Review: Sexy Web Design

Sexy Web Design is a very readable look at the process of web design which walks the reader through a small example design project for an events site. The title’s a bit deceptive, as the emphasis isn’t just on pretty looks. There’s also plenty of advice about how designers can work with usability and accessibility in mind.

The author focuses purely on the pre-coding design stage of building a site.  However, he takes the sensible view that someone designing a website  needs to understand implementation issues so that the design won’t be unnecessarily difficult to code once the Photoshop comps are complete.

The book covers the whole of this design process, starting with getting an effective brief out of  clients. There’s good advice here about asking clients which sites they like or dislike and why – which it’s rightly said can be as informative as a design brief in itself.  There follows a good discussion on wireframing and an excellent section on aesthetics. The latter has a very succinct summary of best practice regarding layout and composition, with good links to  tools for choosing colour schemes and using grids.

Some of the most interesting parts of the book are the tips on how to effectively present your designs to clients via Photoshop comps and mock-up sites. This should be of particular help to a lot of people starting out, as compiling deliverables is an area which doesn’t tend to get a lot of coverage in other books.

As well as the designs for the example  site, there are well-chosen screen-shots from real sites which enrich the book a lot. Throughout, the author emphasises the importance of attention to detail and the designer’s responsibility to push at boundaries, while respecting useful conventions.

Sexy Web Design by Elliot Jay Stocks is published by Sitepoint.

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