The Non Designers Web BookWilliams, Robin & Tollett, John, The Non-Designer’s Web BookPeachpit, 2000

This book is now in its second edition, written by a pair from a graphic design background, who love to use Macintosh computers, and with a slightly wacky sense of fun. It is very good as a basic introduction to the Internet, how it works, and how to search it. The basics of making a site and what to consider before starting on the site itself, such as defining the audience and site goals, are considered in the initial chapters. There is a lot of practical information in the book, particularly with regard to preparing and optimising graphics for the web.

Tips are given for those who have never been involved in design, for instance, text alignment, page balance, etc., although they stress that designers have to let go of total control over the appearance of the site. Key areas of good and bad design are defined, the importance of a clear site ‘personality’, and the danger of a poor site is noted. The use of colour is discussed, they note that you can get involved in colour theory and psychology, but basically use your own judgment as to what looks good.

Aesthetic considerations are considered very important, but so are other elements, such as the organisation of materials within a site, navigation, and naming conventions. Differences between print and web media are considered, particularly download times, with the web considered cheaper, easier to update (an essential part of web design), and more interactive. Multimedia is considered as an option, but having a clean, attractive design and good information makes for a good site: simplicity is the key. Users can learn from other sites, although they must take care not to plagiarise.

The book also considers how to test the site, both technically, and for users, how to upload the site, and how to market the site once the initial site is complete. (January 2002)

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