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Above the Fold: Understanding the Principles of Successful Web Site Design [Paperback]

Brian Miller
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 11 2011

This is a different kind of web design book. Above the Fold is not about timely design or technology trends; instead, this book is about the timeless fundamentals of effective communication within the context of web design. It is intended to help you, the reader, understand the considerations that web designers make when developing successful websites.

Above the Fold is divided into three sections:

  • Design & Typography
  • Planning & Usability
  • Business Value
Each section represents a phase in the continuous cycle of web design. It's the balance among design, usability, and return on investment that makes a website truly great.

Topics covered in Above the Fold include:

  • What makes web design unique
  • The history of web design
  • Anatomy of a web page
  • White space and grid use in web design
  • The elements of web design: color, texture, imagery, scale, depth, animation, and variability
  • Web typography, including web-safe type, images of type, and font replacement and embedding
  • Web project planning
  • Information architecture, including site maps, wireframes, and user flow diagrams
  • The elements of usability: navigation, breadcrumbs, links, search, submission forms, and error messaging
  • Search engine optimization
  • Online marketing, including banner ads, viral and social marketing, on-site marketing, and email marketing
  • Web statistics and analysis


Frequently Bought Together

Above the Fold: Understanding the Principles of Successful Web Site Design + HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites
Price For Both: CDN$ 43.88

  • HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites CDN$ 22.56

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Product Details


Product Description

About the Author

Brian D. Miller is an award-winning designer and lecturer who specializes in branding and Web design and development. His experience ranges from being the in-house creative director of Gartner Inc.—a $1 billion consulting firm—to principal design director of the Brian Miller Design Group. His clients include GE, NBC Universal, Delta Airlines, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, BMW, A&E Television, and Unilever. Brian's work has been featured in the pages of Print Magazine and numerous awards annuals including the New York Festivals. His design work has also been honored by the Effi Awards, MIXX Awards (Gold), Stevies (Best Rich Media Online Ad Campaign), Connecticut Art DIrectors Club, Connecticut Advertisers Club, London International Awards and the ACE Awards.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Lots of pictures, but no real direction May 30 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I read several reviews on amazon.com before purchasing this book. Thought it would be good, but was sorely disappointed. It has lots of pictures and examples of concepts. BUT it is really light on a good explanation and approach to employing these design principles. Even the pictures of the web sites are too small in many cases to really see it well. Not a very good reference book at all! This is more a coffee table book.

A much better book is:

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design
by Jason Beaird (098057689X)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cool book, good quality Feb. 26 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good examples, but fairly beginner. I'm no expert on web design, but I found much of this to be pretty basic. Good read for a beginner though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, current & relevant. June 16 2011
By N. Wu
Format:Paperback
The best introductory book for print designers currently making the leap to web from a type design standpoint. It clearly explains every facet you need to know without complex jargon & assumptions, but with current examples that are relevant. Recommended and a keeper.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  30 reviews
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Books Available On The Web Design Process April 28 2011
By Steffan Antonas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Brian clearly put a lot of thought and careful consideration into the structure, content and flow of the book. It's well done. I've been building websites for 4 or 5 years now and this is the first book I've found that does a good job of walking the reader through the entire thought process of planning and creating a structured strategy for designing websites. If you're sold on the idea that smart thinking and great design thrive on a methodical approach, this book will delight you. That said, it's not a how-to book on building code or using tools like Photoshop, so if you're just getting into web design and you're itching to learn specific skills for building stuff, you'll probably want to hold off on buying this for now and come back to it later when you're ready to start doing professional projects. Just do so knowing that, when you do eventually come back and read it, you'll probably kick yourself for not having read this one upfront ;-).

For those of you interested in buying the book, here's a quick list of pros and cons:

PROS (many):

- There's zero fluff-factor. Brian did a solid job of explaining things simply and succinctly and moving on. Every page gets straight to the point. You'll get through it quickly without feeling like you wasted any time.

- It's easy on the eyes. There are plenty of visuals to support the content. If you surf though CSS galleries a lot looking for inspiration for your projects, you'll also get a lot of value just from flipping through the pages.

- It's an ideal start for aspiring design professionals because it provides a comprehensive, horizontal look at the design process end to end. If your goal is to learn how to manage big design projects, the book helps you develop an essential vocabulary and a broad awareness of things you need to consider (and why you do) before you get started.

CONS (few):

- The information in some sections is a little "light". At 255 pages, that's not really a knock. There's plenty of great info to chew on. The book was clearly designed for breadth, rather than depth, which is why it succeeds in giving the reader a complete and broad awareness of the design process. Depth needed to be sacrificed in order to cover everything. Entire books have been written on each topic covered in this book (like SEO, typography, usability etc). The good news is that being aware of why these are critical steps in the process will aid you in your search for deeper dives into how this stuff is done.

- No suggestions for further reading. Recognizing that this book was designed for breadth, it would have been useful to have had a short list of suggested resources in each section to guide the reader to deep dives. Including a vetted list of "further reading" would have been great. This isn't a make or break by any means, it's just a nice to have.

Overall a great book that you'll probably want to keep in your collection.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Web Design Demystified March 28 2011
By Ted A. Dobbs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Above the Fold" provides everything that you need to build a strong foundation for a successful web site. The book is broken into 3 sections that talk specifically about design, planning and marketing issues associated with web site design. From reviewing the basic principles of design from a web perspective to prototyping and search engine optimization, author Brian Miller does an excellent job of explaining the specifics of the medium without getting bogged down in markup languages. As a predominantly print-based graphic designer, "Above the Fold" gave me the knowledge and tools to design just as successfully and comfortably for the web.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, relevant and current. Definitely a keeper! June 16 2011
By N. Wu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The best introductory book for print designers currently making the leap to web from a type design standpoint. It clearly explains every facet you need to know without complex jargon & assumptions, but with current examples that are relevant. Recommended and a keeper.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic guide March 10 2011
By B. Crosland - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Above the Fold provides you with the fundamentals required for a successful digital
experience. Anyone who is looking to promote themselves or business using
digital media marketing tools should own a copy of this book. As Brian
Miller thoroughly demonstrates, principals of design very much apply to each
of your digital properties. Providing customers with a good user
experience is paramount to keeping them engaged and coming back. Thank
you, Brian for an extremely comprehensive guide of an ever changing
landscape. While technology will continue to change, principals of
effective design do not.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable Asset May 13 2011
By JM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Read part of this book in a bookstore and immediately knew I had to purchase for our company. This book is great since it's not only theory but shows many great real world examples in action. Something not all web design books do.
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