2011 was the year the TechRepublic Web Designer blog debuted with its regular writer Ryan Boudreaux, plus contributions from Todd Fluhr, Sankalp Waingankar, and Justin James. With designers just getting their feet wet with new HTML5 and CSS3 code, those topics have been in the forefront along with practical tips and example projects.

Top 10 most-read posts of the year in Web Designer

1. HTML5: The next generation of web design

Ryan Boudreaux introduces the latest updates to the HTML5 specification, shows how the major browsers are comparing so far, and suggests additional HTML5 resources for web designers.

2. Free or inexpensive online web design tools

Ryan Boudreaux shares eight web design and image editing tools that are freely available or very inexpensive – for newbies as well as frugal-minded design pros.

3. Quick Tip: Five don’ts of web design

Ryan Boudreaux lists his top five don’ts for web design and explains why they’re not good ideas.

4. This is why your website sucks

C. Todd Fluhr pulls no punches in telling you exactly why your website is unsuccessful, boring, forgotten, and basically a waste of your initial investment. Here’s what you should do about it.

5. HTML5: Attributes, semantic markup, redefined elements

Ryan Boudreaux demonstrates coding examples for empty attributes, attributes with values, semantic markup samples, conforming examples, and redefined elements.

6. Quick tips: Web designers should be aware of these four legalities

Ryan Boudreaux offers some guidance on several legal matters that web designers need to address, possibly with the aid of a professional legal adviser.

7. How to right-size your website for mobile screens

Sankalp Waingankar shows you how to make optimum use of the screen width provided by different mobile devices even when you have to design for older devices that don’t support the use of HTML tables.

8. Designing websites without code

You don’t necessarily have to know how to code to produce a website these days. Ryan Boudreaux looks at some of the platforms that allow for easy, rapid website development.

9. HTML5: Creating a base template

Ryan Boudreaux details some of the first element updates of HTML5. Follow along and create a base template to reflect the updated specification.

10. Backgrounds in web design: Creating a theme

Ryan Boudreaux shows you how to create a unified website theme by fitting backgrounds, illustrations, images, graphics, and textual content together in a design. In this post, he puts together an example for a restaurant website using Photoshop tools.