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How do you start designing a WWW site?

Like all other forms of human communication, a good Web site is a combination of art and science. Effective Web sites combine a clear purpose, thoughtful organization, substantive content, graphic arts, good writing, and ease of navigation. Before you try to design a Web site for your organization, take the time to review some style manuals. We recommend three. One is an electronic style guide that you'll find on the Internet. The others are good old fashioned books (one comes with a companion CD Rom attached).

  • Web Style Manual
    Patrick J. Lynch, Yale Center for Advanced Instructional Media http://info.med.yale.edu/caim/manual/index.html
    This on-line manual is a classic for Web site designers. It describes and illustrates a core set of principles for designing World Wide Web sites and Web pages. The guide builds on traditional editorial concepts and combines them with new graphic, user interface, and information design principles. The guide is very readable, full of examples of good and bad design, and has lots of technical hints for optimizing the performance of Web pages. Some topics include design integrity, templates, essential elements, and links and navigation aids. It also includes several useful appendices.

  • The Web Page Design Cookbook
    All the ingredients you need to create 5-star Web pages
    William Horton, Lee Taylor, Arthur Ignacio, Nancy L. Hoft
    John Wiley & Sons, Inc., (1996) 649 pages, ISBN 0-471-13039-7, US$34.95
    According to the publisher (and we agree), this book takes the approach that a successful Web site is more than "strung-together pages full of text and hodge-podge graphics." It begins with a discussion of why you would want to "do this Web thing" and moves into how to go about "creating complete and balanced Web sites that are both pleasing to the eye and nourishing to the brain." This book won't teach you how to program in HTML , but it will help you build an information structure to guide Web site development, learn elements of style, find answers to the most frequently-asked questions, and learn about international design issues. The companion CD provides hundreds of templates, graphics, and HTML code ready to use and paste into your own pages.

  • Managing Internet Information Services: World Wide Web, Gopher, FTP, and more
    Cricket Liu, Jerry Peek, Russ Jones, Bryan Buus & Adrian Nye
    Nutshell Handbook Series, O'Reilly and Associates (1994),
    668 pages, ISBN 1-56592-062-7, US$29.95
    Publisher's description: This comprehensive guide describes how to set up information services and make them available over the Internet. It discusses why an organization would want to offer Internet services, provides complete coverage of all popular services, and tells how to select which ones to provide. Most of the book describes how to set up Gopher, World Wide Web, FTP, and WAIS servers and email services. Creating a service can be a big job, involving more than one person. This book separates the setup and maintenance of server software from the data management, so that a team can divide responsibilities. Sections and chapters on data management, a role they call the Data Librarian, are marked with a special icon.