January 17th, 2010
The Smashing Book
This book stems from a collaboration of various authors affiliated with the Smashing Magazine. It's about best practices in modern web design, covering the following topics: CSS Layouts, User Interface Design, Typography, Usability Principles, Color Theory, Performance Optimization, Increasing Conversion Rates and finally Branding.
The book is a quick read, although it covers more than 200 pages. It's especially efficient if you are new to a topic, but even if you're quite knowledgable in a field, it still has interesting facts. For example, I'm pretty much a CSS agnostic, and the first chapter helped to get a good idea of the several approaches there are (fixed width design, fluid design etc), while the chapter on performance optimization was more or less old news to me, but still lead me to two great tools, Yahoo SmushIt for lossless image optimization and Google PageSpeed for CSS and JS optimization (similar to YSlow).
What I didn't like about the book is its binding: The margins are very narrow, so you have to bend the book real hard in order to read everything close to the binding. I fear that the pages will start coming loose soon. Apart from this, it's a very recommendable book for a general overview. Maybe I was hoping for more hands on CSS, if you have a book on this, please recommend it to me.
Another thing I found interesting was that shipping to Germany was free, but you could opt in to social shipping to make sure that delivery is affordable to people ordering from remote areas of the globe.