Author: Elliot Jay Stocks
Publisher: Sitepoint, 2009
Aimed at: Anyone involved in web design
Pros: Expert advice delivered as easy read with lots of pictures
Cons: Does not include any programming
Reviewed by: Sue Gee
According to Jina Bolton, the expert reviewer who contributes the Foreword to this book, "sexy web design is all about the details - every intricate, delicate particular." However while this book does go into details of aspects such as navigation styles, typefaces and borders it is also about the entire process of designing a web site - and it stops short of turning the design into a functioning web site.
In the introductory chapter, "Interfaces are sexy" Elliot Jay Stocks states the premise that websites are interfaces - i.e. they are essentially interactive - and goes on to review the key stages of the design process. The rest of the book proceeds through these stages with a hypothetical project - although many "real" websites are cited as examples along the way. The brief for the website is discussed in Chapter 2 which covers "Research" and is about inspiration as well as about the practicalities of finding out what the client wants from the website. The following chapter is on website structure and promotes the idea of diagrams for sitemaps. It goes on to consider the placement of elements on the various web pages and, having devised a basic template, produces variants for each of the six web pages required. Next comes a chapter on "Navigation and Interaction" and there are many attractive design ideas here that you'll be impressed with.
"Aesthetics" is the topic of Chapter 5 and it touches on principles such as the Golden Ratio and the Rule of Thirds before discussing fixed, fluid and elastic layouts and the use of grids - including when to breakout of the grid. A section on "The Artistic Layer" considers mood and atmosphere, looks at the role of colour and discusses contrast and consistency. This chapter also looks at imagery and typography. The final short chapter, "Deliverables" is about producing mockups, images and styles guides for the client to approve before the web site is finally developed - which is beyond the scope of this book.