What does it take to become a Web designer? Find out from Jennifer Niederst, one of the most experienced Web designers around. She's been designing commercial sites since 1993! Aimed squarely at beginners, the book assumes no previous knowledge of the Internet and guides you through each of the key components of conventional Web design.
"I wrote Web Design in a Nutshell because it was the book I needed as a professional Web designer. Learning Web Design is the book I wished I had to give out as a coursebook to my classes on beginning Web design."
There's nothing here experience developers haven't seen before, but this is one of the few books that you can hand to beginning Web designers and be confident they'll be on the right track.
I have two minor quibbles with the book. The author keeps referring to style sheets, but gives them little coverage in the last chapter. Jennifer says that based on her years of teaching beginners aren't ready for CSS yet, and can barely handle HTML:
"I've gotten similar comments about the lack of CSS in the book. It was a tough decision where to cut the line for "beginners," especially since I am so pro-standards (style separate from content and all that) myself.
But in the end, it came down to audience. I based the decision on my experience teaching beginning web design courses. The people who sign up for my classes (the same people who might buy this beginners book) are NOT ready to handle style sheets. They think that Netscape owns the Internet. Even simple HTML tagging is fairly overwhelming to them. And frankly, for the types of sites they are trying to learn to make (personal sites, small organization sites, etc.), creating standard-compliant code with style information in CSS is overkill. They just want an overview of how to make sites. I teach them practical techniques that work today but make reference to style sheets as a more robust and "proper" way to go. I also provide pointers on where they can learn more about CSS on their own.
Keep in mind that the book is intended as an introduction (albeit a darn thorough one) to Web design for absolute beginners. The professional set will get a lot more out of Web Design in a Nutshell which covers CSS more thoroughly."
So I can see now why she emphasizes tables. My other quibble is in a minor technical error in the GIF compression/optimization section. The author says "GIF compression works by condensing rows of identical pixel colors." This is not technically correct, LZW works by condensing rows of identical pixel *patterns,* which would include identical colors. Jennifer says this is intended to be "a layman's description of LZW compression" as she's done in her past books.
Other than these two minor quibbles the book is a great introduction for fledgling Web designers. From WebReference.com.