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Designing Websites for Every Audience cover shot

HOW Design Books
(January 2003)

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Designing Websites for Every Audience

HTML Source Review

While almost every book on the subject of web design can claim to run you through the rigours of HTML, CSS and the rest; very few put much stock in showing you how to design a usable, functional website. Ilise Benun’s Designing Websites for Every Audience has this goal as top priority, and through example and explanation will guide you through the process of creating a stylish, useful site design, tailored towards your prospected audience.

Introing with a candid look at the fundamentals of web usability, it is in the second part of this book that it starts taking an original angle on the subject. We are shown specific, in-depth analyses of living websites. These take the form of 25 case-studies, sorted by the type of user that the sites are trying to appeal to — whether they be Learners, Shoppers, Connection Seekers, Transactors, Business Browsers or Fun Seekers.

Each site design is taken in isolation, usually with reference to large, full-colour screenshots of the site before and after it was given a usability overhaul. The redesign’s goals, and motivations for certain design decisions are expanded upon with interview quotes from the people who put these decisions into practice — the designers and coders behind the sites themselves. Interspersed with these synopses are practical tips on topics such as typography, photography and Flash design.

In each case the discussion emphasises how form always follows function — the aesthetics of a site will always be born out of the practical needs of a particular design. The elements that work and don’t work for each user-group are highlighted; but more importantly the reasons why these approaches succeed or fail are each expounded. The key techniques to securing returning visitors, and the good design principles that many of these sites have in common become clear as the book progresses.

The examples in this book are sure to provide inspiration for even an experienced designer. The overall message that this book enforces is that your site visitors are people — individuals with needs to be addressed and goals to be fulfilled — not just faceless statistics.

—Ross Shannon

Where you can get it

More details on Designing Websites for Every Audience at Ilise’s site.

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Ilise Benun
ISBN Number:
Chapter Listing:
  1. Why does usability matter?
  2. Learners
  3. Shoppers
  4. Connection Seekers
  5. Transactors
  6. Business Browsers
  7. Fun Seekers