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(I was learning)

Resources for the beginner

When I first started dabbling in Web design I felt overwhelmed by all of it, including the jargon, acronyms and software. From experience as a user I knew that not all sites were created equal and that there must be best practices for building a good site. Despite this knowledge and desire, I had no clue where to get information that I knew was good. I needed someone to give me an idea what tools to use and what technologies to start with.

In the past few weeks I have received multiple requests from friends in graphic design courses who want to get into Web design and need some information on where to start. I have decided to post that information here in the hopes that others will also find it useful. Let me know if I forgot something.


For Starters: These editors are big, powerful programs. I would recommend using them as you learn because theY have WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors. You can work in a “split mode” where you can drag-n-drop and see the code that is being written as you work. These programs also have tools that will write a lot of code for you. It’s not the cleanest code, but you can still learn a lot by looking at what it writes and then playing with it.

More Advanced: These editors are smaller, more streamlined programs. They don’t have the bloat that the WYSIWYGers have. They each have their pros and cons but essentially do the same thing: let you write clean code easily and quickly. Coda is my preferred editor.


These sites have articles and tutorials regarding both design and code. Most every designer listed at the end of this message will also have articles, information and tutorials on design and code.


The unfortunate fact about tech books is that they go out of date rather quickly. However, sometimes you just can’t beat a good book, and these are ones that I used or still use.

Rather than list a zillion books, you can sift through my Amazon Wish List in which there are many good web design books (an attempt to get you to buy me something :) or, better yet, have a look at Roger Johansson’s book reviews.


These are inspirational or showcase sites. The way to learn from these sites is to see what you like and then look at their code to see how they did it.


These are all designers that I look up to. And they are just that — designers. In most cases they are probably more familiar with Photoshop and Illustrator than their text editor, yet they write all of their code by hand. To my knowledge all of these designers use one of the editors listed in the advanced section above.

Please note that the lists above are not comprehensive nor in any particular order. I may have left some things out, but this should give anyone with desire a place to start.