Web Design, 7e (In Easy Steps)

Author: Sean McManus
Publisher: Easy Steps, 7th Ed, 2023
Pages: 228
ISBN: 978-1840789850
Print: 1840789859
Kindle: B0C24YV788
Rating: 4
Reviewed by: Sue Gee
Web design without a designer - is it possible?

The first part of the book is all about web design - what makes a good looking web site that is easy to use. One of the first topics covered is the diversity of devices people could use to visit your website. Not content with computer, iPhone/cell phone, iPad/tablet device and games console Sean McManus extends the list to a screenreader to read web pages aloud to blind people and a refreshable Braille display which can be read by touch. This is followed by a discussion of how devices affect design and later on a section on accessibility principles for making a site easy to use. The section ends with steps for setting up a website - and these are expanded on in the following sections.


Planning is the first step and is the topic of Section 2 which starts by exploring the purpose of the website, identifying its existing competitors and considering its potential audience. The section also covers hosting the website and selecting a domain name and concludes with two pages on working with web designers - the alternative to designing the website for yourself.

Section 3 deals with creating content. The first couple of pages review some ideas for content, it then looks at how writing for the web differs from printed documentation followed by a page of sensible tips. It then moves on to images including photos. At a rather different level it then looks at compressing images and then changes tack again with adding a video and a Google map to your site. 

Layout and Design is considered in the next section - mentioning the goals that website design needs to achieve starting with "inspire visitors to look around your site and spend time there", it goes on to discuss the problem of not knowing how large a user's the web browser will be. Then the discussion becomes more practical, introducing the technique of using a grid, presenting four steps for achieving good alignment and considering what to put above and below the fold, adopting another idea from the newspaper industry. Other topics in the section are color scheme, gradients, fonts and it concludes with a consideration of the look and feel of the site. Next comes a section on navigation and this seemed to be particularly useful and coherent. It concludes with 14 tips for effective links.

The next three chapters are relatively long, each is  20 plus pages, and tackle HTML, CSS and JavaScript respectively.  Each starts with a layman's introduction answering the question "What is HTML" etc. but they ramp up fairly quickly and end up going into a level of detail that seems out of place.

The remaining chapters are relatively short and each of them covers a topic which really requires many more pages. For example, we look Content Management Systems in 10 pages which is probably the way that most beginners should go in the first place - the CMS used is WordPress. Then testing and launching, promoting your site and measuring success with analytics. All  important topics but far too briefly covered to do more than make the reader aware that these are aspects they will need to know about if they want to achieve a successful website.     

This is typical and the overall verdict has to be that it tries to cover far too much ground in far too few pages. If you want a rapid overview then it might be a good place to start, but you will need another book, more realistically a number of books and be ready to learn.


Modern Fortran

Author: Milan Curcic
Publisher: Manning
Date: November 2020
Pages: 416
ISBN: 978-1617295287
Print: 1617295280
Audience: Fortran programmers
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Mike James
Not your parents' Fortran?

Racket Programming the Fun Way

Author: James W. Stelly
Publisher: No Starch Press
Date: January 2021
Pages: 360
ISBN: 978-1718500822
Print: 1718500823
Kindle: B085BW4J16
Audience: Developers interested in Racket
Rating: 4
Reviewer: Mike James
If you have ever wanted to Lisp then try Racket.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 November 2023 )