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Learning Responsive Web Design: A Beginner's Guide Paperback – 27 Jun 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (27 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144936294X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449362942
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 352,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Clarissa Peterson is a UX designer and web developer, and co-founder of Peterson/Kandy, a Montreal-based digital consultancy specializing in creating responsive websites.

She frequently speaks and gives workshops on responsive design, mobile strategy, and user experience.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I looked at several possible responsive web design books but I chose this one as it had a clear layout and logical text when I looked at the samples. Very helpful book which teaches you about responsive design + it also teaches you a lot about design + workflow. I'd recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book will teach you just what you need to know for designing a responsive website, and a lot more. After reading this book, I realized how easy it is and how natural it feels to develop a site for multiple screen sizes and different devices. There is also a lot of introductary information that really opened my eyes concerning building a webiste (what to include, and what not to include). I totally agree with the move away from pixels over to relative units when designing websites, and this book explains why.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Recommended by Karen McGrane, this covers all you need to know to get started in responsive web design. No waffle, just gets straight to it - buy this book now!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First up if you are a beginner don't touch this. Not because it wont help you but because it discusses topics such image optimisation, http requests, typography, semantics, css minimisation and more. These are the things I would expect you to know before you even pick up this book, especially when this book is about responsive design, which I feel is another skill level that needs to be added to your design knowledge.

The actual part that I wanted to get stuck in was learning responsive web design. Before I picked up this book I was familiar with sites being responsive, but I have personal habit of making sure I know what I know. I did pick up a few golden nuggets from this book. The whole ethos of what you get when you've finished reading is mainly about being responsible for your design, thinking about everything and starting your designs from the mobile first which isn't a bad thing, I just wanted to know more about responsive design.

There's no doubt Clarissa knows her stuff but here I think we're only getting part of that beautiful mind she has. This book sits proudly on my shelf.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8da66a80) out of 5 stars 24 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e370330) out of 5 stars Great textbook for beginners just graduating past the HTML5 basics 22 Aug. 2014
By Jamie Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is basically a textbook for responsive design beginners. It's exactly the kind of book I'd expect to see in a college-level web development class. It starts with pretty basic stuff like HTML 5, image types, how to add stylesheets, etc. The book is too basic for me (I'm a professional developer), but there are a few things in there that may be useful (e.g. responsive/adaptive images). I would recommend this book for beginners who are just graduating past the very basics of HTML, though.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d9d2f84) out of 5 stars Not for complete beginners, good for intermediate 11 Aug. 2014
By Jenn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
While this is a fairly good introduction to RWD, the format and design of the book gives it a narrow audience. Those with weak or low skills in any sort of programing background will find it difficult to grasp. Those with more experience would be better off with other books on the same topic. The start of the book, I found informative and well worth the read. I realize some aspects will receive duplicate mention but too many recurrences tend to turn off the reader. Yes, it's well written. It's not a bad book, it just could use more polish and better aim. I received an evaluation copy through the publisher in exchange for my honest unpaid opinion.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8da0de28) out of 5 stars good book if you already understand HTML and CSS 2 Oct. 2014
By peace - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
“Responsive web design” is web design that creates websites that are flexible and will detect the size of the screen and accommodate to that and also make use of the different capabilities of the different devices they are displayed on. This book is targeted to “anyone who works with websites”, but in my opinion, those who have a good understanding of HTML and CSS will certainly get the most out of this book.
This book is well-written, but can still be difficult to follow along, depending on your experience level. I have a basic understanding of website development and have created a basic, no-frills, information-only website for a local group. It is so "no-frills" that I still consider myself a beginner. I only have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS, so the chapters on HTML and CSS were a bit difficult for me, but the author wrote it in such a way that I was able to grasp certain concepts much better than I had been able to in the past.
There are lots of images of screenshots throughout the book, which I found very helpful. I wish there were more though. There’s also lots of helpful information about overall web design principles in this book which I found very useful.
Overall, this is a good book on responsive web design methods and is well-written, but it is not for beginners.
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8da18258) out of 5 stars Graphic Web Design in a Dynamic Environment : An HTML5-CSS3 Approach 28 July 2014
By Billz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Graphic artists who insist on using absolute values for their Web page designs drive me nuts. Static size elements in a design inevitably come to a bad end--on smaller screens, half the page is missing and on larger screens, the design sits in the middle of the display like a postage stamp in the middle of a white wall. (On certain size screens, their designs are beautiful, though--and I'm sure that more than a few artists are miffed by the fact that the world does not agree on one screen size so that their designs can be appreciated.) This was before mobile computing with smartphones and tablets. With the exponential growth of mobile computing devices, all graphic design for the Web is now "responsive web design"--or at least it should be. Clarissa Peterson sets out to introduce beginner's on how to get started in responsive design.

In reading Peterson's book, I'm reminded of Jennifer Tidwell's admonition to Web page builders—

It's not about you!

Many designers and developers somehow think that their creations should be appreciated as graphic or software design exemplars and not a useful tool for the user. Responsive web design responds to the users device; so, designers should get the idea right away that their designs must conform to a diverse technological environments and not some ideal canvas dimensioned for their creations.

