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Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits the sweet spot for anyone designing Web sites, June 12, 2003
This review is from: Return on Design: Smarter Web Design That Works (Paperback)
This book distills the best practices for designing Web sites to meet agreed-on goals. This book gives readers guidance on how to make high-level decisions needed to achieve a successful Web design or redesign. It gives 7 steps to be done in order to define a site and implement the design.
The author compares Web design with other design projects, such as software design. People think of Web site design as artistic and creative, but imagine if a software company assigned a team to create an application with no precise guidelines early on, no feedback along the way. There's no way the finished product will meet any vaguely-defined objectives. The author convincingly demonstrates that there are repeatable steps that are essential for Web design also.
The book is filled with practical, hard-won advice undoubtedly won over many projects for many types of organizations. There are anecdotes that will help you spot "red flags" and myriad questions to ask at each phase and ways of gleaning what needs to change for redesigning a site and forms and wireframe examples and techniques on how to test and refine a design. There was an interesting story about how the author found what was most lacking to a site's users. This information could have been available to anyone who knew how to find out what users really thought, but was obviously not recognized by the company! It's no wonder that web sites during the 1998 - 2000 era so often failed.
There are no snippets of HTML, nor recommendations on fonts or styles, but this book thankfully does not try to introduce the topic of what is a JPG, etc. Too many books try to leave no child behind, thus diluting their amount of useful info. The amount of wisdom per page is substantial.
Most of all, the author stays focused on the USER and how to see things from their point-of-view. She defines different types of users, even sometimes giving a persona a name, age, occupation and reason for using the site. Lots of organization decisions become clear when you realize typical things a user would want to do or search for. Her commitment to users comes through in her writing. The appendix lists some additional books of interest, and the author's "I welcome user suggestions" rings sincere.
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Location: Bellevue, WA USA

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