The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

I recently purchased a copy of Jason Beaird’s book “The Principles of Beautiful Web Design“. I must admit that I was skeptical when I purchased it. Unfortunately I’m one of those people who are influenced greatly by design. and thus tend to judge my books by their cover. Having just finished reading “Transcending CSS” which was exceptional, beautifully laid out and with a great looking cover, I didn’t think that a book which such a boring looking one would be very interesting. And the sentence “You don’t need to go to art school to design great looking web sites!” on the back also didn’t make me feel at ease. I know quite a few graphic designers whose face turns purple just hearing that kind of statement.

Thus I had very low expectations for this book and yet I would recommend it to anyone. The book is extremely informative, full of great images and resources and Jason does deliver what he promises. A simple, easy-to-follow guide illustrated with plenty of full-colour examples. This book is ideal for people who are just starting to get into web design, programmers who routinely build “somewhat dull” looking web applications or people like me who have been designing for years. I didn’t go to art school and so don’t know the fundamentals of design. I learned everything from the seat of my pants. I sure wish I had read this book years ago.

Web 2.0 – The Evolution of the Internet

Still confused about Web 2.0? Mhairi from Outsmart sales and marketing has written a great article explaining what’s what.

When I first heard the term “Web 2.0” I assumed it must be a new developer tool or software release. However, Web 2.0 is actually a buzzword that was coined in 2004 by O‘Reilly Media and Media Live International to describe how the Internet has evolved over the last few years to become a dynamic and interactive medium.

There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the term. It is often incorrectly used to describe the next generation of tools available on the web now when in fact it is simply jargon to describe how the Internet has changed. It is important to distinguish between the two: Web 2.0 is the result of all these new applications that have become available – it is not the tools themselves.

Let’s look at the attributes of next generation web technology that have brought this Web 2.0 evolution:

Dynamic applications are at the forefront of the next phase of the Internet. A great example of how dynamic web applications have become is online maps. Ten years ago if you were looking for directions on the web, the best you could expect was to be able to view a high level map. Today applications like Google Maps allow you to drill down to the exact location of your departure and destination and find exact directions on the best route to take. This service is both instantaneous and highly targeted to the end users’ requirements.

Social media technologies also play a major role in furthering the development of the Internet. Social media allow people to quickly and easily communicate and interact with other interested parties. The popularity of web logging both in written (blog) and video (vlog) form has taken off as has podcasting. These all take advantage of new broadcast technologies that allow users to easily publish thoughts, ideas, images and sound clips online. The web audience for blogs, vlogs and podcasts is flocking to tools that bring the information they want to them. RSS feeds make it possible for frequently updated content to be fed directly to those who want to see it and tools that store, share and recommend relevant links in one central place.such as del.icio.us (the bookmarks manager) are experiencing unprecedented growth

Web 2.0 tools make it possible for people to work together like never before. Collaborative technologies such as wikis are allowing users to input, change, and edit relevant material and make it available to all. Perhaps the most recognised wiki right now is the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. Other popular collaborative technologies (made possible by enhanced delivery methods) include: applications that allow you to manage, edit and present photos and videos online such as Photosite and YouTube; as well as tools that simply allow you to share whimsy like Twitter (which allows you to share brief comments or thoughts at a moment in time). Incidentally Twitter’s traffic (according to Information Week grew 55% last week – further proof of the rise in popularity of Web 2.0 technologies.

Web 1.0 made information on line available to anyone Web 2.0 makes brings it to them in the form they want, when they want and allows them to easily share it with others. This is an exciting time and the possibilities Web 2.0 brings appear endless. Only time will tell how the Internet will continue to evolve but right now its all about instantaneous collaboration and interaction.

Related materials:

Have you heard of Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 was coined by O’Reilly Media in 2004 and refers to a perceived second generation of web-based services such as social networking sites, wikis and communication tools. I’ve heard the term here and there for a while now, but was never quite sure what it meant. I came across this video on youtube yesterday and thought that it explained things very well.