My Book reviews /

The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

Title The Principles of Beautiful Web Design
Authors Jason Beaird
Publisher SitePoint
Date 2010-12-05
Pages 170
ISBN 098057689X

I read this book because I am trying to educate myself in the area of web technologies. As some people mentioned in their reviews of this book, it bridges important gap between pure mortals and web designers. It is nicely written, in a fluent and ironic style. Still, the book maintains a logical attitude toward art of web design. From the very beginning, I liked the fact that table of contents includes only 5 parts, which makes it possible to keep global picture in mind as you make your way through this book. They are:

  • Layout and composition
  • Color
  • Texture
  • Typography
  • Imagery

Roughly speaking, these parts correspond to steps one needs to make when building a new web site. Being organized is essential to making it through such a complicated process as building a web site. Each chapter describes some techniques professional designers use. But the explanation is simplified as much as possible, so that people of various backgrounds can easily follow. The downside is that the book sounds way too elementary every now and then. For example, it spends a fair amount of time describing some CSS properties. There are tons of CSS guides on the Internet, you really donтАЩt have to write a book about it. The good thing is that each step is illustrated by screenshots of web sites that author belives are good representatives of certain technique.

A collection of links is provided in the end of each chapter. Many tools that facilitate web development have been developed. So if the reader wants (s)he can start exploring them right away. In paritcular, I found the following two examples to be very interesting:

  • 960 Grid System тАУ a framework for building grid layouts. I did not realize that most commerical-grade web sites use 12-16 columns in its grid. I thought that web page has 2-3 columns.

  • Color Scheme Designer тАУ a tool that helps you select a color scheme based on theory of harmony (which color pairs with which). Then you can grab the resulting palette and colorize your web site.

So, I found the first few chapters to be rather interesting, but the rest of the book to be rather dull. The good thing is that you can treat this book as a potpourri of essays which you can read in any order. If you donтАЩt want to read about Textures for example then you can easily skip it. To summarize, this book is a good example of recreational reading for a computer geek.