Head First Web Design
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: December 2008
Pages: 500

Want to know how to make your pages look beautiful, communicate your message effectively, guide visitors through your website with ease, and get everything approved by the accessibility and usability police at the same time? Head First Web Design is your ticket to mastering all of these complex topics, and understanding what's really going on in the world of web design.

Whether you're building a personal blog or a corporate website, there's a lot more to web design than div's and CSS selectors, but what do you really need to know? With this book, you'll learn the secrets of designing effective, user-friendly sites, from customer requirements to hand-drawn storyboards all the way to finished HTML and CSS creations that offer an unforgettable online presence.

The revised two-color edition of this book includes a free online version of the chapter on web color. You can easily access this chapter at Oreilly.com once you register your book.

Your time is way too valuable to waste struggling with new concepts. Using the latest research in cognitive science and learning theory to craft a multi-sensory learning experience, Head First Web Design uses a visually rich format specifically designed to take advantage of the way your brain really works.

Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews

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oreillyHead First Web Design
 
3.1

(based on 7 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

50%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to understand (3)
  • Helpful examples (3)
  • Well-written (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Novice (4)
    • Student (3)

    Reviewed by 7 customers

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    1.0

    Yawn.

    By Third Career

    from New York City

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

      Cons

      • Not comprehensive enough

      Best Uses

        Comments about oreilly Head First Web Design:

        I loved the HTML & CSS course, so I expected to love this design course. The authors may have followed the same formula, but this is not an engaging course. They skip over complex subjects and go on forever about content that is understood in one or two sentences. I'm a beginner at design and much of this course is too basic. Some of it is even ridiculous, like this statement in chapter 8, "Computers are stupid!" I'm slugging through this boring material only because there might be tidbits of useful information, and there have been, but I'm not enjoying it. I cannot even compel myself to do most of the exercises, because they are pointless. Plus, the material seems dated already. It might have been easier to do an internet search on each chapter's subject matter and read a recent blog on it. I already know there's more up-to-date info on serif vs san-serif fonts. And I did not need a long, drawn out chapter on how to reduce text content to headings and lists to make them more readable. [sigh] Four more chapters to go.

         
        4.0

        Easy to read

        By Jeroen

        from Paris, France

        About Me Developer, Maker

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy to understand
        • Helpful examples
        • Well-written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Novice

          Comments about oreilly Head First Web Design:

          I am completely new to web desing and this book gave me a good introduction. The Head First format is fun to read and at the same time esnures that the information sticks. If some day I would really start doing web design I would probably get a few more books, but for starters this book was great.

          (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

           
          1.0

          Very Disappointing... Black and White

          By Color-lover

          from Daytona Beach Florida

          Comments about oreilly Head First Web Design:

          Using the "Browse" feature on this website, beautiful full-color pages are displayed. Close reading of the description reveals that this edition is "two-color," and the book begins by addressing this, claiming that the lack of color is to keep our costs down. The price of the book remains $49.99, same as the original color edition. As far as "two-color" goes, the book is printed in black ink on white paper... There is not a drop of non-black ink anywhere in the book besides the cover--which two colors they think they have used, I do not know. We are pointed to a "FREE" color version of a single chapter available online. Wow, thanks. If I wanted to read the book online, the price of this book would give me free access online via Creative Edge to it and thousands of other titles for 2.5 months.

          (4 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

           
          2.0

          Disappointing

          By MrWhooHoo

          from Greenbrae, CA

          About Me Designer

          Verified Reviewer

          Pros

          • Good rules of thumb

          Cons

          • Content-light
          • Not comprehensive enough
          • Too basic

          Best Uses

          • Novice
          • Student

          Comments about oreilly Head First Web Design:

          I've used several of the HF books, but I don't think this particular topic really lends itself to the HF style. There are 6 or 7 Really Good Ideas in the book, but they are separated by some quite thin material and could have been spelt out in 1/10th of the pages. If you have never confronted web *design* as opposed to coding, then this book will tell you the difference and give you a few rules of thumb and techniques. But, unlike other HF books, it is content-light and doesn't give the brain a real work-out. The material is thin enough that the book doesn't serve as a reference work either. Borrow from a library with a couple of other good O'Reilly books is the simplest way I can sum this up.

          (4 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Exactly What I've Been Needing

          By Will Mellon Graphic Design

          from Toledo, Ohio

          About Me Designer

          Pros

          • Accurate
          • Concise
          • Easy to understand
          • Helpful examples
          • Well-written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Novice
            • Student

            Comments about oreilly Head First Web Design:

            This book is so cleverly written. It is intriguing and teaches anyone needing to break into or freshen up on their web design skills with a solid step-by-step design solution. Say goodbye to cold and dull information and welcome a book that fully engages the student.

