Communicating Design by Dan M. Brown is best summed up by its title: it teaches you how to communicate the design of your website. The book carries through the ten deliverables and how each applies to a website, with everything from a simple flowchart to usability tests. Each deliverable gets explanations of its uses, when they are necessary, and every chapter has plenty of visuals to show you different types of each deliverable (definitely useful in the chapters dealing with charts). The book spells out its desires in simple English and even tells you how to deal with those pesky naysayers at meetings.
The book was created for people in the industry of making webpages, usually for companies. The book does not go over all the coding and such that goes into web design, though it does mention a couple tool for making some of the deliverables. Most of the deliverables are for when you are making a website from scratch.
So since most of our class is probably not currently designing their own webpage, what can we pull from this book? Many of us will most likely use services that have websites already preconfigured, with limited options for how we can personalize. However, I’m certain at least two of the deliverables can be useful. Creating personas will be useful for keeping a website focused on the target audience. Competitive analysis keeps in mind what other sites have done, not only in terms of design, but also in content, so you can make sure you take what is good and keep your site original.
Personally, I found the book very interesting. As someone who spends far, far too much time on the internet, I enjoyed learning what went into all the sites I look at every day. While I probably will not make my own website anytime in the near future, I can appreciate the work that goes into making each site useable.
2 Replies to “What can Brown do for us?”
As I stated during class last week, this book was an excellent choice. Web design is an art form — an art form that is difficult to master. Even as someone who does lots of work on the Web, I am not a master of design.
What everyone should be a master of, however, is being able to effectively know what to ask for. Knowing how to speak the lingo is very important. Otherwise, achieving one's goal on the Web would be a formidable task.
I think that Communicating Design has much to offer, even for those who will not design a web site. The book’s fundamental premise of knowing how to target and capture an audience relates to all sorts of endeavors- including writing dissertations!
One needs to know how to generate support (Brown’s “stakeholders”) for ideas by anticipating a target audience (Brown’s “personas”). For graduate students, this means marketing research ideas to one’s advisor and dissertation committee and then thinking about how to turn a dissertation into a book that people will want to read.
Ethan: I understand your idea behind web design being an art, but I disagree- I consider it a craft. I think Brown argues this in his book, as he reveals how designing an effective web site is attainable for all. It takes technique and strategy; his book is a template for achieving success.