Given my own background as a programmer I've migrated to PHP sniffer programs for determining user agents (devices) and grouping content into phone, tablet and desktop sizes. I've come to depend on jQuery Mobile for creating sites for non-desktop displays. So while I'm not a designer, I've a good deal of experience dealing with the issues that Peterson tackles. I've just considered the issues from a different angle.

For a beginning Web designer, I think that Clarissa Peterson has hit the designer sweet spot. She has set her focus on using CSS3 and HTML5 (...and a smidge of JavaScript) to introduce graphic designers who want to design Web sites. Divided into four parts, the book covers:

I. Foundations of Responsive Design (What is it and responsive content)
II. Creating Responsive Websites (Basic HTML and CSS, including media queries, and using images.)
III. Working Responsive (Workflows)
IV. Designing Responsive Websites (Typography, navigation, headers, performance)

At almost 400 pages, the coverage of the different topics and details is not unsubstantial, and beginners will get enough to have a solid grounding. The topics are well chosen, and since no two Web designers on earth can agree on much, some may want more of some and less of others. Peterson assumes right off the bat that the reader has some inkling about HTML, and that may prove to be more dangerous than assumed. It's not until halfway through the book that she talks about some different Web development tools like Dreamweaver, but I think that she'd be well-served to show readers right off the bat how to create, save and store HTML files and related content using a text or browser editor.

The writing level is clear, and Peterson provides lots of links to appropriate articles on a topic that is not fully covered. I think that spending a page or two on how hexadecimal values are translated into RGB colors would be useful. There are examples where a hex value is used in illustrations, but for most designers, it's Greek; so a quick introduction would be useful. Some examples have mixed problems. In one example (p. 292), the author shows how a decorative typeface may look good on a desktop but not on a mobile device. The point being made is an important one, but the example uses ALL CAPS that looks pretty bad on both desktop and mobile!

The author's UX background is apparent, and I think it's the kind of background that is valuable to Web page designers. It helps designers to focus on the user rather than just artistic creativity and design concepts. Often the lesson is that a good responsive design will go unnoticed by the user who plows through the site trying to find a good deal of a pair of shoes.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8db1148c) out of 5 stars Very helpful, flows, easy to read - if you have a basic but organic understanding of HTML and CSS and The Web 15 Sept. 2014
By bsg2004 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
With book titles getting longer these days, it wouldn't have hurt if the title of this book further qualified the target audience for the book. This is a great introduction to Responsive Web Design IF you have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS and The Web as a background. The book offers recap summaries (the CSS recap as it relates is rather good), but if you don't have an organic understanding of basic HTML/CSS, you may struggle with it. For example, if you can create a simple webpage (not website) using Notepad (or any basic text editor), then this book may be right for you. A lot of the focus is on what is different between Responsive and previous Web Design approaches. In the Preface of the book, under "Who Should Read This Book", it states "this book is not intended to be an introduction to HTML or CSS" (you can read this section in the Amazon book previews (Print and Kindle)).

This is one of the most readable technical books I ever read. It flows and flows, from one section to another, without being tiring or boring. The various diagrams help explain and also give the content time to breath and the reader time to digest. I read about 200 pages of it in a single day. I don't think I ever came anywhere near close to that many pages with a non-fiction book, technical or otherwise. The author stays on message and avoids going on off-topic tangents. There are plenty of references to articles, blog posts, web sites and web tools that further expand on the various topics covered - a curated list of resources interspersed throughout the book.

Another great thing I like about this book is that it doesn't glorify web designers or developers or anyone else. It takes a pragmatic, realistic and down to earth approach to web design. It also delivers some hard truths for all parties involved (page #275, web designers complaining about bigger text as it is a personal insult to them; page #217, "you don't want changes being filtered through a project manager who may not understand what's going on"),

Another plus for the book, it repeatedly stresses out the importance of accessibility, making content accessible to people with physical limitations and disabilities, and advises designers to specifically plan and test their work with this in mind.

Each chapter is bookended by a short introduction at the beginning and a summary at the end. You can skip those if you are reading the book straight through. The font in the printed book is medium-to-small but readable, good choice of line spacing and margins on a white background with no design gimmicks help the readability. If you are planning to read this on a 6-inch e-book reader, there are plenty of screenshots that may not be very readable and zooming on images with e-ink readers is painful (if available at all).

One part of the book I do take some exception with is parts of Chapter #2, Responsive Content, where the suggestions of writing in plain and simple language, in my opinion, cross into dumbing down and lowest common denominator territory. This next thing didn't bother me, but it's 2014, can we please find better examples than "Lorem ipsum" when displaying examples of fonts and line-spacing and such? If it's text the reader can actually read, they can get a better feel of what is being explained. Very few people can read "Lorem ipsum", and of those, I am guessing only a very small number will want to read it :)

For the perfectionists out there, I noticed a couple of typos, bottom of page #44 has a line without spaces between words. In another place, a "shuld" grabbed my attention. There were also 2-3 sentences where they needed editing/rewriting or had missing words. Out of 381 pages.
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