Top 10 Web Designer Resources
January 15th 2010
10. Color Schemer
A great man once told me that "Graphic design is all about throwing up on the screen a couple of times before finding something that works." With Color Schemer you can at least get some help in preventing your design test runs from using colors that go together like forest green and hot pink. This site includes tools to help select color schemes as well as a gallery of color groupings that are known to work.
If you are a web developer that uses Flex or Flash and you haven't ever visited Actionscript.org you're doing something wrong. (or you are a Master of Web Masters). Actionscript.org hosts a wealth of information regarding all forms of Adobe's Actionscript language. The site includes a forum to post your latest hair pulling problem resulting in an undefined variable, articles by other web designers on pretty much every topic you could imagine, enough tutorials to take you from a newbie to a coding legend and a slew of other cool goodies. Even if you <> Actionscripter, this site has many things you may find useful.
DevGuru is a great reference site for many web based scripting and markup languages. Detailed information for major web technologies can be found here with great technical references and examples. One of my personal favorite sections is the CSS reference. Not only do they show you what the heck different stuff does, they show you what browser compatibility is to be expected from different properties.
Also known as the World Wide Web Consortium, the W3C is the unofficial regulators for web standards. These are the people that pushed marquee out and delivered us the sexy XHTML standard. They provide some powerful tools like a link checker and HTML/CSS validation. While some of their content is really dry and contains more technical informational than a breath taking story line, web geeks will eat through their specifications and come out the other side feeling that their skills have been sharpened.
I would love to take this chance to dog on amateur photography and its use in web design, but I will spare you the lecture. There are many stock photography sources on the web but none can truly compare to the power of GettyImages. As one of the oldest and most extensive image libraries, GettyImages sports some really nice features as well as tons of eye tantalizing pixels. Some of the top shelf features include the ability to search for images via multiple topics, categories, orientations, styles and they even have video. Another nice feature is the use of "lightboxes" which allow you to create folders of images based on project, client, usage or what ever you want.
Digg is a great resource for web news but even more important they have a section that applies directly to designers. You can create an account and get all sorts of helpful links to articles that relate to your daily list of pixel jockey tasks or fill a couple of minutes of downtime with some healthy research. If you dig Digg then you can also implement Digg into your own web sites and share all of your tasty information. If you dig it Digg it!
5. Template Monster
One of my favorite quotes comes from Picasso (Pablo, not Google's Picasa) in which he states "Good artists copy, great artists steal!" While I won't promote plagiarism in anyway, I will say that looking at others work and expanding on it is not only helpful, it's a must to keep up on web design trends. If you want to skip graphic design altogether, you can find a full web template at Template Monster. Or if you would rather just get some great ideas, you can peruse the Template Monster pages for elements, photos and colors.
4. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools provides a great way to track how Google sees your websites. Their dashboard is simple and allows you to diagnose typical problems with your site including crawler errors, crawler stats and they even give you suggestions on how to improve your sites performance. You can also jump over to webmaster central to discuss Google ranking and SEO topics.
2. Google Analytics
Hands down, Google Analytics is one of the best stat tracking systems available. Not to mention that it's provided by the number one search engine for the low, low cost of FREE! If you don't have a Google account already, you should sign up just for their analytics tools. You can view all the normal information a good web stats program would deliver, as well as enjoy the ability to set site goals and view your site with a content overlay. The overlay will provide you with a visual representation of how visitors are pounding through your content.
1. Google Search
Google search has to be the king of the most valuable resources available to any web designer. Google provides a starting point for any question, problem, image search, design ideas or information gathering. Google's constant ability to further improve search results, provide top notch tools and deliver amazing advertising opportunities just furthers the bar for every either company out there.
Web Department Manager