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The Smashing Book Paperback – 2009
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I think at times it gets a little too technical and stuck in the weeds and details, but overall the chapters cover a variety of interesting topics that get you thinking about user interface.
Unfortunately, with delays upon delays, I did not receive the book until a week before Christmas of 2009. A total of 3 month delay. By the time the book arrived, there was definitely excitement to rip the book open to read. However, the production of the book was not great.
The binding is poorly constructed, the book dimensions were small and the text and readability was difficult. Other reviewers said that the book fell apart upon arrival so I read mines real carefully.
You would think as a magazine focused on design, they'd have some sort of standard or QA to make sure the book came out okay in publication. Not the case.
As for the content, its all quality stuff. Great tips, great articles and everything you'd want in a book focused on web design. It doesn't go in depth on any particular technologies or offer any skill building techniques but this isn't a manual.
This book is a great reference to open your ideas. It covers many subjects from considerations in design layout, usage of color, typography, and website optimization for performance and content building. Most articles may have been covered online already but I like the whole collective in a book.
Based on content subject matter, it does its job giving out great tips and references. Based on build quality, it is below average. I give it a 3 star rating overall.
If the book was made larger with better readability as well as color samples, perhaps hardcover, then it would definitely have a higher rating. Here's to hoping another book will be published with much more detailed information!
I wasn't disappointed. It's a must have reference for web developers and web designers. It covers fundamental concepts from UI design, layout to typography and color theory besides delivering some great insight on how to run and improve your development practices, branding and marketing. Some chapters have a brilliant approach to subject, e.g. The Art and Science of CSS layouts, and Typography: Rules, Guidelines and Common Mistakes are, in terms of content and depth, excellent, but still, all in all you'll get one of the best guidelines one can have. It's full of real examples, followed in some cases with markup to help understand better how to achieve what's being explained.
The only negative point I found was the tough binder that makes it hard to open and read.
With the ebook version that problem is obviously solved. It brings the same great quality from the original print with some text and picture rearrangements.
The ebook comes in handy when you need to have a quick look at the content while working at your computer, or to have a reference book available at all times, and its price is low. This ebook is actually a bundle and has an epub, mobi and .pdf version of the Smashing Book. The only problem I can think of is that the "Ultimate Guide to Fantastic Color Usage" chapter won't work on the kindle, which is just showing just black and white.
My only negative aspect of the book, as another has said, is the binding. It's as if the inside page margins are too close to the binding, requiring you to open it almost beyond normal, in order to read it. The binding itself seems somewhat cheap, but it still seems to keep the book together.
Nonetheless, don't let this deter you from reading what is really an excellent book on web design.
The book is very well written and thoroughly covers critical areas required for web design best practices. While at times it seems to be intended for beginner audiences, in some areas it seems to be addressing concepts suited to more advanced designers. Nevertheless, this book is sure to become an indispensable addition to web designers serious enough about their craft.
An now, for the big proverbial "Thumbs Down" part of the book: The authors of this book decided to use a non-serif font for the body! This is a bad practice for large blocks of text, which is what serif fonts were intended for. This makes it a bit hard to read over a long sitting. Had the authors realized that typography for the web does not necessarily translate well for print, I would have gladly given this book 5 stars.
Looking forward to the second edition, complete with serif fonts for text blocks, and a ISBN number.