Web Design: The Complete Reference

"A Well-Written and Comprehensive Book"

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type of book
Title: Web Design: The Complete Reference
Author: Thomas A. Bowel
Publisher: Observe/McGraw-Hill
Publication Date: 2000
Pages: 872
ISBN: 0-07-212297-8
Price: $39.99
Web Design: The Complete Reference will help you learn to design, build, and maintain a site and handle e-commerce and security. The book puts the author, Thomas Bowel, an experienced web designer at your disposal. He developed the Web Design Certificate Program at the University of California, San Diego, and he knows his stuff. This book offers expert information on virtually every issue you're likely to encounter: from navigation to usability, page layouts to color, and site management to technology. The author includes numerous tips and rules that you've probably not read in other books. The book includes comprehensive rules for making sure you don't use imprecise HTML; a view of the performance of server-and client-side code; techniques for simplifying content management as your site grows; an overview of optimizing your site for search engines; guidelines for creating your own internal site search feature; intelligent guidelines for using text, links, images, tables, and frames; detailed techniques for using GUI features such as windows, forms, and drop-down boxes; and code for some great tricks, such as custom JavaScript error dialog boxes. Web Design: The Complete Reference contains two appendices that are excellent: a set of 200+ rules and suggestions for effective web design; and a 60-page, comprehensive methodology for evaluating existing sites.
user level
Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Web designers. This guide is great for any level and offers a solid explanation and great examples for creating a simple or advanced web site. The text assumes that you are fairly fluent in core HTML technologies like HTML and CSS, have passing familiarity with JavaScript, and can use basic graphics-manipulation tools. For readers who are not, the author suggests reading his companion book, HTML: The Complete Reference, Second Edition. (Click on the link to see our review of the book.)

Part I: Core Web Design Issues

Chapter 1:What Is Web Design
This chapter covers: the Web design pyramid; building Web sites; building for users; from paper to software; the Web's GUI heritage; content focus; looks matter; the form and function balance; what is good Web design; in search of Web design; and what you see is what you want.

Chapter 2: The Web Design Process
This chapter covers: the need for process; ad hoc Web process; approaching a Web site project; goals and problems; audience; requirements; the site plan; design phase dissected; beta site implementation; testing; release and beyond; and welcome to the real world.

Chapter 3: Designing for Users
This chapter covers: usability; who are Web users; common user characteristics; memory; response and reaction times; dealing with stimulus; movement capabilities; the user's world; general types of users; Web conventions; accessibility; building a usable site; and usability above all else.

Part II: Site Organization and Navigation

Chapter 4: Site Types and Architectures
This chapter covers: general Web site types; dynamic sites; site structure; users and site structures; deep vs. shallow sites; specific types of Web sites; and picking a site structure.

Chapter 5: Navigation Theory and Practice
This chapter covers: navigation; where am I (location on the Web); where can I go; placing navigation; consistency of navigation; navigation and scrolling; navigation and mouse travel; frames; subwindows; and bookmarking.

Chapter 6: Linking: Text, Buttons, Icons, and Graphics
This chapter covers: the basic Web linking model; a taxonomy of link forms; link implementation issues; using scope notes; keyboard support for links; advanced Web linking models; and link maintenance.

Chapter 7: Search and Design
This chapter covers: Webwide search; Web searching overview; how users search; how search engines work; search-engine promotion; optimizing for search engines; the need for local search; the process of adding a search facility; designing the search interface; advanced search-form design; and result-page design.

Chapter 8: Site Maps, Indexes, and Other Navigational and Use Aids
This chapter covers: more than searching; site maps; designing site maps; showing scope and destination choices; producing site maps; the benefit of "geographical" navigation; site indexes; tours; help systems; glossary; and what's new sections.

Part III: Elements of Page Design

Chapter 9: Page Types and Layouts
This chapter covers: page sites; page margins; page types; entrance pages; exit pages; Web design schools; layout examples; and the road to common site looks.

Chapter 10: Text
This chapter covers: medium matters; typography terminology 101; fonts; setting fonts in Web pages; using downloadable fonts; text layout; setting type hierarchy; formatting tables; details of special-character consideration; fancy text layouts; text-design issues for the Web; always consider the medium of consumption; and writing for the Web.

Chapter 11: Colors, Images, and Backgrounds
This chapter covers: color basics; colors on the Web; color and usability; images; and background images.

Chapter 12: Building Interactivity Using GUI Features
This chapter covers: Web sites and traditional GUIs; GUI design implications; creating windows; full-screen windows; subwindows; forms; password fields; pull-down menus; scrolled lists; push buttons; usable forms; form validation; advanced Web GUI features; and when Web applications are just applications.

Part IV: Technology and Web Design

Chapter 13: Web Technologies and Their Effect on Web Design
This chapter covers: Web technology problems; browsers; HTML; HTML has rules; HTML for presentation; CSS; authoring HTML/CSS pages; XML; programming and Web design; server-side programming; client-side programming; JavaScript; cookies; multimedia in Web design; animation; sound; and video.

Chapter 14: Site Delivery and Management
This chapter covers: the importance of delivery; Web protocols; domain name service; Web servers; outsourcing Web hosting; managing Web servers; content management; usage analysis; privacy; and content concerns.

Part V: Future Directions

Chapter 15: The Future of Web Design
This chapter covers: the near future; rise of broadband; effects of community; content overload issues; and the Web lifestyle.

Part VI: Appendixes

Appendix A: Core Web Site Design Principles
Appendix B: Sample Site-Evaluation Procedure
Appendix C: Fonts
Appendix D: Color Reference

personal comments
Web Design: The Complete Reference has a plethora of pictures, diagrams, tables, charts and most importantly coding examples making sure you understand the concepts completely. I was impressed by the amount of information included in the books and also by the accuracy and detail of the information. It covers almost every basic aspects of modern web building without getting into very complicated explanations. It is a combination of design theory and detailed information on implementation. This book gives you knowledge on how to build Web sites, plus a thorough overview of all of the intricacies and pitfalls of coding for the Web. You really do gain a thorough understanding of Web-site planning, design theory, and real-world development practices. Furthermore you get in-depth information on site architecture, usability, navigation, and page layout. Also it includes full details on site development tools and technologies and site hosting services. This is a great book for any serious Web designer.
Graphics: Adobe Photoshop 5.5& Extensis PhotoGraphics 1.0
Web Page Editor: Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0
Scanner: Hewlett Packard ScanJet 6250C Professional Series