on February 2, 2004
This book has a little bit of useful information for anyone above the beginner level. Very little. The book can be repetitive and the bizarre pictures just distract from the content. And the author is not even a graphic designer! I would think that would be a requirement to write a book of this kind. The author is simply not very qualified to write a book on web design.
on July 30, 2003
if you are into web design. Vincent Flanders makes excellent points, and he does it with humor. This isn't your typical dry "how to design a web site" book. It has lots of examples, photos, and he includes some opposing points of view just to be balanced. I actually learned a lot from this book even though I only bought it because I thought it would be entertaining (and it was that too). I recommend it highly.
on April 3, 2003
Book - Son of Web Pages That Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad
By Vincent Flanders with Dean Peters
Publisher - Sybex
List [...]>ISBN: 0-7821-4020-3
Rating - 5 out 5
Son of Web Pages That Suck is the follow up to the very successful book Web Pages That Suck by Vincent Flanders. The book consists of 279 pages, broken down into 14 chapters. The book also comes with a CD containing links to the websites listed throughout the book. Son of Web Pages That Suck is my first book on web design and will probably be the only one in my library for quite some time (until Daughter of Web Pages That Suck comes out). As the title suggests, Son of Web Pages That Suck teaches good web design by having the reader look at examples of bad web design. Throughout the book, Flanders explains why a web page does or does not suck.
The book's best quality lies in the very humorous and understandable way it's written. This is one computer book that isn't going to put you to sleep or bore you to death. One of the key points the author stresses throughout the book is "web design is not about art, it's about making money." Each chapter begins with a short introduction explaining what's going to be covered in the preceding chapter and ends with a summary covering the key points discussed in that chapter. One of the not-so obvious things Flanders covers is that you can make a web page that sucks without using tons of flashy graphics or other crazy design elements. Thankfully, he also discusses how to avoid making these same mistakes. Some of the more obvious web design topics Flanders covers include things like appropriate page and image size, how to stay on the right side of copyright law, professionalism, and why things like splash pages and "Welcome to my page" lines are bad. Another important point Flanders discusses is that while a certain theme or design might make one web page suck, it may make another rock-- depending on the target audience .If you've ever visited a Flash intensive website on a dial up connection, you'll appreciate Flanders chapter "Jumpin' Jack Flash."
I could continue to talk about all the great topics Flanders covers in his book Son of Web Pages That Suck, but that would take far too much space for a book review. I highly recommend that you go and buy the book and read it for yourself. I give Son of Web Pages That Suck a highly deserved 5 out of 5 rating.
on December 31, 2002
Having thoroughly enjoyed the original "Web Pages That Suck", I was quick to buy this sequel. If you haven't read either book yet, just buy the "Son of" sequel, because it is mostly a needed update of the original. It covers the same concepts in the same hilarious style, but is more current with regard to the latest bad design techniques and the current browsers, plug-ins and so forth that are now in use. A very entertaining book, even if you never intend to author a web page.
on October 13, 2002
This book is mandatory reading before you "go live"
Provides a reality check
on September 3, 2002
Is Vincent Flanders actually Jakob Nielsen in comedy mood? Both seem to think that picking holes in other people's work makes them bigger men, as if stamping on the heads of pygmies were as worthwhile as standing on the shoulders of giants.
Public humiliation of the underdog is the hallmark of the bully.
At least Flanders doesn't only slate, but also offers constructive criticism.
But I doubt that Paul Simon writes brilliant music by only ever listening to N-Sync and Britney Spears; I suspect that he listens and learns from other brilliant musicians.
The the best way to learn good design is to look at good design.
on August 31, 2002
Son Of Web Pages That Suck.
by Vincent Flanders.
Published by Sybex Inc. ...
I have visited the site that spawned this book, so had some idea of what was in store for me. Obviously, if you are competing with millions of other web sites, you want yours to stand out. This book is about just that, but instead of telling you what to do, it tells you what not to do, which is more important, especially when you see the examples. Mind you, this is only one man's view of this subject, and everyone is free to disagree with him.
A full-color paperback book of 279 pages.
Well bound in high quality paper.
CD rom included with links and programs to help you.
Commonsense descriptions of what constitutes a bad site, and why, along with advice on fixing problems.
Written in a light-hearted manner that masks the severity of the criticism.
The book is broken into fourteen sections that cover different aspects of Web design.
The cover graphics reflect the sort of sites that are targeted as "sites that suck", and not the content of the book.
This book is in full co lour, which is a bit unusual, but because of the style of writing, I think it fits well. The basis of this book is to educate all wood-be web designers to the pitfalls of this craft, and to point out ways to avoid mistakes made by others. This is not done in a derogatory way, but rather, in a manner that explains the perceived faults in specific sites.
Applying the 2 minute offense test to any site is a good approach. The author does not make hard and fast rules in most cases, because, as he points out, some sites are made to break the rules anyway because of their audience. What he does do is to explain why he sees problems, and what can be done to fix them.
A lot of the problems with sites are not easily seen, as they appear only in the background HTML, and as a web designer this is an area not to be overlooked.
Not all sites are criticized badly, and the comments made seem to make a lot of sense to me. The author quotes Jakob Nielsen who is an advocate of purely functional web design, but does not insist that that is all there is to design, but a lot of really sensible aspects of how most of us use the web come back to functionality anyway. Only a handful of us go for the glitter and fluff, when a huge number of users only want information, and quickly.
