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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Instruction for Those Just Starting
"The Non-Designer's Web Book, 2nd Edition" is perfect for those of you who want to build your own site but don't want to use one of the canned templates so many ISP's offer.
Ms. Williams advice is, as usual, right on target and very easy to understand. Her humor is understated and well placed, encouraging the reader to continue in the project at hand. The...
Published on July 20 2004 by Scott K. Brown

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3.0 out of 5 stars A good start
So, you want to learn to the craft of web-design and want a beginners guide to help you do it? Well, there are lots of design books out there, and perhaps none of them will tell you everything you need to know. This book is decent; it has a lot of tips that are useful and some good ideas. But most of what it teaches is either common sense or stuff you'll pick up anyway...
Published on Sept. 19 2002 by bixodoido


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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Instruction for Those Just Starting, July 20 2004
By 
Scott K. Brown "Mac Expert" (Columbus, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"The Non-Designer's Web Book, 2nd Edition" is perfect for those of you who want to build your own site but don't want to use one of the canned templates so many ISP's offer.
Ms. Williams advice is, as usual, right on target and very easy to understand. Her humor is understated and well placed, encouraging the reader to continue in the project at hand. The book has plenty of color illustrations and screen shots, and is peppered with great advice on creating graphics, getting your site listed, basic design principles, and even a few lessons on HTML coding, if you like.
Each chapter concludes with a short quiz to help cement the principles that were just taught, and her coverage (despite what some people have written) of the basics is just what is needed for those of you who have skipped over an idea or two and wonder just what the heck something such as the difference between search engines and directories are.
Starting on page 50 is a Ms. Williams takes you through setting up a page and the associated site, step by step, in a concise, easy to understand way. It covers such things as typing and formatting text, changing colors, creating links and adding an email link, adding graphics, setting up a table, explaining what frames are and how to use them, and finally, adding some HTML code, if you want. These topics are the very basics of web construction, and the author expounds on them in later chapters, but it's especially nice that she distilled them into a short, easy to read section (that is extremely well illustrated) so you don't have to hunt through the rest of the pages later.
Some people have taken exception to the Netscape emphasis. They fail to realize that when the book was written Netscape was still a big player, and that IE's implementation of standards left a lot to be desired. Also, someone has stated that there are big errors throughout the book, but I haven't found any, and the example the reviewer gave (directions to use a page-sized graphic as a background) doesn't exist. In fact, Ms. Williams stresses that's just want you DON'T want to do.
There is a slight Mac-bias, but it is slight, with plenty of screen shots of Windows software along with the appropriate instruction. Given that the design industry is predominately centered on the Mac platform, this preference is easily understood.
All in all, this is one of the best books out for learning the basics of setting up your web site, as the title implies. You won't go wrong with Robin William's books, and this is just one example of why: clear writing, excellent advice, easy to follow instruction.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for teaching, July 11 2004
By 
Jennifer Ang (Singapore) - See all my reviews
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We have been teaching 17-year old kids Web Publishing for many years. The Non-Designer's Web Book (1st -> 2nd Edition) used to be our textbook. We only realised how useful this book was after we replaced it with another textbook last year, now we change it back.
With lots of visual examples and straight-to-the-point explanations, this really is the Web book for beginners.
Also, although our teachings have been PC-based all along, we have no problem with the book at all.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but..., May 12 2004
By 
T. Cashin "Bookworm" (Canada) - See all my reviews
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This very fine book is well written, beautifully illustrated and generally most helpful. However, there are two parts to the book.
1. How to create a web page.
2. How to create an outstanding web page.
The 2nd part is outstanding, but the first part suffers from trying to be all things to all people. There are many web authoring packages, so I decided on the free FrontPage Express and Internet Explorer. The authors admit that they prefer Netscape, and appear to have a preference for the Mac. While they tried to be helpful to people who made my choices they failed. I was unable to finish the first exercise because their instructions on how to create an internal link makes no sense in FPExpress.
