Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Review: Web Design On A Shoestring

I wanted very much to like Carrie Bickner's book, Web Design On A Shoestring. It has quite a lot going for it. First, it's a skinny book - and I really like skinny books. Second, it's on a topic which I still have plenty to learn about: Design (which I assumed meant Graphic Design). Finally, reading even a few pages of the book showed me that Carrie is a fun writer to read.

But, there are a few key problems with the book. First, the depth is such that as a professional, there wasn't a lot of new information to pick-up. It's clearly targeted to the amateur audience, which is probably a good thing. Thankfully, I don't need to be told that requirements are important or what scope creep is. If you do, this book is for you.

Second, the book is clearly dated. It was published in 2004, which by Internet standards was nearly ancient history. Back in 04 the debate was still on between font tags and CSS. Good news, CSS won. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of timeless advice in the book and the author is arguing for Standards Compliance, which is in fact the style of the day. But, don't expect to see the latest arguments play out in this text.

In terms of a recommendation, I'd say that if you (a) can get the book cheap and (b) want another advocate for building an on-the-cheap website, by all means pick up the book. Just take the technical advice with a grain of salt. The motivational and inspirational parts of the book are still quite accurate.

I give it a 4/10 for being close, but not quite there.


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