A very sensible book that should be looked at by a lot more webmasters, because it offers some very useful information in a way that can be understood by anyone. Most of the examples are really commonsense, but sometimes, no matter how sensible we may be, our enthusiasm overcomes our caution and the result, when looked at objectively by a third party, is not what we had in mind. I must admit that I stripped my site back to basics after reading this book, but I am sure I am going to add some glitz again, but probably in a different format from that originally envisaged.
on August 25, 2002
In "Son of Web Pages That Such" Vincent Flanders provides a much needed sequel to "Web Pages that Suck". Why the sequel? Well actually two reasons. First is that new techniques have been developed and new software designed that allows the web page designer to do things that were not possible when the first book was written. Second, is that you just can't anticipate all the possible ways that someone will create new and attrocious web pages. It seems that so many web pages are created by putting as much technology as possible onto the page without any concern for the user and how they might use the page. However, just because you can is no reason to add a particular item or effect to your web page. I can stick my finger in my eye, but that doesn't mean that I should. Still, that seems to be the most common design technique around, put as many things and special effects as possible onto the page until it becomes impossible to actually use.
Sound like a problem of the man web sites put up by amateurs? Sure, but it is also a problem of multi-billion dollar companies. I know of two colleges that point to the web sites of at least three multi-million dollar companies as examples of the worst web pages on the web. So, how do you make your web site an exception to the rule? The first place to start is with this book. By examining many, many web pages with terrible design problems you learn what to look for, what is appropriate, and what is not. Mr. Flanders even shows that there are exceptions to every rule and when some techniques might be appropriate for a particular site that are not appropriate for others.
If you want a useable web site that keeps people coming back and is a joy to use, then you must start with this book. If you want to know what things aggrevate the user and cause them not to return to your site, then start with this book. It's not about what you can do on a web site, but what you should do to reach and keep your intended audience. Developing a good web site starts with good, useable design and good useable design starts here. A must read for anyone interested in web design.
on July 23, 2002
SON OF WEB PAGES THAT SUCK
AUTHOR: Vincent Flanders with Dean Peters and a Cast of Hundreds
REVIEWED BY: Barbara Rhoades
BOOK REVIEW: Sometimes looking at something bad can help you see what a web page should look like. You immediately begin to say, ï¿½I would NEVER do that on a web siteï¿½. This begins the creative thought process that, in turn, helps you design a web site everyone will be able to navigate and enjoy.
The first thing you should do after purchasing Son of Web Pages That Suckï¿½ is check out the CD that is included. It contains over a dozen programs that can help the web designer to create better pages. A few of the programs that you might want to try are Snag It (captures anything you see on the Windows Desktop), Top Style Pro (checks for cross-browser problems as you work), Color Schemer (helps create color themes) and Screen Ruler (a virtual ruler that you can drag around the screen). These are trial programs and can be purchased for permanent use.
There is a section called ï¿½Two Minute Offenseï¿½. This is an exercise designed to getting you thinking in two minutes of all the problems that show on the web page displayed in that section. There are other ï¿½side barsï¿½ to help you learn also such as Sucks Not and Sucks a Lot. Both titles are self-explanatory. Donï¿½t forget to check out the ï¿½What Did You Learnï¿½ at the end of each chapter. This section will review what went on in the chapter and gives you a chance to be sure you saw everything in that chapter.
Remember that wonderful font you found and always wanted to use? Probably on a web page is not the place for it. And be careful of color. Too much color in the same line of text can be a problem. These are only a few of the problems that ï¿½Son of Web Pages That Suckï¿½ points out. It is a book you will be hard pressed to not wear it out as its pages contain so much information you will want to read it many times.
on May 30, 2002
SOWPTS is entertaining but never enough so the core principle gets lost - "Don't do anything that gets in the way of the sale". How easy this point is missed, even by professional web designers and in-house artists.
The essence: the most valuable aid in designing sites that appeal to your audience is first understanding what turns them off. Turn-offs are a dreary subject, yes, but Flanders excels here. He should know, running a site like "Web Pages That Suck" for a half-decade. You should tap into his knowledge.
Web design is new compared to other media, and the rules still aren't clear. "I want 12 point Garamond!" doesn't fly on the pop-star-of-the-month's site, while perfect for a "Mumble, Stumble, and Fumble at Law" site. Or maybe not so perfect - see Chapter 11 on Text (and fonts).
Understanding the people you're trying to sell is crucial - Flanders provides solid research on things like platforms/browsers, and links that will guide you long after the book is published.
This book should be the first thing you should read, either if you're on your first web project, or an experienced designer who's facing a client/employer about to make serious mistakes. You know, the CEO who insists on putting his face on the home page of your company that makes ball bearings for the lawn-mower industry. But on a site for the (unnamed) pop star mentioned above - not putting a face on the home page is death - and Flash is nearly expected. Flanders understands all this, and doesn't dismiss any technique - until you "get in the way of the sale."
The CD-ROM with the book ain't bad, but there is better. I vastly prefer WS_FTP to Voyager, but my company buys me tools that best several packages on the CD. For a price, of course. But the CD is a good starting place.
Put it on your bookshelf (or better, your hands) today. Let your competition wind up on the "Daily Sucker" at WPTS rather than you.