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4.0 out of 5 stars
The Non-Designer's Web Book (3rd Edition)
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Showing 1-6 of 6 reviews(4 star)show all reviews
on May 12, 2004
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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on February 22, 2003
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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on December 8, 2001
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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on August 2, 2001
Computer? Check. Design program? Check. Good design sense? Uhh...
For those of you who are still "uhhing", we heartily recommend a copy of this useful tome to cure what ails you. Williams and Tollett offer useful and sound advice for winning the woeful website design war.
The authors start out with a very rudimentary and, in our opinion, superfluous lesson on what the web is, and how to use a search engine among other novice topics. After all, the title says the non-designer's web book, not the non-internet user's design book; we think the basics could have been skipped or the user referred to another beginning internet user’s book. But soon the meat of the book is reached, and boy is it juicy. Williams and Tollett spend considerable time expounded on color theory, good vs. bad design, and other useful topics. (We especially appreciated the tip on how to load large files-very helpful.)
If you are a beginner, we recommend you buy this book, as it will enhance your efforts to become an all-star web designer. If you are an intermediate or advanced user, get this from the library. After you absorb the few new tricks in the book, you find little worth its purchase price.
A caveat: if you are not a Mac and Photoshop user, you will have to take the extra step of translating the tips onto a useable format for you system and software. Including information for those millions of us on Windows and FrontPage or other software would have given this book the five stars we wished to bestow upon it....
P.S.: We must admit that we used The Non-Designer's Web Book in the process of building our site until it (the book, not the site) was dog-eared and coffee cup stained.
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I am a multimedia professor and I have been looking for a book which puts together a "follow-through" on all of the variables that are out there between HTML and web-development applications. If you are looking for this, then this is the book for you. The authors don't make any bones about the fact that they cannot teach you everything. And there is a law of marketing that states that candor is one of the best selling tools. Candor is what this book is about. You do have to sift between what is possible with what is practical, but if you are not willing to do your homework, then don't buy this book. There are many points in this book where you have to put it down and go somewhere else to continue, but I feel that this book is a great place to come back to. I have used Ms. Williams other text (The Non-designers Design Book) to get across many aspects of design in my classroom. "CRAP" (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity) has been the best thing to come down the pike since sliced bread, and now I am happy to say that this text increases the strength of "CRAP" ten-fold. The only reason that I didn't give this book five stars is because there isn't a CD-ROM attached to the book to help elucidate the concepts contained within it (hint, hint) Thanks, Robin!
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on July 11, 2004
 
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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