“The Web Designer’s Roadmap” by Giovanni DiFeterici; O’Reilly Media

One of the difficulties of designing any interface, whether it is for the web, for a mobile device, or for desktop software is knowing where to start, how to get the ideas, and how to turn those ideas into an effective interface design. The Web Designer’s Roadmap is a handy book to read for anyone trying to get to grips with how to design an interface. Although the focus is on web site design, the techniques described, and the experiences of the author and other practitioners will be of value to anyone who is new or has an interest in the process. Rather than describing interface elements, this book discusses techniques and the everyday activities and experiences of a web designer.

There are chapters that provide a background to design from an art perspective and from a functional perspective, providing some insight into user experience elements such as interaction design and information architecture, and design patterns. Techniques for coming up with ideas, gathering resources, and then modelling those ideas from wireframes and thumbnails, through to the final designs are provided. The chapters also have handy links to more resources, including galleries of example designs, colour palettes, useful applications, and design patterns. The majority of the chapters also include relevant quotes from design gurus that back up the experiences of the author.

Through the different chapters, a website is designed from brief to final mockups, using the different techniques discussed to provide an ongoing example of how to complete the process, how to get a design concept and inspiration, and what different materials might be produced along the way.

The book is written in an easy to read style, and I mostly found it interesting to hear about the thought processes that the author goes through when creating designs, in addition to the descriptions and examples of the techniques. Although there are lots of examples in the book, I would have liked to have seen more in order to see a greater range and variety of designs and outputs from each technique and stage.  I think this book would be of most use to students interested in pursuing interface design, and others who work have ended up doing this kind of activity without having had any formal training (myself included).

Here is a link to the O’Reilly product page.

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