3 Amazing Web Design Blogs for Beginners & Pros
Beginning to learn the basics of web design implies acknowledging that it is a vast world, flexible and open to everyone willing to learn.
There are books and tutorials available, however web design courses are also good for those who prefer having a teacher and who would also want a diploma in order to obtain a job in the future (either as a freelancer or hired by a company or agency), without having an actual degree.
For the new aspiring web designers, it is of major importance to consider the five main aspects of web design: content, visual elements, technology, performance, and purpose. Firstly, the shape and the way content is organized may vary from the way the text is written and how the entire content, including text, images and videos, is organized, presented, and structured by using a markup language such as HTML.
The visual elements are the ones that form the web site’s layout, which includes graphic elements for décor or navigation. The layout is usually created by using HTML, CSS, Photoshop and Flash or other graphic editing programs.
Technology, and not particularly basic web design technologies such as HTML and CSS actually have different aspects regarding the way elements in a web site interact, especially those developed using coding techniques. The elements can be client-side scripts or server-side applications.
Performance refers to loading, possible errors or situations in which those may appear, network architecture and the software and hardware used, all of these potentially affecting the performance of a website.
The final aspect, the purpose of the entire process is, actually, for most web designers, the most important aspect of web design. The reason why a website exists or is created is usually an economical one, but what matters is that the particular reason must always be considered when involving all of the core elements of web design, as well as the type of webpage.
Unlike a site with economical purposes, such as an online shop, a personal one for instance has less need for a convincing and eye-catching design, just like the promotional website for a movie has to be entertaining and interactive, contrasting an intranet page.
In the previous article, we talked about three of the best blogs to follow when beginning to learn the tricks and tips of web design and when wanting to keep oneself up to date with the news in the design world. We pointed out what they offer to their visitors and constant readers, the fact that they have job opportunities and stores offering gadgets or books on web design at fair prices. Now, it is the time to check out other blogs, which might not be as equally famous as Designrfix, Web Design Ledger and Smashing Magazine, but they can possibly bring something new and useful to the web design world.
A web designer’s “daily inspiration source for creative professionals”, InspiredM might not be incredibly popular, but it manages well with over 190,000 fans on Facebook and almost 58,000 followers on Twitter. The project of Catalin Zorzini, InspiredM was launched in 2014, fact that might explain why it is not the most popular web design blog on the internet, but highlights that its popularity is quite impressive for such a new project.
InspiredM is structured in five main parts: Blog, Freebies, Hosting, Resources, and Partners. Blog focuses on articles giving advice and sharing trends, exploring new tools for web designers, as well as design tricks, but also reviews on programs and techniques, tips for WordPress users and guidance for freelancers. As we already are accustomed, the Freebies tab shares templates, logos, tools, layouts and others for free of charge. The following tab, Hosting, focuses on hosting companies, offering assistance to those designers and developers, who are still novices in the web hosting field. The last available tab is the one referring to Partners, more specifically, Ecommerce Platforms and Ecommerce design; two web sites dedicated to reviewing and recommending online stores and everything related to online purchases. The other partner is Website Builders, “an unbiased review site that shows the good, great, bad, and ugly of online store building software”.
Self-described as “one of the most popular blogs about web design trends, tutorials and much more”, Webdesigner Depot is an interactive web design blog founded in 2010, which has more than 262,000 likes on Facebook and 735,000 followers on Twitter.
The News tab redirects the visitors to the Webdesigner News page (webdesignernews.com), a page that allows for a better way of navigating through a mass of articles, all gathered from other sources. These articles regard free or new fonts, interesting apps and news about discounts for stock images, ideas for designers and guides on various themes concerning web design.
The Apps section offers guidance for books on graphic design and CSS, videos, catalogs of vectors, podcasts, inspiring quotes, and solutions to script problems, interviews with experts in design, a list of design events, and some comics.
3. A List Apart
Another important and valuable web design blog is A List Apart, a magazine aimed at those who look for guidance in the process of creating websites. Despite having only barely more than 39,000 fans on Facebook and 144,000 followers on Twitter, it has been available as a website since 1998. Since then, A List Apart has “explored the design, development, and meaning of web content, with a special focus on web standards and best practices”. For almost 20 years, A List Apart has had the purpose of informing, challenging, educating, and advertising web design as a career, as well as other related fields.
The website is less modern in terms of aspect, unlike its rivals, by being structured literally like a magazine that invites visitors to check out its three main tabs. The articles follow a classic formula of introducing a certain element in a story like manner, the fact that differentiates it from other web design blogs, which aim to be more concise and less literary.
A List Apart also has a section designated for the events held by its team with videos and transcripts from the previous years. An Event Apart (aneventapart.com) notifies that the next events are scheduled in July 25-27 in Washington DC, August 29-31 in Chicago, October 3-5 in Orlando and October 31- November 2 in San Francisco.
Another topic would be Design (divided in Brand Identity, Graphic Design, Layout & Grids, Mobile/ Multidevice, Responsive Design and Typography & Web Fonts), a field full of inventive and tactical methods of building interfaces, layouts, illustrations, all while using the best influences and trends.
The fourth topic is reserved to Business, Industry and State of Web, giving away tips and tricks on following the evolution of technology, making money, web laws, internet freedoms, online privacy and censorship. Process (which includes Creativity, Project Management, Web Strategy and Workflow & Tools) refers to tools, techniques, interacting with people from the same field of work, clients, dealing with projects, budgets, being your own critics, agreements, goals and other plans.
The final topic is meant to discuss aspects of User Experience. In Accessibility, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Usability, and User Research, a rookie web designer finds the necessary information about what the visitors, audience, or users might want, about designing and testing the products, as well as other topics.
When not reading about web design or even about the long history of A List Apart, one can apply for a job as a writer in the blog’s team and share their knowledge about the world of web design. If one is not that much of an expert, they can check A Book Apart (abookapart.com) and discover some nice and interesting books on web design – from HTML and CSS techniques, to adapting to mobile versions and setting prices.
Obviously there are so many web design blogs that have great tutorials and inspirations. The blog enumerated above are my favorites.
Which web design blogs do you follow? Let me know in the comments and I might add the best blogs to this article.