- Whatever you do, don't make the mistake of using this book as bedtime reading material.
The other night I couldn't get to sleep, so I thought, I'll start Zeldman's book on web standards, that ought'a knock me out. Wrong. At 4:30 a.m., I looked up and realized dawn wasn't too far off. I didn't care. I finished the chapter I was reading and barely kept myself from starting another.
The problem is Jeffrey Zeldman's not only an accomplished writer, he has a way of making geeky stuff like web standards and browser wars and DOCTYPEs interesting and amusing. This is hazardous for beauty rest.
- Do not attempt to read this book without post-it notes, a pen or a highlighter in hand.
In fact, keeping all three at the ready will save you the most trouble because you're going to want to mark up lots of pages. You'll come across insights about the web and the Internet that you never knew or that explained things you always wondered about. You'll read numerous passages that point out things you are doing wrong in your coding and that you'll want to correct, pronto. You'll discover tips that will make your design life easier. You'll probably even run across a few humorous bits you wouldn't mind trying out at the next cocktail party.
- Don't expect to be same designer you were before you read this book.
If you didn't know it already, you're going to come away from this book with a clear understanding of how and why current design practices are insupportable. You'll know where the web is headed, and how you and your work fit into that picture. And you'll be armed with new tools and the ability to use them to build better web sites.
If all that sounds tiring and like too much work, don't worry. Zeldman has so much enthusiasm and energy that enough of it will rub off on you to keep you going through at least the start of your first redesign.
- Finally, don't put off reading this book.
Whether you're familiar with web standards or haven't a clue what they are, pick up this book. Designing with Web Standards is not just a guide to using CSS. It's an important and highly readable exploration of the state of the web and the future of web design.