Besides most of the sites it exhibits are static 'home page' style sites. Not one of these is a high-volume commerce site - these 'home page' sites are the kind of sites that don't even require an analysis of design past a few minuets to think up what you want to display and how you want to put it on the page - which is all the book talks about from a most puerile point of view. It was a while back when I bought the book so I actually feel very guilty for not posting this review sooner to help dissuade some of you from making a bad purchase, sorry!
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on October 22, 1998
Web Design Studio Secrets is an excellent addition to the resource library of anyone interested in web site development. The book covers a broad range of material with interesting real life examples and features drawn from the experiences of web designers who are in the trenches. The description are detailed and useful, both in explaining specific techniques and opening the door to a better understanding of the tools and skills of the creative web developer. The book also serves as a good bridge between the creation of the graphic and media content of a web site and the programmer techniques necessary to bring the content to the web browser. With copious screen shots and code examples, the book demonstrates vividly many of the concepts that are explored in the philosophy of the well-made web site. The explanations, although detailed and technical, are easy to follow and understand. Any web software user will find doors opening to new ideas and improved understanding about fonts, layout, tables, javascript, animation, management and other elements of web site construction. The book also looks at some of the more esoteric aspects of the web with chapters on VRML, online imaging and web channels. Someone in the day-to-day production of commercial web sites can easily lose sight of the breath-taking levels of creativity and ingenuity that can be aspired to as they struggle with browser incompatibilities and network bandwidth bottlenecks. This book reminds its readers of the idea that the web is not just a way of communicating but also contains the possiblities of a new and unique artistic medium. In the preface, web design is compared to the game of chess. For players, the study of the recorded games of the Grandmasters is an infinite source of ideas and inspiration that can be built upon in play. The study of the web design pioneers in this book can yield the same fruitful leaps of expression and imagination.
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on June 7, 2000
PRIOR EXPERIENCE REQUIRED, NOT FOR BEGINNERS Being a coder(living in a beige world,) I was looking for a book that would help me change my first two web sites to look more professional. I have looked at several books that claimed they would be the answer to my needs, only to return them after a very brief review (My thanks to amazon for being understanding on this subject).
I don't claim that this book will fill that void, but it does provides all of us coders and faded designers a different perspective, a designers perspective of web site development. This book provides countless snippets of code to support those web sites being featured in each chapter. The designers explain what their goals were for each web site, why they did a particular feature, and in many cases some lessons learned during there development. All of these designers are worth reading. There perspectives on development provided fresh ideas to achieve my goals of creating professional looking web sites. My only complaint is the same complaint I have with all computer books, the cost.
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on August 6, 1999
This book is a compilation of "real-world" techniques of a dozen "real-world" web designers. I think all the folks interviewed (that's right, the two "authors" are really just editors/interviewers) are very talented, but the information they give leaves one thinking whether they really divulged any trade secrets.
The book describes a lot of web-layout and design techniques, but unfortunately many techniques do not go deep enough. For example, I bought the book to learn intricate table layouts, but the chapter on tables just rehashes what every non-beginner web designer already knows and does. How about information on how table elements interact as well as things like merging cells and spliting cells, which can be very, very tricky to handle?
Overall this can be a useful reference.
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on March 20, 2001
This book is worth the reading for anyone in the industry as it keeps you focused on what's important, the user. Books that give accounts by other designers are more desirable than those by a single author attempting to "spew" his or her view of "what is proper web design."
Though I thought the accompanying CD was rather weak, I appreciated being able to see the visual aspects of how the designers put the sites together, as well as reading their thoughts on it.
There's a good variety of topics covered, though some of the more technical ones may have been disserviced by the lack of space to adequately delve into the specifics.
In all, it's worth it for any designer to have in his or her library.
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on February 10, 2000
I used this book to do things on a web page that I never had even thought of doing. I have a rotating object done with an animated GIF. They recommended a more complex method, but I did it simple and without a quicktime plugin. Also I updated my javascript based on one chapter, to ensure that what works on NS, will not die on IE. I also discovered how to stretch the center of a page and keep a constantly sized margin. On the whole the book has some great ideas. Use it as an ideas book, rather than a training manual!
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on July 8, 2000
A-yuh. Not much new in this one but it makes a nice coffee table book. The price is awe-inspiring considering the content is pedestrian and available in most beginner-to-intermediate web design books you probably already own but have never bothered to finish reading. Not recommended unless you don't have any books on this subject, in which case I would recommend for starters "Web Design in a Nutshell : A Desktop Quick Reference" by Jennifer Niederst. And if you really need pretty pictures, you can find them all live on the web.
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