These are my top 10 go-to web design resources – the tools, websites, blogs, magazines and articles I use all the time as I go about designing and developing websites.
2. HTML Kit
This was the first text editor I used and I’ve stuck with it, despite trying others, such as Aptana and Notepad ++. I feel comfortable with HTML Kit, I’m used to the shortcuts, love the auto-complete features, and the ability to work on 3 files at a time in one window. Why change when it does everything I need!
I can literally spend hours on this site. The ultimate colour resource, it’s community-based with users submitting colours, palettes and patterns. If you have a colour in mind, you can search the site for inspiration and see how other people are using it. You can create palettes using an image or photograph. The area that has me playing around for ages though, is the pattern section where you can colour-up a vast array of patterns – hours of fun!
This is another fantastic colour resource. Simply input an RBG value and it generates a palette of colours. You then have six options of colour scheme to choose from, such as monochromatic, complementary and analogous. The colour list tab gives you the RBG codes for the selected colours. I often use this first, then put together my colour palette in COLOURLovers.
5. CSS Mania
My favourite CSS design gallery. Its uncomplicated layout, with large screenshots of the featured sites lets you see what’s what straight away. I also love that the information page for each website includes details of the colour scheme, as well as the opportunity for you to give it a score out of 10. A good source of inspiration.
Simply the best magazine for web designers, FACT! Every month it is packed with informative articles, workable tutorials, witty insights (Gary Marshall’s big mouth is guaranteed to be read first), and great advice. The overall design of the magazine is fantastic – the cover images are simply stunning. Whenever I feel the need to get away from the computer, there is nothing better than getting stuck in to this for inspiration and invaluable advice.
Of all the design blogs I follow, this has to be my favourite. It is up-to-date, informative and always the place to go for a good, balanced debate on design issues. Back in September, I particularly enjoyed the discussion arising out of the article “Does the Future of the Internet Have Room for Web Designers” and its rebuttal “I Want to be a Web Designer When I Grow Up”. Plus, the monthly desktop wallpapers are loved in my household – choosing the December one this morning sparked a heated discussion between my children, but my choice won. After all, it is my computer desktop!
This is one of those articles that I always go back to because the information in it is so useful. Font stacks help you build a hierarchy of preferred fonts to fall back on if your users do not have the specified one available on their system. Nathan Ford provides a comprehensive list of serif, sans-serif and mono-space stacks and indicates their suitability for titles and body copy.
The poor man’s Photoshop! I may have only scratched the surface of it capabilities but I love it.
10. W3C Validators
Validate, validate, validate! That may sound clichéd, but validating your code is important. You may think that you’ve written everything perfectly, but even the best of us forgets to close a tag properly or misspells a selector from time to time. The W3C validators help bring these silly mistakes to our attention. Wouldn’t be without them!