            (12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Web design for programmers

            By CT

            from Salt Lake City, Utah

            About Me Developer

            Verified Reviewer

            Pros

            • Easy to understand
            • Helpful examples
            • Well-written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Intermediate
              • Novice
              • Student

              Comments about oreilly Head First Web Design:

              I am comfortable with XHTML & CSS. I have done web development using JSP and ASP, and have a little exposure to .NET. I wanted to understand web design to expand my knowledge for building websites. I want to build websites for real customers. "Head First Web Design" was exactly what I needed. This book is for people who want to do some web design, but also want to see the code and write the code that generates the web pages. It is not for people who want to do web design strictly using Frontpage and Dreamweaver without ever seeing the code behind.I have read "Head First Java" and I enjoyed the Head First series format. It seems kind of trivial the first time that you pick up a Head First book, but when I got into one, it worked for me. The combination of illustrations, pictures, notes, sidebars and so forth is quite engaging. The writing style is no nonsense about helping you learn, but it uses humor to keep your attention.The first couple of chapters show you how to put down the website idea in words, sketches and hand drawn storyboards. Coders want to write code, at least a little prototype to show the customer what they can do. "Head First Web Design" gives examples of how that takes a lot more time, causes a lot more backtracking and a lot more frustration for you and the customer. I know from experience that if you do that demo, once you put an idea into code, people expect it to actually work. The book shows you how to listen to what the customer wants, have the customer put it in writing, and then you pull out paper and pencil, colored pencils are even more fun, and sketch out your understanding of what they said as you interpret it into a website. In an hour, or a few hours, you can sketch several options. You show the customer, get their approval and you are off to the next step. If you are not quite in agreement with the customer yet, it doesn't take long to re-sketch the idea. If you think that paper and pencil is too prehistoric, they also have suggestions for free software optimized for web design that you can use instead for your sketching.Watrall and Siarto explain Information Architecture, "IA is the process by which you break your website's content into chunks and then organize those chunks hierarchically in relation to one another in a way that's logical." Chapter 3 has a cool technique of writing the chunks on 3 x 5 cards, grouping the cards together, writing a word for each group on a card, and voila ... you have the organization of your website with labels for the navigation system.Chapters 4 and 5 get into the graphic arts part of web design. The last time I did anything artistic was a drawing class that I HAD to take in seventh grade. "Head First Web Design" explained things like the "golden ratio" and "color wheels." I am for sure going to find a true graphic artist for the serious stuff, but at least I feel like I gained an appreciation for some of the important things that make a web page appealing or make it ugly.Smart navigation, chapter 6, was back on ground more familiar to me with a discussion of tabs, links, block-style navigation and so on. They had some good examples on how to use CSS to implement the layouts. The chapter was rounded out with a thoughtful discussion of how and how not to use icons.Programmers write code, but they don't generally like to write documentation or other forms of prose. Chapter 7 told about writing for the web. People have a tendency to scan web pages quickly and move on if something doesn't grab their attention. Watrall and Siarto coach you on how to put the most important things first, compress your copy, use lists, mix fonts and use headings to catch the eye and make your copy easy to scan and read.Accessibility and listening to your users are subjects without a lot of sex appeal, but if you want to avoid shooting yourself in the foot, you need to read chapters 8 and 9. [@] To find out more about your user, they explained how to use surveys, focus groups and website analytic tools.Chapter 10, evolutionary design, talks about keeping your site fresh. "Head First Web Design" takes examples that were fairly well developed earlier in the book and then they show how you can freshen them up. I see websites that don't look like they have been touched since 1999. And then, I go to websites where I felt comfortable and they don't even look like the same site, because they have been completely redone. The book helps you to think through doing small improvements on a regular basis. Keep the visitors interested, but don't make them feel lost. I thought the tips on how to use JavaScript lightboxes was real cool.Are you ever going to make money by doing web design? Then chapter 11, the business of web design is a must read. The book covered how to deal with people that try to rip off your design. There was an easy quiz to see what kind of role, front-end designer, copywriter, programmer, and so on, that you prefer in the web design universe. They showed how to estimate and charge for your work. Oh! How I love the making money part.Warning! Once you have read a Head First book, you may never be able to go back to reading "The Art of Computer Programming" again. I definitely recommend "Head First Web Design" to all of my fellow programmers who want to get a grip on the more artistic side of the business.

              (7 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

               
              4.0

              Easy read. Only for beginners.

              By Edmonton Linux User Group

              from Edmonton

              Comments about oreilly Head First Web Design:

              Similar to the only other book in the Head First series that I read (Head

              First HTML with CSS & XHTML), this book is a very easy read. It is

              graphical and not filled with big technical words that just prove to be

              confusing.

              If you're already a web designer, looking for a reference book, this book

              is not for you. (In that case I would recommend CSS Cookbook). This book

              is meant more for developers who are already comfortable with HTML & CSS

              that would like to take a crack at designing standards compliant websites.

              However, this book could be a good refresher if you are a designer who has

              been out of the industry for a while.

              By reading this book, you won't learn the fundamentals of design, but more

              so on how to evaluate a site based on usability. It focuses largely on the

              workflow someone should get accustomed to. There are lots of different

              activities, not forcing you to sit through a book long tutorial. However,

              it is not recommended to skip any of these lessons.

              Another good feature is that all of the required files are online, so as

              long as you have an internet connection, you're good to go.

              Reviewed by ELUG (http://elug.ca/reviews/head_first_web_design.shtml)

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