At the core of Designing Web Usability, and two thirds of it by page-count, are chapters on page, content, and site design. The first covers cross-platform design, the importance of minimising response times, how to use links effectively, and the advantages and disadvantages of style-sheets and frames. The second covers writing for the web, micro-content (titles, headlines and so forth), and multimedia content (images, animation, audio, and video). The last covers navigation, home pages ("splash screens must die"), search support, and "URL design". Other chapters cover special usability issues with intranets, accessibility for users with disabilities, and internationalisation and localisation; in a final chapter Nielsen takes a stab at predicting the future of the Web.
Because Designing Web Usability addresses underlying ideas rather than specific technologies, it will date far less rapidly than most books on web publishing. It doesn't contain as much as its four hundred pages would suggest, since a lot of space is used for screen shots of example web pages. (These are not, however, gratuitous, as is often the case with books on HTML.) Web publishing is very different to paper publishing, but Designing Web Usability is a high quality, usable book — only a few minor things got past the proof-readers.
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- Related reviews:
- Jakob Nielsen - Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed
- books about the Internet
- books about publishing
- books published by New Riders
- other "best book" selections