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The Unusually Useful Web Book

Book Description

The Unusually Useful Web Book is the only book you need to find out everything you need to know about web sites. In fact, it's 2 books in 1. You can skim the sidebars and checklists for tips and techniques you can use right away. Or you can follow along with the main text for a detailed discussion of planning, designing, building, and maintaining your web site.

The Unusually Useful Web Book is jam-packed with:

  • Do-it-yourself worksheets. 20 worksheets walk you through essential tasks such as increasing traffic, improving site speed, writing a product plan, and making your site cross-compatible.

  • Behind-the-scenes info. 25 special Lessons from the Trenches show you how sites such as MSN.com and BabyCenter.com deal with day-to-day challenges such as naming site sections or sending effective emails.

  • Advice from leading experts. More than 50 experts - from the father of the ad banner to the founder of BlackPlanet.com - openly share the lessons they've learned on everything from making money to working with engineers. Includes expert interviews with Adam Berliant (Group Manager at Microsoft), Greg Dotson (Chief Information Office for www.guru.com), Randi Shade (founder of www.CharityGift.com), Emily Simas (former product manager for www.BabyCenter.com), Srinija Srinivasan (VP and Editor in Chief of Yahoo!), and Evany Thomas (managing editor for Webmonkey).

  • Jargon-free explanations. Step-by-step instructions-covering everything from acquiring a domain name to preparing images for the web-are written in language you can understand.

  • But don't just take our word for it. Read what others are saying about The Unusually Useful Web Book:

    "This book definitely stands out. Most books of this nature are stuffed with irrelevant and non-substantive information that only add confusion to an already complex process. This book delivers an overwhelming amount of information but presents it in a way that is both approachable and useful. There was a lot of information that I could immediately apply to current projects." Garo Green, Director of Publications, lynda.com

    "The coverage is practical and comprehensive. I'm not aware of other titles that take this comprehensive approach to web building, addressing the entire life cycle of web design and development as well as the roles required in each phase." Laura McCabe, co-author of Special Edition Using Flash MX

    "Anyone that has a passion for web design, both novices and professionals, will enjoy this book. For the novice, it's an eye opener and the reader will probably be compelled to soak in all the material, cover to cover. For the professional, it's a strong reinforcement of things we often overlook and a great reference tool. I'm a professional and found it to be an up-to-date and refreshing read, and I plan on using it as a required textbook in the classroom for my students! They will truly benefit from this book and refer to it over and over again!" Rosanna Yeung, Multimedia & Web Design Instructor, The Art Institute of California

