Web Redesign 2.0
In: Reviews > Book Reviews
Published on January 26, 2005
Working as a Web professional in today’s world, you will get to design a site only once. If you’re good and lucky, you’ll get to redesign it many times. In their book Web Redesign 2.0: Workflow that Works, Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler bring us project management best practices Web designers can apply to formalize and professionalize their process to benefit clients big and small.
The Core Process Goto and Cotler describe focuses on special challenges presented by site redesign, but can be easily modified to fit initial site design projects. The book is aimed at those who work in or manage an agency or a team of Web professionals, but freelancers and independents will find it easy to apply the basic principles to their work and especially their interaction with clients. Upon scanning the contents, I was happy to find tips and ideas that I could apply with my clients right away.
Let the core process be your guide
The bulk of this book describes what Goto and Cotler call the Core Process, a five-step method to organize your Web design projects. This is no theory book based on pie-in-the-sky, best-case scenarios. The principles they describe have been sculpted by the hands of experience and fired in the kiln of reality. Throughout, the authors have their four legs firmly planted in the real world. The detailed Core Process emphasizes how to achieve optimum results for your clients by keeping them focused on creating Web sites that meet business goals by solving business problems. Goto and Cotler guide you not only through the best practices of Web project management, they red flag pitfalls such as scope creep and late content. They offer solid techniques to deal with issues effectively and assuage your client at the same time.
Well-organized, as you’d expect
Goto and Cotler tell us that it’s key to understand your audience to make successful Web sites. The book’s organization tells us that they practice what they preach.
One excellent feature of this book is the different ways the Core Process is described. A short summary located at the front of the book will serve busy Web professionals trying to glean tips and techniques to apply immediately. The diagram of the Core Process will delight visual learners in the audience, while those into fine detail will enjoy the extensive workflow descriptions and explanations that form the meat of the book.
- Keys to a Successful Redesign
- Core Process Overview
- Phase 1: Define the Project
- Phase 2: Develop Site Structure
- Phase 3: Design Visual Interface
- Phase 4: Build and Integrate
- Phase 5: Launch and Beyond
- Testing for Usability
- Working with Complex Functionality
- Analyzing Your Competition
Checklists to keep you on track
A key to any successful project is reflection. If you’re running several Web site projects at once, it can be hard to remain organized and on track. Goto and Cotler offer a remedy to that. The book is chock-full of handy checklists that you will want to keep near your desk or in your project files to help you anticipate what’s ahead and ensure that no important task is overlooked.
Summary: The Good
If you run an agency or team of Web professionals or if you’re a freelancer or independent trying to find a solid set of principles with which to standardize your Web site design process, then Web Redesign 2.0: Workflow that Works is a must. This book gives you a solid process with which to build Web sites and client relationships at the same time.
Summary: The Criticisms
Although I think this book is excellent, it’s my opinion there are a couple of aspects that would benefit from improvement.
The first is the book’s dimensions. At 8 inches tall by 10 inches wide, it’s awkward to read unless you have it open on a flat surface. Leaving it open on a flat surface causes the spine to break, reducing the life of the book.
The second is the companion Web site. One key feature of this book is the sample forms and checklists contained throughout. At the time of this writing, several of the downloads were listed as “coming soon”, and some, such as the invaluable Discovery Check Off List from Chapter 3 and the Visual Design Checklist from Chapter 5, were not listed at all.
Overall: Good Value
Because the Web is still in its infancy as a medium, many of us who work and play in the world of Web design are self-taught. Because of the many disciplines involved in Web design and development, many of us have become jacks-of-all-trades.
Project management and Web design workflow may be one of the more overlooked areas of required expertise due to the constant need to keep up on the latest Web design and development techniques. If your goal is to become a well-rounded Web craftsman, reading and applying the techniques in Web Redesign 2.0 is the best thing you can do to formalize and professionalize your Web design projects, short of internationally recognized certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP). All in all, this book is highly recommended.
Web Redesign 2.0: Workflow that Works
Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler
New Riders, 2004, 296pp.
Companion Web site: http://www.web-redesign.com
Krista Stevens is the Editor in Chief of Digital Web Magazine. She lives in Winnipeg, Canada, but considers the cottage on Lee River home. She's a confirmed sled-head who has snowmobile oil running through her veins and "Polaris" tattoed on her behind.