If you are comfortable with web design, and want to learn about design, color, balance etc. this is the book for you. But if you, like me, still find the whole idea of creating a web page intimidating you would be advised to find a different book; perhaps returning to this one when you have mastered the basics.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very complete for the beginner!!, June 5 2003
By 
"intentaccess" (Boca Raton, Florida USA) - See all my reviews
This book was awesome! It is generated toward the beginner with very simple explanations and wonderful pictures so you know exactly what they are saying. But even the experienced web designer can gain from this as you see your own work through more simple eyes.
Lots of ideas, explains from thought through concept, even shows you what NOT to do. Touches bases on color, graphics, search engines, typography. I was very impressed by this book and if you are a beginner this really is the book for you. I was very surprised to the amount of information and the wide range it covers in such a little book!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sharp but unbalanced, Feb. 22 2003
By 
Chia-heng Yao "milesyao" (Houston, Texas) - See all my reviews
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The authors of HTML books tend to fall into three categories: Coders, Tech Writers, and Designers. Robin Williams belongs proudly in the last category, and it shows. Four chapters of sharp and specific advices on design are accompanied by 12 rather watered-down chapters on web basics - with no coverage of HTML itself! Apparently Robin decided to target her book to amateurs and graphic designers who think they can do everything on Dreamweaver and other graphic tools, thus never have to deal with the messy HTML plumbing ...
Not so! Web and browser technology still have many idiosyncracies, and any serious web designer will soon have to master the actual plumbing works - in all its glorious variations. For that, there is no shortcut to a step-by-step study of HTML and CSS - perhaps the Molly Holzschlag book. She, however, is not technical enough to write it.
Robin Williams shine when she lays out realistic (and above-average) examples and explains why they work (or not). Her chapter on typography was outstanding - she analyzes each of Microsoft's near-universal web core fonts, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses, and discourses on the use of Arial vs. Helvetica (one for screen and the other for printing). No other book goes into such detail. I give her four stars for this chapter alone.
The perfect HTML book would probably be Laura Lemay/Holzschlag teaming with Robin (and maybe Lynda Weinman). Failing that, getting both Holzschlag and Robin Williams is not a bad substitute.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good start, Sept. 19 2002
By 
So, you want to learn to the craft of web-design and want a beginners guide to help you do it? Well, there are lots of design books out there, and perhaps none of them will tell you everything you need to know. This book is decent; it has a lot of tips that are useful and some good ideas. But most of what it teaches is either common sense or stuff you'll pick up anyway as you experiment with your software.
The book's main strength is in its pictures--there are tons of them, and most of the examples are very good. This will provide the reader with somewhere to start. Unfortunately, the tips are not all that great. Most of what is preached in this book is a matter of personal preference, things like screen resolution and alignment. The authors give good suggestions on how to do things, but they make it sound like it's the only way. It's not.
It's true that you have to follow certain rules of style as you build a website. Color, contrast, and spacing are all very important, and if your site's an eyesore or is hard to use, people won't frequent it. But, all in all, it's called 'design' for a reason. It's your baby, do what you want with it.
That is the main weakness of the book--it's just a little too rigid in its so-called rules. For those who want a book on web-design that is easy to understand, this will prove useful. But there's nothing here that a little experience won't teach you.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not Very Good, Feb. 3 2002
By A Customer
Forget this book! There's a better solution. I bought this book based on my experience reading the author's Non-Designer's Design Book. I would strongly recommend buying that. The Web book though, is trying to give you overall information on a variety of software that really benefits no one particular user. A lot of the generic tips are good, but included is a lot of information on specific products, such as Photoshop, that are promoted as the ultimate for Web design. Photoshop is very expensive, and I already have Corel Draw and PhotoDraw. Most beginners would not run out and buy Photoshop anyway.
Aside from the scattered info about various software, there are also too many mistakes. As is pointed out in many other reviews here, Netscape is not preferred, and has not been the leading browser for a long time. Page 208 has a serious mistake recommending loading an entire page size graphic in order to get a horizontal block across a page. A color filled table is the correct approach. This was unfortunately typical of many errors that I found.
