I'm a website developer who works with designers on a daily basis. It always amazes me how they come up with those beautiful screenshots - simple, clean, pleasant, professional look, that they give me to implement. At a glance, these designs look so simple it seems trivial to come up with one. Until you actually try. You open Photoshop or Illustrator and stare at the blank screen and anything you come up with just looks cheesy and soooo last year.
If you're like me - this book is perfect for you. It's short, loaded with pictures and examples, information is condensed and written in a funny way without lengthy religious or philosophical explanations. It also points you out to tons of resources outside the book, if you want to dig deeper into any particular topic (I'm reading the Kindle edition so I can just click hyperlinks). It's a perfect design primer for those people like me, who are probably not going to make website design their career (at least this book won't make you a pro in an instant) but are looking into understanding the basic concepts of design and maybe making their personal website prettier. You're guaranteed not to look at any website the same way again. You'll be wondering, does it use the 960 grid system? Is it fluid layout? which color scheme does it use?
- the author has technical knowledge about HTML and CSS, yet has actually attended college design classes - the best of both worlds if you're an engineer (there's little in the book that's "just the way it is" - everything has logical explanation, and even an algorithm if possible)
- great primer, if you want to learn design seriously but have no idea where to start, it will tell you what's out there and what to search for and dig into
- the book is relatively new, so it doesn't repeat those old "don't use frames or marquee cause it hurts your eyes" mantra - instead it focuses on modern websites, covering fluid layouts that work on an iPhone etc.
- the author covers necessary theory (but not too deep - there's no 10 page paragraph about the history of Times New Roman font) and is excellent in putting theory to practice - everything has examples and there's even a real example of customer redesigning their medium-size website and how the whole process looked, whet were the steps etc. - pretty much a description of a designer's workflow - very useful
- Kindle layout of the book in a Windows Kindle reader app is HORRIBLE - feels like reading a 1996 website. The page renders better on the Kindle device, but I need a color screen, since a big part of the book is about colors.