Web Design Resources

I became a geek by accident. I was a groupie for ages and then it just kind of rubbed off on me. I am eager to collect my links before they get lost.  The resources for learning to design well are out there, but hard to find and evaluate until you know the basics.  This represents, quite simply, what I know so far. Designing to standards is so graceful when you finally feel comfortable with it, it demands a lot, but now I wouldn’t do it any other way.

Almost all of the pages I write are XHTML 1.0 Strict, with valid CSS.  Support for it is excellent now, and with some thought no one, not even users of Netscape 4.X need to lose content.  They may not get to see your gorgeous design, but your page will be light and flexible, and users of modern browsers can still get a full user experience without designing different sites for every browser ever made. 

Articles:

Accessibility

Web Standards

I started by reading the specifications at the W3C.  I like this approach, but there are probably easier ways to go about it.  The specifications are usually relatively straightforward, but they include a lot of information about browser implimentation that isn’t strictly necessary.  Also, they just aren’t targeted to designers.  They aren’t supposed to be.  I am ordering Eric Meyers book about CSS and I will let you know what I think. 

Design Resources

  • Color Scheme – A tool for harmonizing your color scheme.
  • ChromoFlash – another color tool (in French).
  • A list Apart – Articles on all aspects of standards based design.
  • Spazowham – I am completely in awe of these people, they are incredibly clever and committed to accessibility.  No sacrifice.
  • Layout-o-matic – For basic layout choices you do not need to reinvent the wheel.
  • Essential Fonts For Designers – A source for free true type fonts.
  • Dreamweaver – An excellent tool, though it needs to be coerced into producing valid accessible code.
  • XMLSPY – This editor is amazing, valid or very nearly valid code 100% of the time.  Not for the faint hearted, this is a powerful tool, not a WYSIWYG environment.

Cross Browser Compatibility

  • Position is Everything – Excellent source of information on css bugs and support. Use caution employing their techniques, some of the cures are worse than the disease. I would rather add a couple unstructural div tags than a mess of hacks in the css.

Usability

  • Designing Web Usability – by Jakob Nielson, a fabulous book, takes the guess work out of making a website work for the users. I read it in a weekend, it managed to be that engaging.

Examples