17 Web Design Resources You Need to Know

Press color management - print productionThe Internet and social media have proven that humans are very visual creatures. How a website looks can be just as important as the content it holds. If a website looks slapped together, it makes your business look rushed, unreliable and untrustworthy. And since humans are so visual, it’s possible that your design will turn them off before they even get to read all the great content you’ve created for your business.

This means that your website needs an attractive design in order to help it convert visitors into sales. If a website is not easy to use and navigate – not to mention easy on the eyes – many new visitors will quickly navigate away.

Fortunately, you don’t have thousands of dollars in the bank to improve your site’s appearance. If you’re looking to make a few fast and easy changes, check out the following web design resources for inspiration:

General Web Design Resources

Smashing Magazine – Smashing Magazine is a web design site that offers information on different topics that will appeal to all levels of designers. Here, you can find tips on graphics, typography, CSS and more. The site also offers a job board for designers who are looking to pick up additional work.

Noupe – Noupe is an excellent site for those looking for information on web design and development. Resources include information on CSS, AJAX, Photoshop, WordPress and more. The site includes tutorials, tips for freelancers and posts on how to optimize photography, making it a great resource for designers and webmasters alike.

Treehouse Blog – This blog focuses on website design, coding, both the iOS and Android mobile platforms, and more. If you’re looking to learn even more about the world of web design, be sure to check out the company’s paid training program as well.

A List Apart – This website is one of the pillars of the web design blog world. The articles are submitted by multiple, diverse contributors providing an overview of just about everything in the web design industry. This site really digs into the math and measurement that go into typography as well, making it a fascinating resource for all the font jockeys out there.

Web Appers – This blog focuses on all the open source resources that currently exist for web developers. For those out there who like to think about functionality, as well as form, this is a great place to learn.

Web Designer Wall – This site is geared towards aspiring web designers and is a great place to go for design ideas, as well as for the latest in web trends. The site also offers a plethora of tutorials to help you implement whatever it is that the site inspires you to create.

Standard Banner Sizes – Making graphic banners?  You’ll want to check out this great cheat sheet to help ensure that any banners you design meet standard sizing requirements.

Stock Photography Resources

iStock Photo – iStock Photo is one of the largest stock photography sites in the world. With great search functions, as well as both free and paid images, iStock photo is the place where many designers start their image searches.

Dreamstime – Dreamstime offers more than 17 million photos for free or at a low cost. This is another great place to stop by if you’re looking for imagery for your website.

Shutterstock – Shutterstock offers images, videos and vector files and has a library that adds over 10,000 images daily.  All told, it’s one of the best places to find stock photography online today.

Big Stock Photo – This service provides stock photos for a nominal fee. Get started by purchasing either a $35 credit pack or a $69 per month fee in order to download five images or more a day.

Typography Resources

Interactive Guide to Blog Typography – When setting up a business blog, you may have slightly different typography goals than when designing a full website. And in that case, you’ll want to check out this resource. This site is dedicated to helping designers use the best fonts for their blogs, making it a must-see if you’re designing your first blog or if devote regular time to blog design.

Setting Type – Setting Type is an interactive tool that walks you through the ins and outs of typography. This hands-on experience gives users insight into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to a site’s typography.

What the Font – Curious about what fonts your favorite websites use?  This site will tell you, giving you all the information needed to replicate the visual experience on your own website.

Website Optimization Tools

CrazyEgg – CrazyEgg is a tool that helps you to understand what’s working on an existing site through the use of heat mapping and scroll reports. The company also offers a tool called “Confetti” that helps you to determine which sections on your website are being clicked and which referral sources are driving these clicks. Together, these tools can help you understand which design elements to change in order to drive better website results.

Zentester – This tool offers great analytics for existing websites, including A/B testing, scroll and heat mapping, and other features. Again, it’s another great tool that helps designers to understand what’s working and what isn’t. This provides a great springboard for strategizing a new website design.

Google Page Speed – One of the biggest flaws in any website is slow load times. Even though designers tend to be primarily focused on how a site looks, it’s important to check to make sure that your design choices aren’t slowing down the site’s load times.

Whether you’re a professional designer or a website owner who’s tasked with ongoing design changes, it’s important to stay on top of what’s going on in the industry. Web design is a field that changes quickly and that offers great potential for creativity and innovation as a result.

This world of limitless possibility also means that you have to work to stay educated on what’s new and what’s possible when it comes to online design. These seventeen resources should provide you with a great portfolio of places to find the web design information you need to stay at the top of your game.

If you work with web design, what are some resources you use to keep informed on the industry? Do you spend dedicated time on any of the sites listed above?