Designing a web site for the first time can be a daunting task, but there are tons of resources available on the internet to make the process easier. Here are a few web sites we think every amateur web designer should have in their favourites!
Web Designer Wall offers web design tutorials and a job board for web design related positions, both very useful resources for the beginning web designer. However, what I like best about Web Designer Wall is their section on current trends in web design. It’s an excellent resource to use when you’ve run out of ideas and need a little inspiration to get your creative juices flowing again!
World Wide Web Consortium is an international organisation responsible for developing internet guidelines and protocols. Their web site isn’t much to look at, but it’s chock-full of valuable information like tutorials on HTML, CSS, internationalization, and accessibility. Plus, they offer a markup validation service — just input your web site’s URL, and the World Wide Web Consortium will tell you if your site is accessible to people with disabilities.
Rocket Theme is an excellent resource for web designers who use the content management system Joomla (which I highly recommend!). You can join their template club and gain access to tons of Joomla templates — always a great tool to use when creating your first web site! Plus, Rocket Theme offers excellent Joomla video tutorials on how to install templates and use the software.
A List Apart is an elegantly designed web site with eloquently written content about everything web design — from content and code to culture and design, they have an insightful article on seemingly every web design related topic. The findings from their 2008 web design survey is a must-read for anyone in the web design industry.
Need photos, videos, images, or audio to add some interest to your web site? Then check out iStockphoto for a huge range of cheap royalty-free media files to help spice up a bland site. iStockphoto also allows your own work to other users just like you. Overall, iStockphoto is a great way to save AND make a little extra cash.
Don’t have time to learn everything there is to know about Photoshop but still want a cool and professional looking site? Psdtuts+ is a sleek blog/web site which offers easy to understand Photoshop tutorials for every skill level from absolute beginner to seasoned expert. So stop looking at web sites and wondering “How did they do that?”, and start going to Psdtuts+ to find out how!
Nobody enjoys proofreading, except maybe editors (sadists!), but it’s a necessary evil of web design. Misspelling a word is far from the worst error anyone could ever make, but a web site riddled with typos can have a negative impact on the way visitors view a company or organization. Reread your content until you’re sick of it; have a friend or colleague check it over for mistakes; use your content management system’s spell checker; look up any words you’re not sure about on dictionary.com. Another tip? Make Mozilla Firefox your web browser of choice, and it will highlight misspellings in any text boxes (including content management system text editors)!
Elegant Themes is a great place to find sleek and professional looking WordPress themes for your blog or web site. Their WordPress themes are compatible with all of the major web browsers, written in valid XHMTL and CSS, easy to install, and compatible with the latest version of WordPress. For only £15 a year, Elegant Themes gives you unlimited access to all of their templates, so you can use their themes to design multiple sites!
Need a cool colour scheme for your new web site? Colour Lovers is an excellent source for new colours and palettes (with their HEX and RGB values, of course), and they have a bunch of unusual patterns to help boost your creativity. Be sure to check out Colour Lovers’ section on trends for web site colours for the latest colour combinations in web design.
Smashing Magazine is the web design site that has everything! They offer an excellent collection of CS3 tutorials, tons of articles just on fonts (yes, fonts!), an inspiration section full of some truly beautiful images, and postings of jobs in the web design industry. Love free stuff? Check out their Freebies section for everything from free icons to free WordPress themes!
Ready to start building your web site? Check out Starter Plan! It was custom designed for beginner web designers just like you!