Project Management

Quick tips for web design: Keep learning

Ryan Boudreaux highlights a few handy resources for those who both want to get started and continue their web design education without going back to the classroom.

Pushing the envelope of web design requires understanding and learning new developments, such as CSS3 and HTML5. These and other innovations will help you drive web design through the ever changing pace of technological advancements. And you don't necessarily have to attend a college or university as a full time student to continue learning.

This post outlines a short list of several resources for sharpening your skills and knowledge, including a number of online resources, a collection of books, and several videos. Some resources are available for free and some require a fee; it is up to you to match the resource(s) with your learning requirements.

Online resources

The Web Standards Project (WaSP), offers the Web Standards InterACT as a living, open curriculum based on web standards and best practices, designed to teach students the skills of the web professional. Participants are able to adapt, reuse, and contribute content to the six learning tracks which are divided into Foundations, Front-End Development, Design, User Science, Server-side Development, and Professional Practice.

World Organization of Webmasters (WOW) is another pioneer in the effort to bridge education and industry. The online education includes topics for professionals, students, and educators, with several course titles, including, HTML5 Instructor Led Course, Fundamentals of Web Design, Introduction to PHP, and WordPress Fundamentals. You don't have to be a member to participate; however, discounted rates for courses are a benefit with a membership.

Books

These would be great additions for your web design library.

The Zen of CSS Design: Visual Enlightenment for the Web: While it might be dated somewhat today, authors Dave Shea and Molly Holzschlag present the book inspired by the CSS Zen Garden project which Shea had started several years prior to the book. The book features many of the designs from the CSS Zen Garden project and provides inspiration through descriptions of the theory behind the designs; while it does not offer much actual CSS coding, the book does highlight design theory.

The Web Book: This book is on the list because it is a free eBook available for online viewing or as a PDF download, and it's a great starter book for the newbie web developer. The book tells you everything you need to know in order to create a home or business Web site from scratch. It covers everything from registering a domain name and renting some hosting space, to creating your first HTML page, to building full online database applications with PHP and MySQL.

Web Style Guide: The online site houses the complete unabridged edition of the book which is also available in print. Written for web site designers, the book explains established design principles and covers all aspects of web design — from planning to production to maintenance. The guide also shows how these principles apply in web design projects whose primary concerns are information design, interface design, and efficient search and navigation.

Videos

Kevin Kelly on the next 5,000 days of the web (TED): While some of the information presented in this short lecture are a bit dated today, at the 2007 EG conference, Kevin Kelly asks, "How can we predict what's coming in the next 5,000 days?" Kelly offers many relevant insights into the web's future.

"So I'm curious about what's going to happen in the next 5,000 days. But if that's happened in the last 5,000 days, what's going to happen in the next 5,000 days?" - Kevin Kelly

Free Video Lectures: Offers over 150 videos on the subject of web design, all which feature lectures from colleges such as Stanford, Harvard, IIT Madras, and UC Berkley. Topics include Developing Mobile Apps with Web Technologies, Building Dynamic Web Sites utilizing LAMP, and XML Foundations.

YouTube EDU: Offers free online access to many college courses in video format, and a recent search on the site with the keyword phrase "web design" turned up over 1,800 results.

About

Ryan has performed in a broad range of technology support roles for electric-generation utilities, including nuclear power plants, and for the telecommunications industry. He has worked in web development for the restaurant industry and the Federal g...

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