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Book Review: Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists by Shirley Kaiser

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Deliver First Class Web Sites, released by SitePoint Press, is an informative and compact book, but don't let its size fool you. By using the checklist format, a whole lot of information was packed into this book. Rather than being an instruction manual, this book is a review guide.

If you're not familiar with today's web design, you'll be a bit confused. This is a book written for web designers and developers who want to produce quality web sites, not for novices. That's how the book's size was kept down while a staggering amount of instruction on all sorts of topics was squeezed in.

The checkpoints and checklists included in the book can be broken down into the following major categories:

  • Initial preparation and planning
  • Site content
  • Usability
  • Color
  • Information architecture
  • Navigation
  • Best coding practices/W3C standards and recommendations
  • Accessibility
  • Web site optimization
  • Search engine optimization
  • Design
  • Testing
  • Launch
  • Follow-up

I found myself drawn by the Color and Information Architecture sections, but all of the sections are worthwhile. They're thoroughly written, and although most of us already know (or should know) what the author's talking about, it really helps to have all of this knowledge down on paper, and in checklist format. As we're building our next great site, or reviewing our current site(s) for a re-design, going through the book helps keep us on the right track by ensuring that our attention stays focused on what's important. Remember, fluff or eye candy can be always be added as after-thoughts, but nothing can replace proper planning and a good, expandable foundation.

This book is highly recommended for all web designers and developers. Depending on the level of knowledge that each of us possesses, we may get a lot or a little from this book, but whatever we end up with will have been worth our time and money.

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