    Table of Contents

    1. Copyright
      1. Dedication
    2. about the author
    3. about the cartoonist
    4. about the technical reviewer
    5. acknowledgments
      1. experts
      2. editors and others
      3. colleagues
      4. inspirations
      5. friends and family
      6. Tell Us What You Think
    6. 12 steps to web site success
    7. top 10 reasons web sites fail
    8. introduction
      1. what this book is...and isn’t
      2. what we’ve learned about the web
    9. 1. planning your site
      1. 1. deciding what to do
        1. what works on the web
        2. writing a mission statement
        3. stating your goals
          1. what kind of goals?
        4. setting goals for a company site
        5. deciding what goes on the site
          1. setting your priorities
          2. making a blue-sky list
          3. identifying core features
          4. prioritizing features
          5. importance
          6. easiness
          7. a prioritization process
      2. take action! writing a plan
        1. why bother writing a plan?
          1. the basic plan
        2. the basic product plan
          1. 1. name
          2. 2. mission & goals
          3. 3. target audience
          4. 4. traffic patterns
          5. 5. revenue model
          6. 6. feature set
          7. 7. competition
          8. 8. marketing plan
          9. 9. team
          10. 10. schedule & budget
          11. 11. assumptions
      3. 2. naming your site
        1. choosing a name
        2. registering your name
        3. choosing a suffix
      4. 3. sizing up the competition
        1. identifying competitors
          1. where competitors come from
        2. evaluating competitors
          1. financial analysis
          2. functional analysis
      5. 4. getting to know your users
        1. learning about your users
          1. quantitative vs. qualitative research
        2. profiling your users
        3. estimating audience size
        4. visualizing your users
          1. creating personas
          2. creating scenarios
        5. predicting what users will want
        6. understanding user needs
          1. planning a new site
          2. task analysis
          3. converting tasks into site features
        7. understanding user behavior
          1. traffic analysis
          2. usability testing
          3. customer feedback
      6. take action! making money
        1. the revenue models
        2. considering your options
        3. why pick just one?
        4. 5 online revenue models
          1. 1. generating leads
          2. 2. product sales
          3. 3. advertising
          4. 4. subscriptions & fees
          5. 5. matchmaking
        5. making money from product sales
        6. making money from advertising
        7. making money from user fees & subscriptions
        8. making money from match-making
        9. online payment options
    10. 2. designing your site
      1. 5. designing for the web
        1. designing for the user
        2. designing for web conventions
        3. designing for HTML
        4. designing for different systems
        5. designing for speed
      2. 6. organization & navigation
        1. site organization
        2. structuring your site
          1. 1. take stock of what you have
          2. 2. decide what’s most important
          3. 3. choose an organizing principle
          4. 4. categorize the content
        3. documenting site structure
          1. 1. the site map
          2. 2. the user path
          3. 3. the page schematic
        4. site navigation
        5. global and local navigation
          1. balancing layers of navigation
        6. creating a navigation system
        7. 12 navigation systems
          1. 1. tabs
          2. 2. left-hand panel
          3. 3. page-top nav bar
          4. 4. breadcrumbs
          5. 5. folders & files
          6. 6. hub & spokes
          7. 7. linear path
          8. 8. multi-page path
          9. 9. pull-down menus
          10. 10. the search box
          11. 11. image maps
          12. 12. lists of links
        8. naming site sections
          1. what does “jargon” mean?
      3. take action: usability testing
        1. what you can learn from usability tests
        2. usability testing on the cheap
          1. 1. set up your “lab”
          2. 2. recruit volunteers
          3. 3. give them a task
          4. 4. observe
          5. 5. pinpoint problems
          6. 6. reward volunteers
      4. 7. visual design
        1. front door design
        2. color on the web
          1. choosing the right colors
        3. creating a color system
        4. making color work on the web
        5. typography on the web
          1. choosing a typeface
          2. formatting text
      5. 8. understanding design technologies
        1. html & xhtml
        2. stylesheets
        3. plug-ins
        4. client-side scripts (javascript)
        5. server-side scripts (asp, php)
        6. java applets
        7. how’d they get that look?
        8. understanding xhtml
          1. html & xhtml: what’s the difference?
          2. transitioning to xhtml
        9. understanding tables
          1. learning to use tables
        10. understanding frames
          1. learning to use frames
        11. understanding stylesheets
          1. learning to use stylesheets
        12. understanding javascript
          1. learning to use javascript
        13. understanding flash
          1. learning to use flash
        14. understanding php
          1. php vs. other server-side scripts
          2. learning to use php
    11. 3. building your site
      1. 9. building for the web
        1. building for speed
        2. building for compatibility
          1. planning for compatibility
          2. compatibility testing
        3. building for reliability
          1. improving reliability
        4. fixing a broken site
        5. building for accessibility
          1. it’s not just nice—it’s smart
          2. and in america, it’s the law
          3. accommodating disabled visitors
        6. building your site to last
          1. why standards are needed