I have to admit that I was looking for a more design oriented book since I have some Web authoring experience. After reading the book I believe I can offer a better solution to someone looking for both design and Web building information. First, buy Ms. Williams Non-Designer's Design Book. Second, decide on which Web authoring software you might want to use. Third, buy or scavenge all the written information you can about that software. This way you will have the design information, and you'll have specific information about what YOU will actually be using. Many of these books give tips peculiar to Web design. For someone that's an absolute Internet novice, start with a book that tells you what that's all about first. They're plenty of them out there.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Marginally useful for beginners, but not for anyone else, Jan. 19 2002
By 
W.D. Peckenpaugh (Silverton, OR USA) - See all my reviews
I say "marginally useful" for beginners, because I really question the basic level of knowledge and experience the book seems to be catering to: if you don't know what a search engine is, or an ISP, or the very basic differences between document types (such as HTML vs Word vs images), WHY is ANYONE encouraging you to throw up (and I use that term on purpose) a web page? There is always a certain progression of skill and ability in any creative trade, from basic exposure, to wide exposure, to basic knowledge of how to create, to advanced knowledge of how to create, to the ability to teach others how to create. We seem to be skipping several steps with this book; it's like asking someone who learned to read six months ago to take a whack at magazine layout or book publishing. It just doesn't make sense.
The author does, as has been mentioned, have a definite Mac bias. It's fine to have a preference, but to push it in the face of the other 95% of PC users is a bit absurd. Same with the author's blatant bias toward Netscape. Telling readers that "most web designers prefer Netscape's ability to precisely control display of elements," when, in fact, every professional organization I know of praises Internet Explorer for more closely following industry-accepted standards for HTML and CSS is not only factually incorrect -- it's irresponsible. Learning to write correct and compliant HTML and CSS isn't just smart; it's crucial for the roughly 10% of web users who are disabled and require some assistive technology to access web content. Poorly-designed and implemented web content becomes completely useless to this large segment of your potential audience.
There are a very few good things beginners can pick up from this book, but they could get the same and then some from other comparably-priced books.
Poor premise, poor attitude toward delivery, and poor comparison to other books make this a book I just can't recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource for Beginners, Dec 8 2001
By 
Atomic Grrrrrl (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
A lavishly illustrated book, the Non Designer's Web Book is an excellent intro into the world of web design, particularly for people who are based in print media and want to break out into web design, but don't know how to translate their previous graphic design experience onto the web. Although it doesn't go into extreme detail about the more specific aspects of web building (don't expect step-by-step instructions on how to build tables or forms here), it does give you a nice overview of web design, so that you will get a basic understanding of the medium you're working in. So, if you're kind of fuzzy on the web to begin with and don't understand why there are different graphic formats, how people created cool layouts using tables, or what in the heck "plug-ins" are, by the time you reach the end of the book, you'll be going, "Ohhhh, so THAT's what RGB and java and dithering mean!" That's the beauty of this book: it explains everything in a highly enjoyable, casual style without confusing you with elaborate techno-speak or boring you with too many programming details. I can't recommend this book enough. Oh, and while you're at it, look into picking up "Elements of Web Design" by Darcy DiNucci another nicely illustrated introduction to web design book for beginners.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A few years too late, Oct. 24 2001
By 
B. Farrelly (Australia) - See all my reviews
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I enjoyed the non-designers print book, but the web book was disappointing. Specifically, it was a few years too late in what it was suggesting for me to be able to recommend it as anything but basic or background reading.
A lot of the tricks and work-arounds presented were useful a while back but have now been replaced by common Javascript actions (eg, pre-loading images). Similarly, the author writes as if the browser wars were still being fought, when IE has pretty much won (I agree it's sad, but it's true).
A lot of the history and background information presented is still true, but this book is a fair way behind even common practice, let alone the cutting edge. The book may be useful for novices, but there are much more up-to-date texts out there.
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The Non-Designer's Web Book (3rd Edition)
The Non-Designer's Web Book (3rd Edition) by John Tollett (Paperback - Sept. 16 2005)
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