Responsible Responsive Design

A companion to Ethan Marcotte’s Responsive Web Design, Scott Jehl’s Responsible Responsive Design is a required read for front-end developers who want to make the web more accessible and faster. Because of his expertise on web performance and his experience in working in places with limited access, Jehl explains clearly the important of delivering images, CSS and JavaScript without blocking the contents. Even though this one is brief, as with all the books from A Book Apart, Jehl was able to pack all the technical details you need to know to make a better, smoother user experience across networks and devices.

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HTML & CSS: Design and Build Websites

An absolute beginner’s book for designers who want to learn HTML & CSS. My design students prefer this book over Thomas Michaud’s Foundation of Web Design, which I recommended. While Jon Duckett’s clear writing and the pleasing visual layout make this book approachable, it lacks the HTML5 goodies and ARIA landmarks. Perhaps a second edition is needed to bring the materials up to date since it released three years ago.

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Mobile HTML5

A solid reference of the latest features in HTML5 and CSS3. Weyl’s clear, approachable writing makes it easy to understand for beginners and practical for more advanced front-end developers. Good to have on hand for mobile web designers and developers.

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Designing the Editorial Experience

The first section of Sue Apfelbaum and Juliette Cezzar’s new book gives an informative primer for editorial design and its elements such as format, identity and typography. The book then jumps right into case studies and interviews, which are the bulk part of the book. While the real-world examples are useful, the book is missing the entire practical aspect of designing the editorial experience, something that I was hoping to read and learn when I decided to make the purchase.

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jQuery: A Beginner’s Guide

As with his excellent JavaScript: A Beginner’s Guide, John Pollock makes jQuery approachable and easy to understand. Pollock not only clearly explains the concept of jQuery, he also walks you through step-by-step tutorials of how to use it. He builds each exercise gently from one to the next. jQuery: A Beginner’s Guide is a required read for anyone who wants to add rich user interaction to the web.

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Responsive Typography

In writing On Web Typography, Jason Santa Maria deliberately and wisely left out technical implementation, which makes room for other books to fill in that void. Jason Pamental’s new book titled Responsive Typography appears to do the job, but it doesn’t. Throughout the slender volume (about 80 pages), Pamental barely scratches the surface of responsive typography. In fact, chapter seven is the only place that actually talks about responsive typography in term of proportion (modular scales). Providing a generic table of font sizes, line heights and line lengths for body texts and headings, however, could be problematic because each typeface has different x-height and spacing. Instructing on how to use type through type hosting services is unnecessary because users can grab the codes on the site like Google Fonts. In the brief history of web font, Pamental points out that Cufón image replacement technique is “nonselectable,” which is incorrect. The book doesn’t live up to its bold title.

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UI is Communication

A thorough and approachable guide to UX design. In addition to McKay’s clear writing, do-and-don’t examples make UI is Communication a required read for students and novice designers.

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Twentieth-Century Type

A historical overview of typography in the twentieth century. Blackwell’s accessible writing, clear organization, each chapter covers a decade of the development of type, and rich visual illustrations make the complex revolution of type and typography approachable. While the new, revised edition is completely redesigned with updated information, the original version is much easier to read. The first edition is set in large Gill Sans with just one column. The revised version set in tiny Helvetica with two columns. If you can still find a copy of the original release, I highly recommend it.

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Typography, Referenced

A typographic reference that focuses on breath rather than depth. It’s a comprehensive guide you can flip through to find quick answers, practices and inspirations on typography for your projects. Keeping it on your shelf is not a bad idea.

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Developing Mobile Websites with HTML5

David Karlins’s book should have titled Developing Mobile Websites with jQuery. The book is essentially about making a mobile website using jQuery and jQuery Mobile. I am still not convinced that developing a mobile site with jQuery is better than a responsive site. Right out of the box, you have to include a jQuery mobile CSS, a jQuery library and a jQuery Mobile library. If you want your own design, you have to add another custom CSS. On the other hand, if you design a responsive site from scratch, you can just have one CSS with only the styles you need and one JavaScript file with only the functions you need.

As far as a book on learning jQuery Mobile, this one is a bit too long. jQuery Mobile isn’t that hard to learn and Kris Hadlock’s jQuery Mobile: Develop and Design is much more concise in getting the job done. It’s a bit older, but the concepts still applied.

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