Usually when I start the learning process of a new project in life, be it professionally or private, I search for good books on the topic. Some are good, some are ok, but very few are great. A great book doesn't just lift a curtain, it's an eye-opener to a superb way of seeing things, of thinking. And you just Know, this is right! Happened for me ten years ago last time in a very different area, and now again. What a delight!
The book advocates an approach to website building which is based on a simple but powerful idea: Try to enter the mind of the user and take it from there. It's not about what you want to show off, but what people want or need or can take or accept from your site. The idea may not be new or very original, but the great thing with this book is the way Janice Redish tells us and shows us how to to do it. She's a superb teacher, so straightforward, plain, easy. Offers helpful guidelines to the many stages of the process, shows examples of good and bad design and site structure, writing tips, and much more. And always straight to the heart of things, no fuzz. Makes me want to start reworking my site immediately.
The booktitle is a bit unfortunate. The book is about much more than learning to use fewer words. It's about learning the craft of making websites that really works.
The book starts by answering a crucial question: what are the characteristics of your audience? Then, many other questions follow. What tone and personality would be appropriate for your website? How do you break content into topics and subtopics? And so on.
The main lesson of the book is to keep content as short and clear as possible. Many case studies and its excellent lay-out makes this book a joy to read. It was so inspirational that I had to stop reading temporarily after each chapter to put the lessons into practice. Differently put, Ms Redish managed to write a real "read-do" book!
When Ginny Redish told me that she was going to write a book on web content, I was excited but nervous. She's the best speaker I know, the most knowledgeable person in our field, and loves sharing that knowledge - would she be able to transfer all of that to the printed page?
And of course, she did - brilliantly. This book makes you feel that you've got Ginny by your side, guiding and helping you to be the best that you could be.
I keep my copy close at hand, and always have a stock of them for clients. Even if you are an expert in writing, usability, or web sites, you'll find that Ginny has a way of neatly explaining key concepts that saves you time and effort when you want to get your clients or colleagues to understand them.
If you're getting started in usability or writing for the web, you'll find that Ginny guides you from start to excellent finish and makes it all seem easy.
I would recommend this book, wholeheartedly, to anyone who has to publish content on a website.
The book is clear, readable, comprehensive and thoroughly illustrated by examples. The author not only explains a technique, and how it works, but goes on to demonstrate why it works by using a form of 'before and after' example, (very often taken from a real-life scenario), by which the reader can experience and appreciate the difference for themselves.
This book sat in my shopping basket for months, as I umm-ed and urr-ed over whether I should buy it or not. Big mistake! Now that I have read it, I wish I had bought it as soon as I first thought about buying it. It would have saved me a lot of rewriting of web-pages that were completed whilst I prevaricated over buying this book.
I have been writing reports and instructions all my working life, and I knew that I had to alter my technique for putting material onto the web. My adaptations, however, were trial and error. I was learning as I went along, and though I had some idea of what I was trying to achieve I was also aware of not quite getting it right. Ms Redish's book has given me the tools to fix that.
Whether you are a beginner, a hobbyist, a professional web designer/developer, or someone who has the task of maintaining their firm's, workplace's, club or organisation's website, there is something, (possibly everything), to be gained from this book. My view is that "Letting Go of the Words" is a Must-Have if you have anything to do with conveying information by the world wide web.
I was looking for a book that would fast track me on writing for the web, web content dos and don'ts and maximum usability for site visitors. This is the book I needed and then some. Very readable and accessible (not technical), full of instantly understandable ideas you can easily use, excellent value for money. I've gone from complete novice to being able to constructively assess others' web sites, spotting what they have done that works or doesn't work - and knowing why. Highly recommended
I have now read about 20 books on the subject of website content design: this one is definitely top of the list along with Krug's 'Don't make me think', both titles are essential reading. I come from a desktop publishing background so , while I have knowledge around colours, fonts, general design etc, this book was a great help with its focus on writing information specifically for the web. I also ordered Yahoo's Style Guide, a great help on writing and editing for a wide range of digital media.
A very good handbook for website designers, because it translates the key learnings of researches to practical, everyday advices. The images of websites highlighting the positive and negative points are very useful. The language of the book is understandable for a non-native English speaker as well.
I was initially put off by the price of the book (I was hoping for something around £5), but this book was worth every penny!
Being a good 'writer' doesn't neccessarily make you a good web writer. This book gives you everything you need to turn your written words into great web content. It's clear, bright, easy to follow, engaging and full of great advice on all aspects of web writing - layout, styling, formats for documents, as well as appropriate content flow for online articles. There's no need for software knowledge, nothing in the book is web-technical. Completely accessible, but never patronising, I wish I could buy copies for everyone I know who's ever found themselves unexpectedly writing web content.
An absolutely fantastic reference for web-writing. Can't recommend it highly enough.
Are you looking for a book about web content and topics related to that? Do you like examples as you learn? Well then I must suggest you this book. I am really happy i found it. Thank you Janice for your time writing about this subject! A must read!
This book is a must for anyone who is preparing content to be published on a web site. It is full of useful guidelines, tips and advice. It is well written, concise and contains many examples to illustrate the difference between good and bad practice. I am currently redesigning my own web sites and will certainly be using this book to help me produce much better organised and user friendly sites than I have at present. Highly recommended.