Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Web Design Workshop

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I have done a bit of web design here and there from 1994 or so. And I tried out most of the fads of those periods (blink tags, frames, tables, CSS, only skipping Flash in the list of atrocities), settling for ‘standards’ based design as the new millennium began. That way of working is quite good and has provided a reasonably stable way of working over the years.

Even though I think I can handle most design challenges with HTML and CSS, … with the exception of implementing submenus that work in both horizontal and vertical menus which have (a) variable width, (b) are not floated, (c) don’t use elaborate JavaScript and (d) work in all common browsers - baffle me with your solution for that! and I can read the HTML and CSS specs, from time to time I wonder whether there isn’t a good book on the subject. Particularly one that actually addresses the biggest practical obstacle in web design, Internet Explorer compatibility, in a way that explains what’s going on. While I have grown an intuition that lets me anticipate IE FAIL and avoid it right away, I still fail to predict all of those cases or the odd situation where elements may be invisible and need another position:relative to be displayed reliably.

Cover of Web Design Workshop And whenever I get that urge I’ll look at random books. The most recent advice I can offer from doing that is that it’s a good idea to avoid the title Web Design Workshop by Robin Williams. While the book claims to be for people who know the basics, their measure for the basics is fairly low; Slightly above unassisted breathing. The graphics on their chapter title pages are awful and it’s not so easy to spot the correct and useful hints between the useless blabber and Photoshop love. Perhaps the fact that their first sections are ‘A visual glossary’, ‘Clip Art, Stock Images, and Groovy Fonts’ and ‘Spiff up Your Photographs’ are enough of a hint that the library wasted money here.

Perhaps the book wouldn’t have been too bad in the mid 1990s as it at least attempts to put a bit of focus on the structure of a web page as well. But seeing that it was published in 2002, ruins even that point and turns it into a waste of trees.

October 25, 2009, 15:02

Tagged as book, design, web design.

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