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Mono-Image CSS Rollover Menus - Outstanding Internet Books - Optimization Week of September 6, 2007

Optimization Week Issue #85, September 6, 2007

In this issue we've got three new items for you. First we show how to create a menu rollover with one image for the on and off state. This mono-image rollover uses CSS positioning to save an HTTP request, and is a preview of our full CSS sprite tutorial coming soon. Next we highlight two great books I'm reading. First up "Call to Action" is about boosting the conversion rate of your site. If you buy only one book on the Internet, buy this one. Next we follow up our "CSS Mastery" book review with a look at Andy Clarke's "Transcending CSS" book.

Mono-Image CSS Rollovers
Learn how to create menu rollovers with different graphic backgrounds with one image. Save HTTP requests by combining on and off images into one mini-sprite and position with CSS.
Outstanding Internet Books: Call to Action, Transcending CSS
In continuing our tradition of highlighting outstanding Internet-related books we've got two on tap for you. First "Call to Action" is all about conversion rate optimization. Although I've not quite finished reading it, this is got to be the best Internet book I've ever read. The writing is clear and organized. The examples, impressive as they are, are illuminating. And the advice, which will easily double your current conversion rate, is based on client testing. The Eisenberg brothers have been preaching the benefits of conversion rate optimization since 1998, and people are now starting to listen. The authors take you through their "persuasion architecture" process, from planning, structuring, communicating, persuasive momentum, and optimizing your site for higher conversion rates. Giving customers comforting messages (BBB, 100% guarantee, privacy policy, etc.) at different points of action is one key to keeping the conversion funnel flowing. The book is chock full of techniques you can use to boost your CR, as well as quotes from industry luminaries with their own advice. We'll have a full review in an upcoming issue, but I highly recommend that you buy this book. Yes, that was a call to action.

The other great book I'm reading is titled "Transcending CSS: the fine art of web design" by Andy Clarke. This is a lush, full-color companion for the CSS Mastery book I reviewed previously. The 371 page book takes a "content out" approach to web design, building up pages from best practice CSS techniques. The book has more about the design process (wireframing, prototyping, grid-based design) and less about all the CSS techniques that that Andy Budd talks about in his "CSS Mastery" book. This book will appeal to graphic designers who want to learn more CSS with its full-color websites as inspiration. I prefer the "CSS Mastery" book for its non-nonsence approach to teaching best-practice CSS techniques in use today and tomorrow.