If you have read as many web design books as I have you find that they fall into basically two categories:
- The ones in which the author waxes on about how wonderful they are at design, show off page after page of their own portfolio. The entire book becomes a publicity fest.
- Then there is the type of book that is presented in a level headed manner, it is a great reference of the step by step process that web designers go through to product a web site.
The thing that I really like about this book is that it is to the point, it’s not overly weighty on the design theory, as it assumes you already have some of that skill locked away already. However this book would still be ideal for a beginning designer.
Was it personally useful for me, well I’ll be honest, no it wasn’t. While I was reading this book I was just ticking off the points made one by one, noting that in reality there was nothing that I hadn’t already gained from experience. Now I have been doing this a long time, so I do get this a lot. But it is good to know that Elliot in mu mind has covered off all the aspects of web design.
The book is divided into 6 chapters.
- Overview of the design process, in which the design goals of an interface and the overall process are discussed.
- Design Research, this chapter was so welcome, explaining why the brief is important, moving onto the design inspirational process.
- Site Structure, being involved with information architecture, I’m going to have a little bit of a bias here. It’s nice to see the consideration of this design element before jumping into the high resolution design.
- Navigation and Interaction, again I’m bias here, Elliot runs through a whistle stop tour of the common web interactive elements, and what works where and when.
- Aesthetics, in this solid chapter Elliot looks at the usual design techniques, the grid, layout types (fixed, fluid, flexible, etc), color, mood boards, imagery types, typography and the impact of emotion on the overall user experience. In a way this book is well worth its cost for this chapter alone.
- Final wrap is with the Deliverables, so now you have that sexy design, how do you organise your Photoshop layers, deliver that mockup, slice the design quickly and write that style guide, well in this chapter Elliot tells us how.
I have yet to read the perfect book. This one had a few things that annoyed me, there was one instance where I thought the layout of the pages could have been executed in a different manor. But overall that was a minor point. Nothing that I would discount the book for.
Sexy Web Design is by in large a good reference book.
Full of little hints and tips that will help all but crusty old designers like me. And even then if you have had your eye off the ball for an instant, I bet you will still get something out of this book.
Now if you are looking for a Photoshop guide or a CSS design book, this is not for you, this is about design!
So if you have a design flare, and need to know how to design web sites then this is the book for you.