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  1. #26
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    Indeed it is helpful. I figured the question was on the general side and wasn't sure anyone could answer it. Thanks for your reply.

    Are the books you recommend listed in order of importance?

    RVC

  2. #27
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Well they weren't listed in any particular order but if you wanted an order I would recommend reading I would probably go with...

    Web Accessibility (FriendsOfED) - This covers a lot of stuff you will be familar with such as HTML except that it talks about how to design sites so that disabled visitors (such as those with visual impairments) can make use of your design well... basically it's a heavy duty guide to meeting Section 508, WCAG, WAI guidelines etc. - Which of course is important to design by ensuring everyone can access your site, no matter their impairment.
    Don't Make Me Think! (New Riders) - Pretty much the industry standard handbook to usability, it's a short read but gives all the basic advice you need to designing around your customers needs, so like the above book but focused on how easy to browse your site is rather than how accessible it is.
    Universal Principles of Design (Rockport) - This book has close to 100 general principles of design, stuff like psychology, models, and general guidelines of how people percieve design in general, if your looking for something you can measure factors against, it's a very good read.
    The Design of Sites (Prentice Hall) - This book covers design patterns (basically what people expect to see on websites) and some great tips on designing certain elements of a site to make it as visible as possible. It's a huge book (like phonebook huge) but it has a wealth of useful patterns found in web design.
    Designing Web Usability (New Riders) - This is much alike Don't make me think, except it's more indepth and covers a lot of fresh ground on top, it's based around usability so again it's about making your site as easy as possible for the visitor.

    If you wanted a book recommendation about making your designs look physically attractive I can also recommend The Zen of CSS Design (New Riders), I don't know if you are aware of the CSS Zen Garden but this is essentially their book on the subject and it talks about how a bunch of those designs were made and how they used CSS to make everything look great. Essentially the cornerstones of design are... Accessibility / Usability / Attractiveness / Conventions / Patterns.

  3. #28
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    Thanks Alex - lot's of good info here!

    I am familiar with some of the books you describe and have already been considering Don't Make Me Think and The Design of Sites. Guess I'll take the plunge and start with one of them, and see what happens.

    I am also familiar with cssZenGarden and am reviewing the code for several of those designs. It's quite an education observing how the pros do things. I have read that the book doesn't contain much more than what you can download from their site. Your mentioning them would indicate this is not the case?

    I appreciate the time you put into your response. It's very helpful.

    RVC

  4. #29
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Well the Zen of CSS Design book explains the underlying process, if your well equipped with writing HTML and CSS you will probably find much of it repeating what you know, but as a design book explaining the choices and methodology to achieving effect's its second to none.

  5. #30
    SitePoint Zealot Norebbo's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I can add more to what has already been said, but I would like to say that first impressions are important. Really important. I can't tell you how many times I've visited a site, looked at it for all of about 2 seconds, then hit the back button.

    If a site doesn't look clean and organized, I'm not going to waste my time. What really yanks my chain is text. Lots and lots and lots of text. Nobody (including me) is going to read all that! Keep your pages clean and light, add appropriate colors and graphics to balance it out. If you do need to display a lot of text, keep it relegated to specific pages - not the homepage.

  6. #31
    SitePoint Addict reboltutorial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waqyum View Post
    Is website design an important aspect for getting high traffic?
    Well if not we would just use a text browser

  7. #32
    SitePoint Addict Newviewit's Avatar
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    If you base your business off of new customers then then design takes on less importance.

    If you want return customers then design is very important.

    If you want to sell products design is important

    If you want to make money from advertising, or in any way have a successful website then design and customer experience are everything!
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  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    Well the Zen of CSS Design book explains the underlying process, if your well equipped with writing HTML and CSS you will probably find much of it repeating what you know, but as a design book explaining the choices and methodology to achieving effect's its second to none.
    Thanks Alex and others. I appreciate the help.

    RVC

  9. #34
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    No not in getting traffic but it does have an effect on if someone stays at your website.
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  10. #35
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    The answer is pretty simple. Design and content are important. Design, more so functionality, is where its at though. I would go for a killer design that your users would enjoy and come back to.
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  11. #36
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    Well my answer is yes in this aspect coz you cant expect traffic to stay on your website if things are messed up and if it looks shabby. In my opinion a website must be an eyecatcher.

  12. #37
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    While both of the previous answers are correct I must put something else forward as well. There is a psychological effect in design theory which passes down through psychology called attractiveness bias. The general principle of this is that humans are naturally attracted to beauty (no matter how we try and swing it), if a good looking woman walks past, mens heads turn! Now while the web isn't a beautiful woman the same principle applies. While content (in the case of a woman, personality) are what matters deep down and is the foundation of a long term relationship (with your visitors) the attractiveness of the exterior (the design) is important in engaging those initial first timers. Beauty wears off when you get to find out what is underneath the looks and with websites, what should be under is quality content. Though there is an exception to the rule which is "status", basically if you are famous you could pollute the web (or be as ugly as you like) but you will still get visitors purely on your name (Just look at Jakob Nielsons website useit.com as proof of concept).

    So in summary, the website design is very important not only in accessibility and usability but to attract people inititally and get them interested in what you are offering, if your website looks ugly from the offset the chances are most people naturally skip over and look elsewhere.
    Great analogy.


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