A web design revolution: Web Vastu

18 Dec 2007

Web Vastu coverI was recently given a highly underrated gift, a book. This wasn’t just any book, but at the time it was a new release that was getting a lot of publicity and was acquired from the far off land of India. The book is Web Vastu: Designing Websites according to the Ancient Sciences of Directions by Dr. Smita Jain Narang. A lot of hard work and research went into finding this book and tracking down a copy for me. I was excited to get into it partly because I couldn’t believe I’d never heard of the book before I unwrapped it, and partly because the idea of combining religious principles, or at least beliefs that are more organic in nature, with the very modern and technical process of web design was very intriguing to me.

The book was featured on WIRED, CNN, Reuters, The Register and other news outlets and websites. And drew some heat.

In general, the book was a letdown. Despite the criticism it’s received, I was hoping to pick up some profound thoughts or methods and was left with profound disappointment. I could pick apart the poor grammar, spelling or use of the English language, but that doesn’t accomplish anything and is beside the point. The new, and relevant, information that it provided could have been condensed to 10 pages instead of the 133 the book takes up. The redundancy is appalling the the misinformation is beyond painful.

The Internet is an enormous library or collection of libraries through which one can access information.
page 35

That’s not what the Internet is at all, not even abstractly.

Another live saving use of the Net is the use in emergency. If a person is not able to go to a doctor or the doctor is not available in person, there are so many sites on the Net that provide you with urgent help. You type the problem and they will give you the first-aid help. What else can a person think beyond that!
page 38

What else can a person think? How about No, No, No. I love WebMD just as much as everyone else, but don’t forget the “WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.” line at the bottom of every page.

I could go on and on but it’s just more of the same. So all said, the book was a big let-down. I can’t criticize the accuracy of the belief systems that were described or their translation into the digital age. But given the author’s less than admirable grasp of web development and design, I have a hard time believing that I’ve overlooked some immense value.

Dr. Smita Jain Narang, if you need a co-author for the second edition of the book, let me know. I’m here to help.