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Access by Design

A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers By David James Rockingham III

Access by Design by Sarah HortonYou surf the internet day and night and youve finally come to the moment that you want to share a portion of your life or a brilliant new business idea with the rest of the world. You realize the power of the internet and its global reach and you want to create your own website. The motivation is there but you dont know where to start.

A wave of questions begin to overwhelm you as youre now thinking about the affordability, capacity and most importantly?just how do you design your own website. You could hire someone to do it for you but that costs money. Now before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars on web design programs, classes, web hosting, etc, you should take a look at Access by Design by Sarah Horton. This 215 page book will help you create your first website but also teach you the essential elements that will help enhance your websites global visibility.

Design Like a Pro
The book mixes a combination of standard web design techniques as well as in depth analysis of the design elements that make up some of the more popular websites found online.

The book is broken down into 15 chapters. Chapters one through five cover the basics of web design. Learn the elements that make up a basic web page, how to structure your document, how to place text within your HTML document and some advanced features such as adding images and HTML tables. If youre not familiar with cascading style sheets, then you can utilize borderless HTML tables to handle some of the page payout duties. Its one of the oldest techniques used for presentation on the internet but its still an effective way to get the appearance that you desire.


Chapters six through ten begins to move into the more advanced web design techniques. Heres where you will learn to build the heart of your web pages. While anyone can put together a basic page with some text, youre going to need to learn how to design a more eye-catching website so you will attract visitors and have them returning to your website. Chapter six shows how you can create your page layout using HTML tables. Chapter seven teaches you the use of frames. Frames will enable you to keep a portion of your website static while the other areas are kept usable. Chapter eight shows how you can emphasize content using lists. A list will be able to help to point out important information to your readers. Chapter nine demonstrates the use of forms. Now forms are a great way for you to gather input from your visitors. You can determine what kind of information they can send you by using form elements like checkboxes and radio buttons or you can give them the opportunity to write you a message using a textbox. Chapter ten through fifteen will show how to spice up your website. Chapter ten covers the addition of links. Your website will go nowhere without the use of links for users to click on as they navigate through. Chapter 11 will show the importance of choosing safe colors for your website. You dont want to make your site too difficult to read nor too loud by using extreme colors. Chapter thirteen shows how you can enhance your website by offering your visitors interactivity with the content. Chapter fourteen covers the editorial issues that a website contains. Chapter fifteen brings all of the information youve just learned and show how you bring it all together to produce the content, design and page layout that will serve your needs.

The book is littered with tidbits and website examples that you can utilize as youre developing your own page layout and design. You need the guide to help you get your idea online and Sarah Hortons Access by Design can help you get there.

The Final Word
I found Sarah Hortons book to be very intuitive and easy to understand. The book has plenty of color sample website pictures and the content wont overwhelm you as you learn the proper web design techniques that the pros implement. Web design shouldnt be a chore and by learning the methods to optimize your images, source code and interface, you should be able to build an enjoyable website for yourself as well as your visitors.

It takes more than just choosing a background color and typing in some text if youre trying to attract other visitors other than yourself. The content is important but so is the presentation of your work. Web design can be a lot of fun but you need the right motivation and tools to get the job done. Now that youve read through this review and youre still interested in having your own website, then pick up Sarah Hortons Access by Design and see how the pros built their websites.

You can click HERE to purchase Access by Design by Sarah Horton. The book is published by New Riders.

About the Author
Sarah Horton is coauthor with Patrick Lynch of the best-selling Web Style Guide. Her second book, Web Teaching Guide, won the American Association of Publishers award for the Best Book in Computer Science in 2000. Sarah regularly writes articles and gives workshops on Web design with a focus on usability and accessibility. At Dartmouth College, she helps faculty use information technologies, such as the Web, for teaching and learning.

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David James Rockingham III is a former radio disc jockey and network administrator. An avid gamer and technology guru who enjoys rock music, sunsets, Star Wars video games, Visual Pinball, classic hot rods and superhero movies (except The Hulk). You can find David James answering questions on DMN Forums ( His articles appear on Consumer Electronics Net ( and Digital Media Net (
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