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Deliver First Class Web Sites

Checklists of things to keep in mind when designing and building a website.

By: Staff

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Subtitled "101 Essential Checklists" this book might be thought of as a bunch of "remember to" or guide-lines to remember when developing new websites. The topics covered are pretty broad, ranging from planning and organizing, to tips on graphic design and layout  to SEO (search-engine optimization). There's a lot of material covered in its 330-odd pages.

The book is broken down into a series of check-lists for developing websites organized into major themes. Usually there is a short point, and explanation and sometimes an example- you might think of it as a stripped-down version of the format used in the O'Reilly Cookbook series.

Chapters are:

  • Pre-planning
  • Initial questions - target audience, goals and budget issues
  • Preparing content
  • Managing content
  • Usability, focus on the user
  • Colour,using colour in your website
  • Information architecture, organizing your website
  • Navigation
  • Coding your site, proper X/HTML, CSS
  • Creating accessible websites
  • Optimization. Javascript and CSS, images, minimizing URLs
  • Search engine Optimization, avoid being banned
  • Design
  • Testing, usability,accessibility testing
  • Preparing for launch
  • Post Launch follow-up, collecting data
  • E-commerce Check-lists

This book arrived while I was deep into developing SimcoeDining.com, a search engine website and I decided to see how well my design was stacking up against the points made in the book. Lets say it reminded me of a few things and taught me more than a few tips. That's to say, even if you are an experienced designer, I'll bet you'll learn at least a few semi-obscure tips (like following your directory names with a slash to help the server figure out you're not referring to a file but a directory in chapter 11). As well, the chapters on optimizing looks at a wide range of optimization, from writing shorter CSS to writing HTML/CSS that is user-friendly and light, proper use of tables, and not creating reader problems.

As you read the chapters you get the idea that a whole lot of experience was brought to bare- looking at the footnotes on just about every page, they are full of references to other sources readers might investigate if they wish to learn more about a particular point.

The book itself is quite simple, no colour, mostly black and white pages with a simple layout. This is the kind of book that has the look of university course notes, that's not a criticism, but it doesn't look as pretty as similar books might- though it you see past this, then you'll discover a book that should make it onto any web designer's desk.

Date published: 12-Dec-2006

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