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Web Design:
A Complete Introduction

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Book Preface

[Reproduced from Web Design: A Complete Introduction]

This book provides a broad and thorough introduction to Web design. It is intended primarily as a core text for use in courses in universities, colleges and other tertiary-level educational institutions. It presents a systematic account of the World Wide Web, which will serve as a foundation for students or anyone setting out on a career as a professional Web designer. Some chapters require a basic understanding of computer programming, but no prior knowledge or experience of Web design, digital media or graphic design is necessary. We do assume that all readers are Web users.

For the purposes of this book, the term Web design encompasses all aspects of creating Web sites, from the structure of Web pages and the markup which controls it, through scripts that add interactivity and generate pages dynamically, to issues of accessibility, usability and visual communication. We appreciate that some readers may become specialists in particular areas of Web design, but we take the approach that a general knowledge of the fundamentals of the whole field is an essential pre-requisite to further specialization. This book is not a collection of hints and tips, nor the presentation of a method to follow step-by-step, nor a tutorial introduction to any Web site creation program.

About The Book

We begin with the digital technology without which the World Wide Web could not exist. We then look at markup, the bones which support Web pages, whose appearance is shaped by stylesheets. Graphics and time-based media enrich contemporary Web pages, which are enlivened by scripting. We describe each of these components in its turn, and explain how programs can draw information from databases in response to input from users, and present it on pages. Once we have conveyed this picture of the basic means by which Web pages are constructed, transmitted and displayed in a browser, we are able to turn our attention to the serious issues of how to design pages that are accessible to all users, and which convey their content effectively. Throughout the book, we emphasize the importance of standards, and, as far as possible in such a rapidly changing subject, we look to the future.

You may be puzzled to find that the illustrations throughout the book do not necessarily seem to be of the best in Web design. We have designed working Web page examples and illustrations specifically to demonstrate technical points in the text as simply as possible, and this often means a compromise of style, or even the choice of a deliberately poor design. Limitations of the colour printing process mean that the colours in the illustrations are often not as you would see them on a computer screen. Accurate versions can be found in the slides on the book’s supporting Web site.

Teaching and Learning Features

Supporting Web Site

Additional support for teaching and learning can be found at the book’s own Web site, www.webdesignbook.org. Here you will find a wide range of material, including full code and working versions of the examples in the book, slides of the key points, teaching notes, the interactive glossary, links to reference material and useful Web sites, and corrections to any errors we discover after the book goes to print.