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an excellent book, which I have recommended to my students in Interaction Design at the RCA”
Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, Head of Department, Interaction Design, Royal College of Art, London

What is Web Design?’
(RotoVision, 2003)
ISBN 2-88046-686-5
  Published in English in the UK, US and Canada, and in French (as Guide complet du design numérique) by Pyramyd Editions. An Italian edition will be published during 2004. Spanish co-editions and Latin American distribution are planned. Online ordering:
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We will shortly be adding extensive references – pointing readers to sources of additional information, knowledge and learning – along with an extensive glossary. These will be particularly valuable for students, and for the general readers who want to better understand the subject.

If you would like to be kept informed about new features on and updates to this site please join our low-volume list. (Selecting this link will switch you to your email client.)
  Nico MacdonaldNico Macdonald has been writing about design for the Web since 1995, for renowned design publications including Eye, Blueprint, and AIGA Gain (more writing). His consultancy, Spy, focuses on design strategy and management for the Web. For a decade from the mid-80s he focused on print and editorial design, advising leading designers and publishers on IT strategy. He has been involved with Web design from its inception, and from his consulting work is familiar with many of the key tools used in Web development. In the mid-90s he co-programmed the first significant European conference on Web design, and at the end of the decade pioneered understanding of usability and user experience with the ‘Design for Usability’ conference in London, co-programmed with Jakob Nielsen. He is on the steering committee of AIGA Experience Design, and programs its London events, which constitute the most significant design series in the UK in the last decade.


What is Web Design? cover graphic
What is Web Design? builds on a decade of writing about design and technology, and draws on learning derived from programming many high-profile design events. It is based on the collective experience of a wide variety of designers the author has worked with and interviewed in his role as a design strategist and journalist.
Further information about the book can be found on the publisher’s Web site.
  To understand Web design, it is critical to understand design first and technology second. What is Web Design? develops design principles that will be as relevant to future technological developments as they are to current ones.

Although Web design is the most celebrated area of design, it draws on many other areas, and by putting it in context this book makes Web design easier to understand. Technical platforms are lucidly discussed and illustrated, and the component elements of Web design are explained and contextualised.

What is Web Design? also places Web design in the context of what is possible and the challenges presented by future technologies and scenarios of use. Awareness of these developments will equip designers to address the future effectively.
Web design does not exist in a vacuum. The client and people with the skills to help realise Web design projects are key to the process. What is Web Design? takes an objective view of these relationships, and stresses the need for designers to understand and empathise with these partners in the pursuit of a common goal.

A good idea is only as good as its final implementation. Getting to this point requires mastering many processes. This book isn't prescriptive about these processes but establishes basic principles and a step-by-step approach that will increase the chance of a project being a success. This section includes a diagram visualising a possible project workflow.
What happens when theory and process are put into practice? The book concludes by telling the stories of ten design projects, from the perspectives of the people involved in their commissioning, designing, and engineering. These case studies present material showing the development of the project – idea maps, sketches, wireframes, flow charts, design treatments, design ideas in development (and those that were rejected), and documentation – and places projects in the context of working environments.

The case studies are: Trilogy's FordDirect project, Dimension Data's site, MetaDesign's identity for The Ocean Conservancy, Cooper's interfaces for Shared Healthcare Systems, the Compass decision-making tools created by Visual I|O, a home page re-design for, the user interface design for BodyMedia's health research data retrieval and analysis software, the re-design of the BT Group Human Resources intranet by Xymbio, Contempt's eDesign magazine project, and Organic's design for the MONY Independent Network extranet.
  A RotoVision book, Published and distributed by RotoVision SA
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