Web Style Guide third edition

by Patrick J. Lynch
and Sarah Horton


Once upon a time, there was a pig named Wilbur. What? Did you expect a line on design or a word about the web? Or would you prefer a simile, a figurative yet sincere invocation of kinship with The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E. B. White?

It’s true, this book has style. And it covers all the elements from css and typography to html and the structure of prose. But, if we focus too narrowly on the conjunction and the comma, we may lose sight of the composition.

So let’s return to the runt who becomes “some pig” thanks to the writing in Charlotte’s Web. Wilbur and his spider friend, Charlotte, teach us about loyalty and friendship in a way that touches all readers, young and old.

In similar fashion, Web Style Guide delivers value and meaning to seemingly disparate audiences, from the student prodigy who would be webmaster to the grizzled veteran information architect who’s been there and organized that.

For the beginner, this book teaches the fundamentals of interface design, information architecture, and usability without unnecessary complexity or jargon. It’s the clearest, most practical guide to Web design you’ll find.

Experts will savor this book differently. In an age of specialization, we often get stuck in a rut. Web Style Guide invites us once again to see the whole and to learn the latest techniques from related disciplines and communities of practice.

But this book is more than a manual. It speaks not only to what we do but why. Patrick Lynch and Sarah Horton inspire us to strive for universal usability. And because not everyone can enjoy the beautiful images and typography of the printed work, the authors walk the talk by sharing an accessible version of Web Style Guide online, for free.

After all, concern for people lies at the heart of design. We lift ourselves up by helping others. As Charlotte explained to Wilbur at the end of her story, “I wove my webs for you because I liked you.” Isn’t that our story, too?

—Peter Morville