Learning HTML : Day One

January 9, 2004

I’ve been asked by a client/friend, to help his daughter build a website. She’s building it, while I will look over it and offer advice. She has “The HTML Bible”, but I’m thinking of offering a couple of other book suggestions. She’s new to this, but she’s bright and could pick up quickly.

I’m not ready to suggest CSS to her, but it’s probably better in the long run. The initial learning curve of CSS tends to make me shy away from even suggesting it while she learns HTML.

I think that learning on something like FrontPage isn’t bad….so long as you don’t use the built-in scripts. You can build tables and get the general idea of how to build a page…..learning about bloated code can come later.

My recommendations are more like generalizations about designing & building on the web. Because I never really learned HTML from a book, but by dissecting the code of sites I liked. The books were more of a dictonaryesque resource. I got a lot more out of concept books.

So far I’m suggesting:

Don’t Make Me Think ” by Steve Krug

Instead of building these huge complex sites, why not build one that’s simple to use? Steve has a lot of good insight on how to make the web easier and more accessible to use.

Homepage Usability – 50 Websites Deconstructed ” by Jakob Nielsen & Marie Thair

Jakob can be an accessibility windbag, but in this book he (and Marie) give great examples of large business sites and some of the design mistakes they’ve made. Plus the book goes into more of the concept of why it’s smart to have the search form on the right and the logo on the left.

Those two are probably a couple of my favorites, and would have also suggested “Creating Killer Web Sites ” by David Siegal, but it’s becoming *very* outdated. I haven’t looked into Zeldman’s book yet, but along with it and his site and the ALA site along with Evolt ….there probably more for a higher beginner that someone starting stone cold. Plus the evolt mailing list isn’t exactly friendly to newbies (too many RTFM-type comments).

So I’m actually posting this to see what other html educational books and resources some of you might have? Don’t want to overwhelm her, but just want her to know more about what she’s diving into.