WPDFD Issue #64 - July 01, 2003
A very touchy subject this month. It's all very well coming up with a knockout design, but at some stage, you have to sell it to the client. Some designers like to show the client several alternative designs where others prefer to show only one and make a very good case as to why it is the 'right' one. A lot of this comes down to experience and confidence. Giving the client alternative designs to choose from might seem like a good way to hedge your bets.
Being able to sell your designs to clients is a fundamental part of the graphic design business. Having your design work rejected by a client is bad for the ego and for the bank balance. It either means spending more time to come up with an acceptable solution or taking a much reduced fee and losing the business altogether. Obviously, neither situation is satisfactory - from anyone's point of view.
No, this book is not about pandering to the lowest common denominator. I don't think any single Web site is aimed at everybody. Instead, it takes six different kinds of site and shows how they can be made more user-friendly. There are twenty-five case studies ranging from hard-nose business sites to ones that are just for fun. Most of the case studies show 'before' and 'after' situations. In each instance, the deficiencies of the old design are analysed and goals for improvements set out.
There are a lot of books about CSS on the bookshelves these days. I reviewed several others three months ago. Each one covers some common ground but takes a slightly different viewpoint. Molly Holzschlag's book is certainly very thorough in its coverage of the whys and wherefores of CSS-based design and dives headlong into the deep end. It starts off explaining the principles of structured markup and CSS theory.
I have to admit, I didn't have high expectations of this book when I first picked it up. It was big, some 980 pages, cheap, had that pulpy 'dime novel' smell about it and no author's name to give it credence. Inside, I was pleasantly surprised. It is big because it covers a lot of ground. It is cheap for the simple reason that it is printed on cheap paper and looks like it uses freebie clip art for the illustrations.
Microsoft has officially announced that it is abandoning development of Internet Explorer for Mac (and the standalone Windows version too, but that's another story). Apart from some minor updates, there will be no IE 6 for Mac. Citing the success of Safari and the advantage Apple has in integrating the browser's codebase with the operating system, MS feel that they can no longer justify the development costs.