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[techbooks] REVIEW: "Web Navigation", Jennifer Fleming

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKWBNVGN.RVW 981017 Web Navigation , Jennifer Fleming, 1998, 1-56592-351-0, U$34.95/C$49.95 %A Jennifer Fleming jennifer@squarecircle.com %C 103 Morris
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 18, 1998
      BKWBNVGN.RVW 981017

      "Web Navigation", Jennifer Fleming, 1998, 1-56592-351-0,
      %A Jennifer Fleming jennifer@...
      %C 103 Morris Street, Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472
      %D 1998
      %G 1-56592-351-0
      %I O'Reilly & Associates, Inc.
      %O U$34.95/C$49.95 707-829-0515 fax: 707-829-0104 nuts@...
      %P 288 p. + CD-ROM
      %T "Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience"

      Chapter one is supposed to address the definition of "navigation" for
      the purpose of the book. Instead we have a very vague scolding of
      site designers for not paying attention to user needs. While I am in
      full agreement with the statement that Web design needs work, the
      material here doesn't seem to help, or even start to point the way.
      Most of the list of navigation principles, in chapter two, makes
      sense. However, some get too involved in the latest cute technology,
      and even fly in the face of one principle that is *not* included:
      sites should not demand specific technologies. This point is tacitly
      admitted in chapter three, where surveys of users note that demands to
      install plug-ins and instruction to enable JavaScript are not welcome.
      However, the titular subject of designing for users seems to get a bit
      lost. (There is also an odd reference to the "80/20 rule." Usually
      this refers to the Pareto principle, but here it is used to suggest
      that if 80 percent of your users are happy, that's good enough.) The
      standard suggestions for site organization are given in chapter four.
      Interaction design throws a few interesting conceptual ideas into
      chapter five, but little useful advice. Chapter six uses a standard
      planning cycle in a standard way.

      The latter half of the book looks at example sites in six different
      categories. Chapter seven reviews some retail sites, but in a very
      limited manner. For example, a major concern is said to be security.
      Reassuring a customer about security seems to be confined to stating
      "our site is secure." Similarly, several questions are raised about
      "community" Web sites but chapter eight's exemplar sites don't appear
      to address those queries fully. It is difficult to say anything about
      entertainment sites from chapter nine. I'm not even sure what chapter
      ten refers to as "identity" sites, but they look a lot like simple
      vanity pages. Perhaps the less said about education, in chapter
      eleven, the better. Chapter twelve's look at "information" sites is
      limited to the news media and more retail.

      The first six chapters provide some directions for further reading.
      There is also a "netography" in Appendix C.

      This book is no worse than dozens of others on Web design, but it's no
      better, either.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998 BKWBNVGN.RVW 981017

      rslade@... rslade@... robertslade@... p1@...
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