never wanted to design my own web site.
I write and edit hypertext fiction for a living, I code
HTML at work, I see at least fifty web sites a day, and certainly have
the storage space available to put up a site, (there is free web hosting
everywhere, it seems). Even with all the resources and tools available
to me, the desire was not there. Instead of the usual, "I don't know where
to start" attitude that keeps one from beginning a project, I didn't know
why to start.
I read three chapters of Jeffrey Veen's book, The Art
& Science of Web Design, and the next day I was coding my own
The book is about the "why?" of Web design. While there
are examples of HTML code and technical explanations, more of the book
is concerned with how a person reads a Web page, and how a Web designer
can improve the reader's experience. The book is less a manual than it
is an inspirational text. Veen is equally energetic whether he's tracing
the history of HTML, the Web, and Web design, or explaining how the
size> tag works in different browsers.
"I just walked you through a very detailed description
what the script was doing is much more interesting than how it accomplished
the task. And that's what I want you to focus on."
His knowledge and generosity show on every page, as he
uses his own experiences to clarify his design concerns. He writes with
a friendly and earnest voice, even when he discusses what he thinks is
wrong with current Web design:
"Good design comes from not only knowing your
subject matter, but from an intimate knowledge of your audience. As it
turns out, the same is true for good advertising . On the Web, then, targeted
advertising and targeted user interfaces are the same thing. And the same
profiling strategies can apply to both. But to fully exploit either, we'll
need to think about Web design in a much more dynamic way.
Until then, we're stuck with ugly advertisements
that don't work on sites desperate for traffic. Please, enough of the
shotgun approach. Market to me!"
As I gradually build my site, this book is staying next
to my computer. I'm glad to have the help.