What is web design for?

What is this book for!? It’s not for me that’s for sure but it’s not for anyone. I don’t know who would read this. It starts with the same old tedious stuff you get for novice web material -history of the internet etc. Yawn. Then when the content eventually starts its mostly related to really big budget web design contracts. The guys who are doing those sites don’t need a book, that thirty pages in is still explaining what a browser is. So it goes from that to the scoping, planning, organization, user testing etc of large and complex sites. There’s nothing for the thousand’s of web designers like me and our clients who do sites for small to medium business and organizations. People who don’t have budgets for a month of research, and use cases and meetings and contracts and other crap that just doesn’t happen in grassroots web design.

I kept waiting for it to get better but it just got worse. It’s packed full of the kind of ridiculously useless common sense that always gets my goat. This nugget takes up half a page: "Clients can find designers in a variety of ways. They may have had personal contact with someone in the company, or the designer may have been recommended by a colleague. The client may know about the supplier from the trade press or work with a client in their industry. They may have found the suppliers name in the directory….." yadda yadda yadda. Might as well be saying "A designer may get up in the morning and brush their teeth. Or the designer might have a shower first".

The language throughout is fairly dubious. Lots of talk of ‘suppliers’ and ‘engineers’ and things you don’t associate with web design. Suspicions are confirmed when you get to the test cases. A few of them are unapologetically products of industrial design. What is Web Design? Well It’s not a bloody Arm band Sensor that’s for sure! I thought it might get interesting when I got to the test cases but they very quickly end up sounding like minutes from a boring meeting and aren’t greatly insightful.

In this industry a 4 year old book would be extremely dated and trust me it is, it looks and reads like a ten year old book but that’s still no excuse for all the elements that make it such a useless book. I wouldn’t be so harsh if I just made a bad purchase, and it wasn’t for me but like I said at the start – this book isn’t for anyone! I bought this alongside its more recommended big *sister What is Design For? I’m still interested in reading about good web design practice and theory, but this is a bad start! I suppose I’ve only myself to blame for such a hasty internet purchase.

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