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Content critical – review


Title: Content Critical: Gaining Competitive Advantage Through High-Quality Web Content
Authors: Gerry McGovern and Rob Norton
Publisher: Pearson Professional Education Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2002
Format: Paperback, 224 pp
Price: £219918.00
ISBN: 027365604X

Buy this book from the TrainingZONE - Blackwells bookshop.

The greatest ideas are the most obvious. Gerry McGovern and Rob Norton have produced a book crammed full of obvious ideas on building great websites.

The authors have hit upon the idea that people come to the Web for one thing – content. Getting the content right is more important than flashy graphics, obscure navigation or groundbreaking technology. And saying 'content is king' is not enough. That's like saying that the product is king, the authors note. Rather, the user of that product – in this case, the reader, must lead the way.

This book lays out sensible guidelines, with current examples, on how this can be achieved. Basic publishing strategies applied to the Internet. Finding out what the reader wants; developing a high-quality editorial process; sound classification procedures; familiar design and navigation. All very obvious. But so obviously lacking on so many websites today.

Some pointers, though. The adherence to directory-based structures for websites, as seen on Yahoo, needs a little development if you are to implement this on a site that has frequently-changing content. Interactivity is barely mentioned. And design is relegated to the back of the book, just as the Web designer is put at the bottom of the Web publishing process by the authors.

But with so many websites driven by technological desire rather than publishing reality, these are relatively unimportant criticisms. As more and more successful print-based publishers get their heads around the new medium, the ideas contained in this book will become the norm. Everyone involved in the Web should read this book; it is Tom Paine's Common Sense for a wired world. Buy it now or watch your empire fall.


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