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Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability (Computing) [Paperback]

Luke Wroblewski
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

8 Aug 2002 Computing
Although Web usability has received lots of hype, especially during the dot–com meltdown, the focus has been mostly on technical issues. Usability experts stress the pitfalls of frames and too many images on Web pages. They recommend editing out unnecessary words and writing in a non–linear style–all valuable advice, of course. But less frequently do they highlight the importance of the visual presentation of Web pages. The Web is a communication medium that does most of its talking visually. What you see on a Web page tells you what you might find within the site, how to get there, and why it might interest you–not to mention the instinctive emotional response that shapes your Web experience. As a result, Web usability issues are communication issues. Easy–to–use sites are those that communicate quickly and effectively. Site–Seeing takes a fresh approach to Web usability by applying visual communication principles and decision–making to Web design. Specifically, readers will learn the key concepts behind visual organization, look and feel, technical considerations, and clear planning that stem from audience awareness. Through numerous, full–color examples author Luke Wroblewski deconstructs "the good, the bad, and the ugly" of Web design. The visual presentation of a site does more than merely making it pretty. It organizes information according to function. It creates distinct and appropriate personalities. It provides emotional impact and attachment. In short, it engages the audience–and keeps them coming back.


Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (8 Aug 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764536745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764536748
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 20 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 596,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

" a carefully considered text if you are involved in designing a website this is one of the books you should consider reading before you start " (Cvu, October 2002)

From the Back Cover

"Usability" has become the watchword of contemporary Web design, and with good reason. But until now, books on Web usability have focused chiefly on response times, compatibility, and other technical matters, providing only limited guidance on design issues. This book takes Web usability a step further–and shows how good visual design can make a site not just usable, but user–friendly. Using hundreds of real–world Web examples, interface expert Luke Wroblewski explains how to enhance usability by applying the principles of visual communications to site design. Good visual design, he demonstrates, can make a site′s organization crystal clear–and convey its personality or "attitude" in an instant. Offering lots of specific design recommendations for text, links, images, navigation, forms, home pages, dynamic content, and Web services, Site–Seeing delivers the insights and advice you need to boost a site′s visual appeal–and take Web usability to the next level. ∗ Learn how colors, type, photos, and more work together to give each site a distinct personality ∗ Create Web sites that are both practical and charged with emotion ∗ Discover how visual organization can clarify Web site elements and simplify interactions

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The Web is a means to communicate, and whenever you're communicating, you need to know what you're saying, to whom, and how. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A review of site seeing 13 Dec 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I think this book is a very good look at the communication aspect of web design. It does not focus on the technical aspects of HTML, Flash asp etc, but instead looks at the actual design of the sites and how particular design considerations alter your perspective of a particular site. It is a well written and easy to read book.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good info, could be condensed 21 Mar 2003
By KPineo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book lays a good foundation for web design by emphasizing planning, meeting clients' goals, and understanding the target audience. Wroblewski emphasizes usability when describing the core of the site- structure, navigation, content- and how it will affect the experience of the audience. He uses numerous examples to illustrate layout, visual heirarchy, color schemes, and how they work together (or don't!) to communicate quickly and effectively to the site visitor.
I got frustrated about the amount of fluff surrounding actual information. He makes plenty of good points and then buries them beneath a barrage of condescending, long-winded metaphors, like the way we can read a map and know that blue represents water. The analogy itself could be helpful, but three paragraphs to explain the analogy is just distracting.
I'm glad I read it... it opened my eyes to many challenges that web designers face, and inspired me to infuse life and personality into my own site. I'm also glad I highlighted the meaningful parts so I (or friends who borrow it) can skip past the fluff in the future.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visual & "wordy" is what makes this book great! 26 July 2003
By "spira333" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a fan of Site-Seeing, I must respond to a few of the reviews asserting that the author should have condensed certain material in the book. For me, the many visual examples and the great, detailed explanations (one reviewer suggested "wordy") are exactly what makes this book so useful. Rather than just skimming over important design concepts, the author actually takes the time to properly explain these important principles and illustrate them with examples. In my opinion, many other web design books use only words, whereas in this book, you can actually see and understand what the author is talking about. This is very important to me, as a visual learner. That is just one reason why this book is still on my desk.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Usability - Physician Heal Thyself 21 July 2008
By D. W. Larson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
To be fair about this, I am not judging the content of the book, but the format of the book is horrific. The author presents concepts for implementing usable web design through a book that seems to ignor hundreds of years of proven usability principles for the printed word. Interesting design, or even attractive design, is not always usable design.

The book looks like an undergraduate graphic design project - and not a successful one at that. While the author may have many good things to say, communication of those points gets lost in the design. His credibility for what he has to say also gets lost, because of the way he presents his information. I purchased this book for about $6 (used), that's a fair price for an example of what not to do. If you want to gain a solid understanding of basic usability principles, start with Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think".
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Making Sense out of Clutter 29 Aug 2002
By Joseph Sjoblom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The publication of this book is quite timely as websites today are in my opinion too cluttered and it is mind boggling to go through most web pages. Most people (myself included) simply scan such web pages quickly. Visual cues and relationships are the key making sense of these pages. Therefore, I think it is a great idea to teach website developers usability issues from the visual perspective. Which is exactly what Site Seeing does with lots of examples and many many great tips on how to design navigation, home pages, web applications, and more. Wonderful book.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Combination of Web and Design Knowledge 3 Oct 2002
By Lisa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Luke Wroblewski, in his book Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability, offers an interesting and, in my view, much needed perspective on the topic of web design. In Section One, he starts at the very beginning, explaining what is basically the design process every designer learns in school. This includes such things as researching your client, documenting your process, generating a mission statement or goal for the website, organizing content and developing an effective navigation system---things that should be thought through before ever firing up the html editor. This information is invaluable for anyone approaching a web design project because it reduces the chance for major revisions further into a project and makes it easier for a designer to do his or her best creative work.
Section Two gets more focused, describing the peculiarities of communicating via the web. I found particularly gratifying the suggestion to not "break the web model"---the established idiom of the web including the back button, bookmarks, history, etc. This is not a follow your bliss kind of web design book. It is a carefully thought through guide for what works and what does not work for effective communication on the web. The author also focuses here on the importance of getting and maintaining quality content for your website and how to make content dominant through visual organization and establishing a hierarchy of information. The next chapter in this section provides a primer on the Principles of Visual Organization---an invaluable resource for anyone approaching this kind of project and something that is largely missing from other books in this genre.
The last section of this book gives more specific information about how to put all these pieces together, where to experiment and where to maintain the established web idiom and web conventions. Lastly the author addresses the issues of dynamic websites and dynamic content delivery---a potential solution to the problem of keeping content current. Throughout the book, the author develops an effective interplay between the general guiding principles of design and the more specific requirements of the web medium. For this reason I think it is an excellent and unique resource for web designers and developers that I would highly recommend.
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