Review: Adobe Dreamweaver CS6: Digital Classroom

Dreamweaver CS6 Digital Classroom book coverMy Rating: 3.5/5

About the Book
Adobe Dreamweaver CS6: Digital Classroom is a beginner’s guide to web design using Adobe Dreamweaver. The book comes with a CD loaded with all image, media, and html files necessary to learn the basic functions of web design and cascading style sheets. The book is designed for readers who have very little, if any, knowledge of web design, HTML, and/or cascading style sheets.

Author: Jeremy Osborn & the AGI Creative Team
Publisher: Wiley
Cost: about $30 on Amazon

What I Liked
I have yet to find the perfect book for teaching web design to students, but this is the best I have found so far and it is 100 times better than the Adobe counterpart, Dreamweaver CS6: Classroom in a Book (see my review of that awful book here). Each chapter is set up into lessons that coincide files on a CD. The complexity of understanding how Dreamweaver works, how web browsers work, and how HTML and CSS work make the complete instruction of web design in one book difficult. But the authors of Digital Classroom make every attempt to explain why each step is necessary and what is happening behind the scenes. Students, for the most part, are able to easily complete the tasks in the book and get a good understanding of web design.

What I Didn’t Like
One of the biggest challenges to books like these (where they attempt to cover the gamut of Dreamweaver as well as CSS, HTML, browser differences, and how the internet works) is covering all the material while still helping students create a website from scratch. What I find is that students get a fairly good understanding of how Dreamweaver works and what is available to them, but they still really don’t understand HTML or CSS and have a very difficult time building a website from scratch. The lessons in this book don’t build on each other; rather, the book is a collection of 17 somewhat disconnected lessons that teach certain aspects of web design. In that sense, it isn’t a real useful guide for developing a site from the beginning. However, supplemented with in-class exercises and discussion, the book works much better than anything else I have tried. As a personal pet peeve, I also found myself annoyed at the number of punctuation errors, particularly run-ons due to a misuse of the semicolon in the book.

How I Used It
I have used this book in introductory web design classes for undergraduates majoring in business and/or communication. It is a nice complement to Steve Krug’s book, Don’t Make Me Think, which covers the basics of usability and web design best practices.