Designing Websites for Every Audience

by Joe Gillespie — Jul 1, 2003

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.

The 'before' examples demonstrate some of the common mistakes made by Web designers who haven't paid too much attention to how other, ordinary people will interact with their pages.

The 'make-over' designs show how the pages can be vastly improved with just a little thought. Ilise discusses layout and typography, readability and graphics optimisation offering useful tips on how to avoid the usual traps.

Ultimately, the navigation is clearer, the pages don't take so long to load and the information is presented in a more logical, hierarchical manner - which all results in a better user-experience.

'Usability' doesn't mean having to compromise your design. It is mostly just good common sense - when it's pointed out to you. The 'after' designs look much cleaner and more inviting.

The book itself is beautifully presented in full colour throughout. It's easy to read and any Web designer, regardless of experience, will benefit from its insight and gems of advice.

Designing Websites for Every Audience
Author Ilise Benun
Publisher O'Reilly & Associates
Publisher How Design Books
ISBN 1-581180-301-X
Price $34.99 (Amazon $24.49)
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