- Paperback: 266 pages
- Publisher: Sybex Inc (March 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 078212187X
- ISBN-13: 978-0782121872
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,961,213 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Web Pages That Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design with CDROM Paperback – March, 1998
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Unless you're abnormally gifted, the best way to learn a craft thoroughly is to learn not only its central tenets but also its pitfalls. Here, authors Vincent Flanders and Michael Willis teach you good Web design by pointing out ugly, misguided, and confusing sites--any site that fails to deliver good graphics and clear, well-focused content. As the authors show you all sorts of corporate and personal pages, they help you determine your target audience, design your site and its navigational elements and content, and solve problems concerning graphics and text. You also learn about using tables versus frames and get an introduction to hot technologies such as plug-ins, cascading style sheets, XML, databases, VRML, Java, streaming video and audio, videoconferencing, and chat. Finally, the authors address maintenance and marketing issues, teaching you how to set up an appropriate domain name, update your site, register your site with search engines and directories, and use reciprocal links and banner ads. The authors address cross-platform issues and Netscape/Microsoft incompatibility issues where appropriate. This is a full-color book, with enthusiastic, amusing writing as well as helpful screen shots and tips on Web-design software. The companion hybrid CD-ROM includes utilities for creating GIF animations, style sheets, and HTML pages and for creating, compressing, and optimizing Web graphics.
In my opinion, Flanders and Willis were brave souls to trust that their offbeat style would successfully carry over to print. Yet, it is hard to deny that the approach works. I would even be roused to say that the book is superior and far more handy than the Web site. While they basically have the same content, the book is much more user-friendly. Accessing and understanding the information is easier because it is better organized. The bottom line is that the content of the book is excellent, and the authors offbeat style makes the book enjoyable.
Judging from their cover art and photographs, you might think that the authors are morons. You would be quite wrong. They arent morons, theyre oxymorons -- they look and sound like nutty, capitalistic hippies. And thats fine. They wallow in the fact that they are Internet rebels and I greatly enjoy their bizarre style. The result of their bold approach is ridiculous but purposeful...Read more from this review--John S. Rhodes, Dr. Dobb's Journal -- Dr. Dobb's Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
These guys definitely feel that it's best to avoid "bleeding edge" techniques. They are also advocate the principle of keeping things simple. Many the sites that they think "suck" are one with an overuse of animation, strange colors, or flashy techniques. They also point out sites that may look good on one browser at one resolution but may look terrible when viewed on another -- then they show you how to avoid this problem.
It appears as though their target audience is someone that is designing a site for commercial purposes. This book was not specifically intended for the person putting together a family web page. That being said, I think that anyone that's designing for the web will learn a great deal by reading this book.
My only criticism for this book is that it probably needs to be updated. It is currently a couple of years old and some technologies have change since it was written.
MAYBE this book might be a useful resource for a person who is also purchasing an HTML book and if they have NO experience whatsover. Even if you have made 2 pages you already know everything in this book.
This book does one thing that is annoying: It blabs and blabs about all the boring unimportant stuff, and when it comes to something important like choosing colors combinationg, it gives you a link to some site and says "this is a good resource". If it is so good, why isn't it in the book????
Sure it shows you what is wrong on some pages, but most of it is common sense. What I believed this book would have is how to layout your page, what kind of colors and graphics to use and such to make your page look professional. This book doesnt do any of that. A lot of the book's content is on their website.
If you have any sense go for a different book. If there is a book out there called "BOOKS THAT SUCK", boy does this book belong in there. This is definetaly a huge dissapointment. Instead of reading this, go out and look at other websites and practice making em. You will land out far ahead.
The only instance in which this book might be OK is if you are completely new to web page design. If you have any experience this book wont help you make professional loooking pages. Look elsewhere for that.
Good design? Let's talk about good design. On the FIRST PAGE of the text, not three paragraphs into it, these guys ably demonstrate that they don't know a damn thing about design. This is a book that loooooves sidebars--sidebars with illustrations, sidebars with often poor typography, and set off in the most garish and clashing colors they can find. The first chapter opens with a sidebar--different colors, different font, different spacing from the rest of the text. Heading: "IN THIS CHAPTER." We're clearly being set up to read a three-paragraph summary of the high points of the chapter. The the sidebar ends: "the person in marketing who does" -- mid-sentence. Whuh? No "continued" blue sidebar on the facing page. No "continued" blue sidebar on the next page. Then you realize: that sidebar wasn't a sidebar at all--the sentence continues in the NEXT column, black-on-white text in a different font. It's appalling--these yahoos are presuming to lecture on "good design" and they can't get half a page into their first chapter without crashing.
Illustrations are sometimes jammed into the text at more or less appropriate points, sometimes set off in more infamous sidebars, color-coded like the last example to tell the reader that they're not part of the main text (although they are), and sometimes hanging half-on, half-off a colored border for no evident reason at all.
The text lurches madly from color to color, font to font, layout style to layout style, with no rhyme, reason or underlying logic (this is especially ironic when they're talking about site design and layout, and the need for consistency). There are even grammatical flubs.
And, again, that would be OK if the text itself were well-written, well-organized, and packed with useful information. Sadly, none of this is really true. The text is flabby, rambling, poorly put together, and full mostly of "I like this," or "This sucks," and more smug narcissism than is to be found at the Academy Awards. There are good pointers here--if you dig for them, if you fight your way through to them--but isn't the point of good design supposed to be that you don't have to dig or fight to get to the good stuff?
...And even that might be okay, if the fluffy, cutesy stuff were actually entertaining. Listen: "If there are two people who aren't boring, it's me...and my co-author...If you're one of the millions of visitors to the original Web Pages That Suck.com site, you'll know that humor played an important part in its success. [It] is about education and entertainment, or, as we call it, 'edutainment.' People learn best when they're enjoying the process, and humor is a great tool toward this end. We're using humor in this book for the same reason." No matter how cool this guy thinks he is, I'll wager that no one who ever wrote such a manifesto on being funny has the faintest grasp of what humor is or how to apply it.
Anything this book wants to do has been done elsewhere, and much better (and without two overweight web designers appearing in Elvis suits open to the navel). Save your money.
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