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Defensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Online Crisis Points (Voices That Matter)
Defensive Design for the Web: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Crisis Points: How to Improve Error Messages, Help, Forms, and Other Online Crisis Points (Voices That Matter)
by 37signals
Edition: Paperback

26 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A very disappointing beginners book., 7 April 2005
The authors use 40 guidelines to tell you things that even starting web developers already know. In fact throughout the whole book ‚€" which is extremely light reading, since nearly all the pages contain mostly white space and screen shots ‚€" I haven't come across a single noteworthy solution to design problems.
Indeed, all this book does is list commonly known mistakes, which would perhaps be interesting for the total novice, yet, it provides zero solutions.
Four major things are wrong with this book:
1) Most of the advice is truly gratuitous, like ‚€œGuideline 6: Keep text brief and easy to understand‚€�, or ‚€œGuideline7: Be polite‚€�, or ‚€œGuideline18: Use ALT tags for images‚€� or ‚€œGuideline 24: Answer emails quickly and effectively. That is stating the obvious like ‚€œcheck your spelling‚€�. Yes, they advice this as well.
2) Only a small part of the book deals with international issues and most part only applies to local American websites with local target groups. A lot of the examples of websites they approve of, wouldn't stand a change when a Frenchman, Italian, Arab, etc. visits. This book gives an all but global perspective on accessibility.
3) Some design rules they propose are actually very debatable at least. Moreover, quite a few guidelines contradict each other.
4) They mention some major problems like; missing 404 pages, lacking form validation, etc. Yet ‚€" and this is absolutely inexcusable ‚€" abide from some screen shots, they provide no real solutions, you are totally left in the dark.
So, after 236 mostly empty pages all they have told me that it is better to have a better website.


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