The New Design FundamentalsMy wife of 24 years is about to get chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer, very possibly inoperable.

So you can imagine how I felt when I read of a cancer patient who had died because of badly designed software. Giving her chemo, the nurses giving overlooked crucial information—because the software’s complexity distracted them.

Botching the design of an e-book or Web site won’t kill your readers in most cases, but it can frustrate them endlessly. In The New Design Fundamentals, a collection of O’Reilly-related writings, you’ll learn to acquire the right philosophy of  design for your needs.

Certain ideas often apply whether you’re laying out a romance novel or designing a program for oncology professionals.

Mind you, not everything is universal. While Web users generally favor information in small nuggets, there can also be a place for long-form writing. Still, The New Design Fundamentals does a nice job of educating you about the basics even if you’ll still need other guidance. It’s free. One catch is that you’ll be reading material in draft. But as a $0 download, the PDF is well worth the time.

And speaking of design: If all goes as expected, changes in the TeleRead site aren’t that far off (not just the fixing of the broken “Previous page” feature). We’ll welcome your own design suggestions. What are you especially keen on the design offering? What are must-keep features? And what do you think we should avoid?

I’d also be curious what you feel about the most common mistakes that e-book designers make, as well as any thoughts you’d have on solutions.



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