Deliver First Class Web Sites

101 Essential Checklists

Checklists of things to keep in mind when designing and building a website.

Subtitled “101 Essential Checklists” this book might be thought of as a bunch of “remember to” or guide-lines to remember when developing new websites. The topics covered are pretty broad, ranging from planning and organizing to tips on graphic design and layout to SEO (search-engine-optimization). There’s a lot of material covered in its 330-odd pages.

The book is broken down into a series of checklists for developing websites organized into major themes. Usually, there is a small point, and explanation and sometimes an example- you might think of it as a stripped-down version of the format used in the O’Reilly Cookbook series.

Chapters are:

  • Pre-planning
  • Initial questions – target audience, goals and budget issues
  • Preparing content
  • Managing content
  • Usability, focus on the user.
  • Colour, using colour in your website.
  • Information architecture, organizing your website
  • Navigation
  • Coding your site, proper X/HTML, CSS
  • Creating accessible websites
  • Optimization. Javascript and CSS, images, minimizing URLs
  • Search engine Optimization avoids being banned.
  • Design
  • Testing, usability, accessibility testing
  • Preparing for launch
  • Post Launch follow-up, collecting data
  • E-commerce Checklists

This book arrived while I was deep into developing SimcoeDining.com, a search engine website, and I decided to see how well my design was stacking up against the points made in the book. Let’s say it reminded me of a few things and taught me more than a few tips. That’s to say, even if you are an experienced designer, I’ll bet you’ll learn at least a few semi-obscure tips (like following your directory names with a slash to help the server figure out you’re not referring to a file but a directory in chapter 11). As well, the chapters on optimizing looks at a wide range of optimization, from writing shorter CSS to writing HTML/CSS that is user-friendly and light, proper use of tables, and not creating reader problems.

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As you read the chapters, you get the idea that a whole lot of experience was brought to bare. Looking at the footnotes on just about every page, they are full of references to other sources readers might investigate if they wish to learn more about a particular point.

The book itself is quite simple, no colour, mostly black and white pages with a simple layout. This is the kind of book that has the look of university course notes, that’s not a criticism, but it doesn’t look as pretty as similar books might- though if you see past this, then you’ll discover a book that should make it onto any web designer’s desk.