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September 28, 1998

O'Reilly Releases Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience

SEBASTOPOL, CA-"Up until recently, most of us thought clean code and pretty graphics were the key to a successful site. Now we're realizing that unless we also create navigable interfaces, all our hard work could result in an unusable failure...Kudos to Fleming for her excellent research, approachable tone, and generosity of information. If you're looking for help in giving your site's visitors a more positive experience than they get today, this book is an excellent place to start. It provides ideas and direction, not preachy rules that apply to someone else's site. The Web needs more books like this if it's to evolve to the next level... It's written in such an enjoyable, conversational tone that you may have trouble putting it down; I certainly did. I wholeheartedly recommend it for all web publishers." From the Foreword By Lynda Weinman, author, trainer, columnist

Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience offers the first in-depth look at designing Web site navigation. Author Jennifer Fleming offers design strategies to help you uncover solutions that work for your site and audience.

"It was Frank Lloyd Wright's philosophy that form and function have to work together" says author Jennifer Fleming, "and perhaps that's especially true on the Web. Because we can't just say it's attractive or it's wired and it's flashy-it also has to have function. Because its an active medium. When you push a button it's gotta work."

The first half of the book suggests goals and processes for developing workable navigation schemes. Topics include basic concepts in navigation, traits of navigation that work, user testing and user-centered design, site architecture, interface and interaction design, and the development process. "In Web development, we're accustomed to analyzing company goals. Often, our paychecks depend on it. More importantly, it's part of being a responsive and effective designer," says Fleming. "That loyal analysis of company goals can sometimes get us into trouble-unless, that is, we also take the time to examine the goals of the site's intended users. Lumping client goals with user goals is a serious blunder, since they are often very different things. Designing for clients without calculating for end-users is one quick path to an unnavigable site."

The second half focuses on designing by purpose, with chapters on entertainment, shopping, identity, learning, information, and community sites. Through case studies and interviews, each section explains common navigation problems and presents real world solutions and advice.

Case studies of popular sites help show what works and what doesn't. Throughout the book, interviews with experts such as Clement Mok, Nathan Shedroff, and Jakob Nielsen provide valuable insights. The accompanying CD-ROM serves as a launchpad to the sites mentioned in the text and offers software demos and a "netography" of related Web resources.

About the Author
Jennifer Fleming owns Square Circle Solutions, a Web consulting firm based in the Boston area, and teaches computer design courses at the Massachusetts College of Art. Jennifer has a master's degree in library and information science.

Also of Interest
Although the market is flooded with books that describe how to create an attractive Web site or the technical underpinnings, there are relatively few resources that explain how to make a Web site useable and useful. Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience is one excellent resource. Another is Information Architecture for the World Wide Web by Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville.

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Web Navigation: Designing the User Experience
By Jennifer Fleming
1st Edition September 1998 (US)
288 pages, 1-56592-351-0, $34.95 (US$)
Includes CD-ROM
For an interview with the author and excerpts from the book, see: Web Review

About O'Reilly

O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.

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