Flanders was a webmaster for Lightspeed Net until 1997, having previously completed a degree focusing on the classical Greeks, where he appreciated the Greek ideas of moderation, proportion and beauty, which he feels can be applied to web design. He also taught HTML to various businesses, designing a website demonstrating bad design, so that his pupils would not repeat the same mistakes. This was so poplar it was converted to a book, with Willis, a designer. The book is still hugely popular, and is well illustrated with exemplars from both real companies (they stress they are not critical of the companies, just their site design) and sites created to demonstrate particular points.
A humorous approach to the writing has been taken, and the book is easy and fun to read, whilst being educational, with an unpretentious, to-the-point, style. They constantly stress the need to think before doing anything on the site, and are in favour of using what is needed to convey the message to the audience, rather than using all the technology available to web designers. Flanders & Willis define three purposes for sites, although the book is largely focused on making sales, establishing trust through a professional looking site, and getting the user to part with money. They emphasise the importance of a well structured site, with easy to find information, with the homepage particularly important as first impressions count. They deal with optimising download time, paying particular attention to graphics, on producing ‘sticky’ and communicative content, and on marketing and maintaining the site once the initial site is complete. A website accompanies this book. (January 2002)
See also Son of Web Pages That Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design (April 2002).