          2. how web standards work
          3. so what’s the hold-up?
        7. building the backend
          1. a note on open-source technologies
      2. 10. how web sites work (a primer)
        1. how web pages are built
          1. creating an html document
        2. 3 ways to build a web site
        3. picturing how html works
        4. building your first web page
        5. how web pages turn into a web site
          1. naming web pages
          2. organizing web pages
          3. linking between pages
          4. transferring web pages
          5. serving “dynamic” pages
      3. 11. preparing images & multimedia for the web
        1. understanding compression
        2. how compression works
        3. understanding memory
          1. measuring the size of a file
          2. measuring the capacity of a computer
        4. images on the web
        5. choosing an image file format
        6. preparing images for the web
          1. 1. scan. sketch. snap. steal.
          2. 2. crop
          3. 3. pick a file format
          4. 4. compress
          5. 5. post!
        7. audio on the web
        8. choosing a format for online audio
        9. preparing audio for the web
          1. 1. record or find
          2. 2. digitize
          3. 3. edit
          4. 4. choose a format
          5. 5. compress
          6. 6. deliver
        10. video on the web
        11. choosing a format for online video
        12. preparing video for the web
          1. 1. film or find
          2. 2. digitize
          3. 3. edit
          4. 4. pick a format
          5. 5. compress
          6. 6. deliver
      4. take action! improving site speed
        1. how slow is too slow?
        2. a speedy site in 6 steps
          1. 1. reduce page size
          2. 2. increase bandwidth & server capacity
          3. 3. overhaul the html
          4. 4. overhaul backend code
          5. 5. test cross-platform
          6. 6. show important things first
      5. 12. adding applications to your site
        1. choosing the right technology
          1. avoiding potential pitfalls
        2. developing software for your site
        3. developing the application
    12. 4. maintaining your site
      1. 13. monitoring & evolving your site
        1. studying your site
        2. sources of traffic to your site
          1. getting to the source
        3. measuring traffic
          1. how traffic data is collected
          2. an inexact science
        4. creating a traffic report
          1. what to look for
          2. investigating changes
        5. typical traffic patterns
        6. a year’s forecast
          1. the january surge
          2. the summer slump
          3. autumn growth
          4. the december dip
          5. exceptions to the rule
        7. evolving your site
          1. time.com—small changes, big impact
          2. testing your theories
      2. take action! increasing traffic
        1. getting started
        2. attracting new visitors
          1. 1. existing (offline) customers
          2. 2. free links from other sites
          3. 3. word-of-mouth
          4. 4. email marketing
          5. 5. advertising—online...
          6. ...and off-line
        3. keeping visitors around longer
          1. 1. pay attention to traffic logs
          2. 2. improve site design
          3. 3. add muti-page features
          4. 4. offer “more”
          5. 5. let them search
          6. 6. improve site speed
        4. bringing visitors back more often
          1. 1. emphasize email
          2. 2. fill a need
          3. 3. update more often
          4. 4. run promotions
          5. 5. involve the user
          6. 6. be the home page
      3. 14. promoting your site
        1. word-of-mouth strategies
          1. affiliate programs
          2. tell-a-friend programs
        2. email strategies
          1. choosing an email strategy
        3. choosing an email strategy
          1. 1. newsletters
          2. 2. headlines
          3. 3. bite-size content
          4. 4. customized reports
          5. 5. announcements
          6. 6. many-to-many lists
        4. setting up an email list
        5. linking strategies
          1. links from search engines
          2. links from directories
          3. links from other sites
          4. types of links: top-level and “deep”
          5. headlines on other sites
          6. paid links
        6. online advertising
          1. crafting a successful campaign
        7. where to advertise?
          1. choosing a site
        8. targeting ads
          1. content targeting
          2. user targeting
        9. types of ads
          1. banners
          2. buttons
          3. skyscrapers
          4. pop-ups and leave-behinds
          5. “rich-media” ads
          6. text ads
          7. sponsored links
          8. endorsements
          9. sponsorships
          10. product placement
          11. video ads
          12. interstitials
        10. cross-media strategies
      4. take action! improving your search rank
        1. first understand how it works
        2. then make a plan...
        3. if all else fails ...
        4. getting listed in search engines
          1. getting listed in directories
        5. improving your rank in search engines
          1. 1. focus on keywords
          2. 2. integrate keywords
          3. 3. get links from other sites
          4. 4. modify site design
          5. 5. don’t try to trick the search engine
      5. 15. managing a web project & team
        1. managing a web project
          1. clarify what you’re creating
          2. decide how decisions will be made
          3. learn how to say no
          4. create a “process”
          5. apply what you already know
        2. managing a web team
        3. assembling a web team
          1. building the right team
          2. the core team
          3. the extended team
        4. structuring your web team
          1. the web company
          2. the corporation & the web agency
          3. the small business & the consultant
    13. expert advice
      1. the experts