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Learning Web Design 2nd Edition Jennifer Niederst
Published by O'Reilly and Associates
ISBN:0-596-00484-2
454 pages
£ 28.50
Published: 15th July 2003
reviewed by Lindsay Marshall
   in the December 2003 issue (pdf), (html)
bookcover  

I do like this book. I liked the first edition, and I liked the author's other books. They are models of what textbooks should be : clear, concise, nice to look at, useful and correct. This is a larger format book than most O'Reilly texts and the extra space is used to great advantage with lots of sidebar notes, colour illustrations and sensible, helpful information. And best of all it says, in black and white, on page 7, ``Writing HTML is not programming'' - shout it from the rooftops.

My only quibble with the book is a lack of good coverage of accessibility issues. Advice such as ``avoid putting important text...in graphics'' is no longer acceptable. ``Don't'' is the operative word and new designers need to be made aware of the legal requirements that they may have to meet. Usability is referred to, but not accessibility and they are not the same thing. I suppose that they have to have something to put in the third edition! (No mention of validation either. Oh well)

If you know someone who wants to get started with designing websites and wants to progress quickly and reasonably far, this title is definitely for them. Get people who design bad websites to read it to, we can hope.

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