Review: Head First Web Design

A review of Head First Web Design from O’Reilly. More . . .

by Web Teacher
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★★★★ Head First Web Design by Ethan Watrall and Jeff Siarto is from O’Reilly (2008). This book is not a basic HTML/CSS book, but is rather a look at all the processes and procedures that are involved in building a web site. The book starts with sketching designs on paper and works through wireframing, finding a visual metaphor, clear organization and navigation, design concepts like the Golden Ratio and the rule of thirds, color palettes, scannable writing techniques, accessibility, usability, jQuery libraries, blogs, business tools, and even advice on how to create a bid on a job and license your work.

It’s the everything but HTML/CSS/scripting part of the job of web design.

In general, the book is sound and delivers good information based on best practices. I was disappointed with the accessibility section. The book only discussed alt text, tabindex and longdesc. The usability suggestions were a little on the usability-lite side, too. That said, for someone new to web design, there’s a lot of good information in this book that could help you launch yourself into the field.

With any Head First book, readers need to be warned that a Head First book is not your standard technical book. It uses an approach based on educational theory and brain research that results in a barrage of visual images, surprising ways of presenting information and unique Head First style exercises designed to help you learn and retain the information. Some people react to Head First books with enthusiasm and say it’s exactly what they needed. Others regard the approach as a bit silly. Only you can judge how you will feel about the way the books are written, so take a look inside before you buy.

Summary: A good examination of the process and work flow needed in designing sites.

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