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The Non-designer's Web Book Paperback – 3 Oct 1997

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (3 Oct. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 020168859X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201688597
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 17.8 x 27.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,161,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

While The Non-Designer's Web Book won't answer all your technical questions about the inner workings of the Web, it explains most of what a beginning designer needs to know: what the Web is, how it gets to your computer, how to use it, and most of all how to design for it.

Any artist can tell you that you have to know how a medium works to get the most impact working in it. A basic understanding of how the Web works enables the good designer to create sites with the most effect. This book thoroughly discusses the different kinds of graphics used on the Web, when to use one over another, how to make the most of text styles, and how to design navigation systems.

The comparisons are the best stuff here--good design vs. bad design, why designing Web pages and printed pages is different, and why a site looks terrific on one monitor but terrible on another one. Two chapters on properly preparing graphics and setting typography for Web site use describe how to avoid obvious mistakes that would make your work look amateurish.

Not limited to design, Non-Designer shows you how to get a site up and running, register the domain name, and add it to search engines. After the design is finished and implemented, the site has to be uploaded and updated, and that's explained too.

If there is one fault with this book, it's the lack of information on specific authoring tools. The barest overview of the current crop of tools appears in chapter 3, "Just What Are Web Pages, Anyway?" but a discussion of why you should choose one package over another is absent.

Don't let that stop you from buying this book, though. Plenty of magazines regularly have Web authoring tool "shootouts." What the magazines don't tell you, and what Non-Designer excels at, is how to make well-designed pages. If you're going to build Web sites, for either personal or professional use, but you have no clue where to begin, start with this book. It's easy to read, it's devoid of confusing jargon, and it's full of do's and don'ts to help you avoid common snags. --Mike Caputo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The Non-Designer's Web Book is geared to the person who has no background in design or the World Wide Web, but who still wants to participate in this communication explosion.

Aspiring Web designers learn why Web design is different from print design and how to take advantage of it, where to get or how to make Web graphics easily, and how to get their finished Web site up on the World Wide Web. With its user-friendly writing, appealing page design, eye-catching graphics, extensive examples and illustrations, and full-color throughout, The Non-Designer's Web Book provides beginners with everything they need to create their own beautiful and well-designed Web sites. Platform: MAC WIN


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 July 1999
Format: Paperback
Just like the title says, if you have little or no design experience/training, this is a great book to have. But even if you have been designing web sites for a while like me (3 years), there are plenty of things you might find useful.
The book is full-color. Much of it assumes you know little about computers, HTML, and the Internet. It also assumes you are using one of the popular HTML editors and graphics programs like Frontpage and Photoshop. Even with these liabilities, there are wonderful principles, tips and techniques provided by the authors that should benefit even experienced designers.
For me, the meat of the book was the middle where it describes the basics of design, color, layout, and typography. The advanced tips and tricks chapter also offered some tidbits I hadn't thought of before. However, I breezed through the beginning and ending chapters (on the Internet, web pages, site organization, uploading your site, and testing it) because they had little to offer I didn't already know. But for a beginner this may be valuable information.
One reason I wanted this book was all of its beautiful and creative design examples. If I am stumped on how to design something, I will pick up this book and see if it may inspire me. The authors didn't provide "cutting edge" type graphics, but examples that are simple, colorful and effective.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Earl on 17 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robin Williams' design and type books inspired me to change my life and I can't recommend them too highly. Likewise, her new book on presentations, though inevitably recycling some of the same material, adds the new dimensions of time and theatre as well. So I was looking forward to reading the Non Designer's Web Book with a view to passing it on to people who know a lot less about web design than I already do. But no, sadly I can't recommend this one of the otherwise excellent family of books.

I think there are two problems:
- the main problem is that it feels terribly dated. The internet is fast moving, and it has left a lot of the material in the book behind. People don't want basic web sites like this any more: there are read-made blogs, content management systems and online site builders for the simple stuff, which is about as far as this book goes; interactivity, AJAX, server applications, in short "Web 2.0", is beyond its scope. Two paragraphs about cross-browser design issues simply isn't enough, especially as it isn't (easily) possible to install multiple versions of Internet Explorer on the same computer. Four pages on CSS is nowhere near enough for someone new to the subject; we still seem to be living in the land of tables and image slicing to do layout. Though published in 2005, it feels more like 2000.
- it can't cover the technology in enough detail to be helpful to someone new, but on the other hand doesn't add enough to the aspects of design, appearance and interactivity that web pages throw up over paper design.

I think someone who wants a simple web site might do better to read William's "Non Designer's Design Book" for the more detailed design principles, Steve Krug's "Don't Make Me Think!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Barnaby Partridge on 27 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
Read the title - "The Non-designer's Web Book". This is who it is for. I am a web designer and I read this book a couple of years ago. Yes it can be a little patronising and yes it can be a little too basic at times but it outlines the basics of design (not specifically web design) that sadly alot of designers don't seem to be interested in these days.
I came onto Amazon to buy this book for one of my new designers. I am buying it for him because although I can train him to use Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop, it is almost impossible to teach someone what actually LOOKS good.
There are basic rules in this book that must be adhered to when creating a website and if my designer only learns 1 or 2 things from this book, then I am happy - it will have served it's purpose.
Please do not overlook this book as a real "beginners" book, I think every single web designer could do with a reminder of the basics every now and again. If you don't beleive me, just look at some of the appalling sites on the internet at the moment - and yes there are quite a few cr@p ones out there!
A MUST FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BE A REALLY GREAT DESIGNER.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By sean.missin@virgin.net on 19 Mar. 2000
Format: Paperback
The language is plain and simple to understand. The chapters are fun and have a lot of useful information for beginners designing their web site.
The examples of good and bad design demonstrate visually the ideas and thoughts of the authors. The most useful bits for me personally were the chapter graphics formats and the added advice for quick ways of working with images. While more experienced designers may feel it is a little too simple for their needs, newcomers to web design and people looking to design their first site for home use or for small businesses should find that the book is a useful guide for page layout and design principles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
Most web site designers take one of two opposite approaches: (1) overwhelm the user with gobs of information (and, sometimes, try to compensate for the resultant dullness by throwing in pointless animations, clashing colors, etc.), or (2) offer visual candy, but under all the spiffy PhotoShop graphics and Java special effects there's no useful content.
Ms. Williams starts with the most basic considerations: What is it that you want your site to SAY about you or your business? Given that, what's the most effective way to say it? Not only is the book full of useful information, clearly presented, about site navigation and design, but it's visually appealing and a pleasure to read -- just like a good web site! And, while you're having fun, you're also painlessly learning a surprising amount.
The book is rather thin on technical details, but I think this is a point in its favor: too much specific information renders a computer book obsolete almost as soon as the ink is dry; however, the design principles Williams sets out are timeless. I also liked her reassurance that you don't have to be a technical expert to design an effective web site: good thinking and planning are the only "secret." This is far and away the best book I've seen on the subject, and I recommend it highly.
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