Roger Black, whose life in print included art direction and redesigns of magazines as diverse as Rolling Stone, Newsweek, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine, has for the last several years turned his designs on the World Wide Web. Web Sites That Work, the product of his years of thinking about (and practicing) the principles of design for print, and exploring the similarities and differences between print and web design, is an indispensable guide for readers interested in ensuring that their web sites have the best possible effect. He frames the quest succinctly in the introduction: "Web sites that work are sites that do what you want to do. They don't insult your intelligence, but neither do they obfuscate. They must indicate the wealth of material that lies behind that first screen, but also allow you options and alternate means of approach."
Basing his guide on the simple but all-too-often overlooked principle that the Web is primarily a visual medium, and is thus even more dependent on design concepts than print-based publications are, Black and cowriter Sean Elder provide the reader with a different approach to web design. Beginning with a basic primer of design principles ("Rules That Work") and adding a complementary set of guidelines for making the most of any online publication ("What Not to Do on the Web"), Black and a team of designers at Interactive Bureau teach by example. This provocative, stunningly designed guide illustrates the best of Black's notions about the uses of image, color, typography, and layout.
ButWeb Sites That Work also acknowledges, in its very title, that most sites are not simply about design but about using that design to accomplish work. Black and Elder include in their guide a set of detailed case studies of companies whose web sites have proven successful, along with tips on setting up Internet design and production teams and an explanation of the steps from inception to launch. Black's insights about transactions conducting business on the Web along with his bold predictions about the future of interactive technology, are a must-read for anyone hoping to utilize this exploding new medium.