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Flexible Web Design: Creating Liquid and Elastic Layouts with CSS Paperback – Dec 4 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (Dec 4 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321553845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321553843
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 1.4 x 23 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 662 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #754,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Another excellent resource comes to us courtesy of Zoe Mickley Gillenwater <> . She’s written a book called Flexible Web Designs <> . Buy it now. You won’t regret it. I thought I knew my stuff when it came to wrangling CSS but this book had techniques that were new to me. ..."  -- Jeremy Keith

"If you want to know more about creating liquid and elastic layouts, you should read Flexible Web Design by Zoe Mickley Gillenwater. I heard about the book on Twitter (via Malarkey) and I bought it almost straight away. I started reading it recently and my first impressions are that this is the best book I have bought in some time. The book describes flexible layout types in some detail and explains how to achieve these with CSS. It really is a worthwhile read if you are new to flexible layouts…. or even if you are a regular ‘flexible web designer’." -- Clive Walker

"The biggest two flaws that this book has is that it wasn't published many years ago and not all web designers have a copy of it. There isn't much that can be done about the first of these and the situation regarding the second will resolve itself gradually as more web designers find out about the book and buy a copy. This book goes into great detail on a number of important techniques for styling web pages with CSS that will be useful to anyone creating web pages. The step by step approach not only shows you how to solve the specific layouts that the book covers but also show very clearly the approach to take to resolve the layout of any web page with CSS." -- Stephen Chapman

About the Author

Zoe Mickley Gillenwater is an experienced web designer, project manager and technical author, active in the web standards community. She uses her expert knowledge of CSS, XHTML, Dreamweaver, accessibility, and visual design in all aspects of her career. Zoe leads the design and development efforts of dozens of information-rich web sites and applications. Her work has focused on creating web sites that combine beautiful aesthetics with standards compliance, usability, and accessibility best practices.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars 99 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant to current best practices Jan. 3 2009
By Robin Button - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just purchased the book, and find it to be a valuable resource for the baffling topic of liquid layouts. It "set me straight" on some basic concepts and I particularly liked the way Zoe explained the pros and cons of the various layout choices. For this reason, I will refer to it before beginning a new project to help me me make some design decisions. Also, she provides some examples for dealing with some of the issues that must be considered when working with liquid layouts(such as strategies to use for graphic comps). I also think it's a good blend of theory and actual exercises ... I have found that some books have too much of one or the other. For anyone ready to move beyond the fixed-width layout, I highly recommend it. I was very happy to see a very comprehensive book that dealt specifically with liquid layouts, written by someone who is an expert in this particular area. However it's not for the fledgling web designer (and the author clearly states this in her introduction).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Collection of Examples Oct. 5 2009
By Matt Hubing - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm about 4/5ths of the way through this book and I've enjoyed reading so far.

The information is targeted at designers with intermediate experience. If you've been reading A List Apart since 2001 you'll probably feel like you've heard a lot of this book's content already. However, having it collected in one place has a lot of added value.

One thing I feel is missing is the code examples for all* the "best practice" form designs. I understand this isn't the intention of the book, but code examples are usually given on web design blogs.

*Some code examples are given in the end of the book--I haven't gotten to them yet--but they couldn't cover ALL the designs.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should Be Required Reading Feb. 22 2010
By Zachary Williams - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After having read multiple articles from Smashing Magazine, A List Apart, and other blogs that have articles on both liquid and elastic layouts, I was really blown away with how much information was in this book. It definitely pays tribute to how much time Gillenwater must have invested in writing 'Flexible Web Design.' It's a truly excellent CSS book, and I'd recommend it to anyone who tries to use CSS Frameworks for laying out web pages instead of hand-coding. Out of all the CSS books I've read, this one was by far the most informative.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Overview Feb. 20 2009
By Monica Israels - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am working on the display for a large form, so I picked this book up. It was good to see everything written down, finally. Most of us know how we "feel" about form elements but we don't have any proof to back up our feelings. This book contains lots of studies to prove and disprove opinions, and that's a great thing.

There are also lots of examples of form components, and they gave me lots of good ideas for my current project as well as for future projects. It made it easy to put together a specifications document for a designer to complete that will describe all of the components of my project's form (things like how field groups are displayed and concerns about making sure a form isn't submitted twice).

This book would be good for a beginner because it would make someone think about new concepts. It's also good for someone who has developed and designed many, many forms because it helps you break out of old patterns and see things in a new, more structured way. The many examples of form component testing are also great things to show a boss or coworker who may be holding on to opinions without proof.

This book may be a bit overpriced for what you get, though. Its pages are thick and glossy, giving you the initial impression that it contains more content than it actually does. However, there aren't many books that address form design. I'm glad I picked it up, but if you're down to your last dime you might be disappointed after spending the money. It doesn't really go into much detail for each component or concept, but it was enough for me. If you are new to form design, you may want to couple this book with other books that detail general Web design or sales approaches that work for the Web.

In other words, this book may not be enough for some people but I enjoyed it.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good pointers to web form design but I expected more Oct. 28 2009
By Pirkka Rannikko - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I didn't buy this book because I wanted to learn more on web form design. I knew the insights in the book were based on actual user studies and not just subjective experience of the author alone, so I was more interested in the data behind the insights.

Unfortunately the book didn't match my expectations because I would've liked to see more findings based on testing, studies conducted by others and literature in general. What I wanted to see was a more "scientific" book and not just another web design book.

Don't get me wrong though. The book is great if you just want to learn how to design basic forms with basic HTML user interface widgets for websites. Web application interfaces are out of scope of this book.

I recommend this title for those that are relatively new to the user interface design side of web forms or need to freshen up their knowledge. I think the book could also be a good tool to back up your design decisions in the face of an opposition resisting to reconsider a bad design of a particular form.

It should also be remembered that good UI design alone does not guarantee that the form will be accessible and usable for all. A lot of work needs to be done under the hood starting from the HTML markup. If I remember right, the book Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance, has a great chapter on building the HTML right!