A Few Books to Get Started

So, although I haven’t started reading anything on Ruby, Haml, or Sass, I have gotten my feet wet in some crucial topics.

The first book, Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte, completely changed the way I thought about the web. In fact, it’s what solidified my desire to switch gears and dig in! Though I may have scoffed a bit at the delicate use of math (it turns out engineers have to know a lot of it), I love the idea of the adaptability of sites. Whether you’re looking at a site on a phone, a tablet, or a computer, your experience should be a good one. Whether you’re using Firefox, Chrome, or (gasp!) Internet Explorer, your experience should be a good one, too. My customer service background loves giving good experiences; my robotics background loves automation. Combine the two on the Internet, and you have Responsive Web Design, plain and simple.

The second book, HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett, is probably one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever laid my hands on. It’s also as basic as you can get. While I’ve grasped the basics of HTML and CSS from the likes of W3Schools, I really wanted a complete overview that would be useful as a reference later. This book is that overview. Plus it goes over the basics of wireframing, basic design, and more. Lovely!

The third book, Adaptive Web Design: Crafting Rich Experiences with Progressive Enhancement by Aaron Gustafson and Jeffrey Zeldman, is what I’m reading right now. In this book, I’m learning about the layers of web design, from basic content to pretty pictures to more advanced elements like JavaScript. The book is more of a road map than a how-to, however, so I know I’ll be reading a whole lot more after I’m done. But I really like how Gustafson and Zeldman consider the customer first, and adapting their sites around them. It plainly suggests that your website is a product, and effective accessibility/marketing is your best opportunity to promote sales. So if you’re looking for a well-written, straight-to-the-point overview of the thought process behind effective web design, I highly recommend getting Adaptive Web Design.

So, that’s what I’m reading right now. Any suggestions?