1-1-1 Express Book Review: The eduStyle Guide to Usable Higher Ed Homepage Design by Stewart, Cody and Andy Foss

March 6th, 2009 Karine Joly 2 Comments

First, let me start with a disclaimer:

I’ve just received and browsed my electronic review copy of The eduStyle Guide to Usable Higher Ed Homepage Design (email arrived a bit before 6AM this morning). I knew it was supposed to be released any day now, but I had no clue when it would hit my inbox.

Stewart Foss, one of the co-authors of this brand new book (who will present the first of the 3 webinars about Web Redesign offered in April by Higher Ed Experts), and I have been talking about the book for a couple of months now as I wanted to mention it in my column about Web Redesign to be published in the April issue of University Business (which was due to my editor on Feb 1st).

Writing a book is always a bold move and I think the Foss brothers have done a very good job with this first 95-page volume, a book inspired by and written for the eduStyle community as well as the higher ed web professionals.

So, here’s my 1-1-1 Express Book Review for The eduStyle Guide to Usable Higher Ed Homepage Design (electronic version available now for $39.99) by Stewart, Cody and Andy Foss:

1 (bunch of) things I liked:

acover_sml Instead of focusing on design mistakes, the authors have decided to review only 20 of the best web homepages among the 2,700 referenced in the eduStyle gallery. They explain what works, why and offer some pieces of advice to improve on great web design.

I especially like the profile page that precedes every web design analysis. It includes some quick facts about the institution, the file size of the homepage and the number of different files and types necessary to come up with the end result.

I also love the sidebar where they referenced other comparable institutions that you can find in the book (with their respective page numbers). You can look for comparable institutions by size, geographic area and type (private vs. public).

Here’s a 6-page excerpt in PDF format that will give you a good idea of what I mean above.

1 thing I didn’t like that much:

The recommendations and tips for good practices are available for each of the 20 reviewed websites. I would have loved to be able to get those nuggets of design wisdom listed in another section of the book – at the end for easy reference. There is an index, so it’s possible to find your way and this is just a tiny thing.

1 big take-away from the book:
Successful homepage web design can take many forms. While there are some common features in the 20 homepages reviewed in this book, they all have their unique web design.

So, go buy this electronic version (email me first at karine@collegewebeditor.com today to request a discount code that will get you 10% off the book – what would have been my affiliate fee had I decided to sign up for the book affiliate program) – and if you want to get the print version, here’s what the Foss brothers have in store for you as explained in an email they sent this morning to folks who registered to get the early bird pricing

We expect the print version to be ready in the next two weeks. Once released we’ll offer a $19.99 US credit toward the purchase of the print version to anyone who couldn’t wait and bought the electronic version early.

Oh, and if you are wondering which institutions are featured in the book, here’s the complete list:

Have you checked out the book yet? Tell us what you think (good or bad) by posting a comment.