Must-Read Web Design Articles for Beginners

by Jake Rocheleau

on May 30, 2013

in Resources

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There will always be new people getting into the process of learning web design. It is a convoluted topic at first, but if you stick with your studies it can be an extremely rewarding experience. The web design community is full of useful freebies and tutorials which you can find all through Google.

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I want to present a small collection of posts which are geared towards newcomers in web design. The technique involves both designing graphics and coding them into HTML/CSS webpages. These two main fields of study will require months if not years of practice before you feel confident with your work. But that is the beauty of web design! Just follow what the professionals do and you will quickly learn how to emulate the best design practices.

New Defaults in Web Design

The online publication Smashing Magazine has been going on for years. They write about so many various design and development trends which simply cannot be found elsewhere. One of their most recent articles from May 2013 is about defaults in web design. More specifically, what are the common templates and boilerplates which most designers are sticking to as a default solution?

smashingmagazine web design defaults interface

Think about all the various elements from text sizes, form inputs, table designs, images, even basic layout creation. CSS3 provides a lot of solutions but website layouts are still commonly using the floats technique for generating multi-column designs. Another interesting trend is responsive web design which has been shaping how users will access the Internet.

Dig through this article and be sure to skim other headlines on the site which have been published recently. I believe Smashing Magazine is one of the better guides out there. Authors will definitely publish some more advanced articles but you can find all sorts of unique information on their blog.

Tutorials for Beginning Web Designers

Along with Smashing Magazine there is another network of sites run by Envato called Tuts+. The NetTuts+ blog writes great tutorials related to web development – HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL, and other languages. There is a brief roundup titled 10 Hand-Picked Tutorials for Beginning Web Designers which offers the perfect resource for getting started.

best top tutorials webdesigners beginners

It may take a bit of time to go through all of the links. I do not think you should try to complete every tutorial, but this is an excellent way to get started. You should find out which key aspects of web development can interest you the most. Frontend + backend development would encapsulate the majority of time spent managing a website. So if you can pick up on the more advanced languages then keep at it!

Hottest Design Trends for 2013

A few months back I had written a blog post for Hongkiat which centered around hot web design trends to watch for 2013. It is nice to revisit the past ~6 months of design features and write about new ideas which are emerging quickly. Web designers who are not familiar with these trends should skim this article and keep their eyes open for websites utilizing these features.

hongkiat blog web design trends 2013 articles

Rounded corners and box shadows used to require images and careful CSS positioning. Now these effects may be generated using standard CSS3 properties! Trends are always advancing and you need to understand the best solutions for creating any look on your website.

But I do not think you should take in all the effects as natural trends. Some web designers would not like using a fixed toolbar or QR code block. It all depends on your circumstance and preferences for building layouts. I still feel this article provides a good base so that up-and-coming designers will have ideas to work with.

Beginner’s Guide to Responsive Web Design

blog treehouse articles responsive web design

The Treehouse Blog is another fantastic resource for new web designers. The Treehouse website itself is a learning ground where you can pay for access to self-help videos on so many various topics. However the blog is greatly focused towards web design/development with new tutorials and articles publishing every week.

If you have any interest to build responsive layouts or responsive web templates then see this Treehouse blog post. It delves into the basics of responsive design, how you can rearrange your layout using CSS3 media queries to display certain content on smaller screens. This trend has gained a very large following and I can see responsive design still being quite relevant 5-10 years into the future.

Closing

I think there are dozens of solid articles to be found online. You can search using a slew of different keywords and the results will always be changing. But I do hope these examples can shed some light on more complicated topics. Web designers are forced to deal with a lot of hurdles, and getting started can be the toughest part of all. If you have similar ideas or questions on the post you may share with us in the discussion area below.

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About Jake Rocheleau

Jake is a digital researcher and writer on many popular design magazines. He frequently writes on topics including web design, user experience, mobile apps, and project management. You can find him all throughout Google and tweeting @jakerocheleau. Connect with Jake on google+