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Professional Web Design: Our First eBook


The book contains a selection of our best articles about professional Web design and the business side of web development. It contains 10 already published articles and 2 exclusive, newly written pieces. The book costs only $9.90.


This e-book contains a selection of the best articles about professional Web design that have been published on Smashing Magazine in 2009 and 2010. The articles have been carefully edited and prepared for the PDF version; some screenshots and links were removed to make the book easier to read and print out.

This book presents guidelines for professional Web development, including communicating with clients, creating a road map to a successful portfolio, rules for professional networking and tips on designing user interfaces for business Web applications. The book shares expert advice, and it also helps you learn how to respond effectively to design criticism, use storytelling for a better user experience and apply color theory to your professional designs.

Buy now and download PDF right away!7

Order now!118

Everybody who buys the book supports Smashing Magazine and helps us to keep producing free high quality content. This book is not protected by DRM. It is available exclusively here, in the Smashing Shop. Please respect our work and the hard efforts of our writers. If you received this book from a source other than the Smashing Shop, please support us by purchasing your copy in our online store10.

Table of Contents Link

On 242 pages you will read:

  • Harsh Truths About Corporate Websites (Paul Boag)
  • Portfolio Design Study: Design Patterns and Current Practices (Vitaly Friedman)
  • Creating A Successful Online Portfolio (Sean Hodge)
  • Better User Experience With Storytelling (Francisco Inchauste)
  • Designing User Interfaces For Business Web Applications (Janko Jovanovic)
  • Progressive Enhancement And Standards Do Not Limit Web Design (new article by Christian Heilmann)
  • Color Theory for Professional Designers (Cameron Chapman)
  • Is John The Client Dense or Are You Failing Him? (Paul Boag)
  • How To Identify and Deal With Different Types Of Clients (Robert Bowen)
  • How To Respond Effectively To Design Criticism (Andrew Follett)
  • Web Designer’s Guide to Professional Networking (new article by Steven Snell)
  • Group Interview: Expert Advice For Students and Young Web Designers (Steven Snell)

Please also spread the word on Twitter13 and share on Facebook14. We appreciate your support!

Footnotes Link

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The Smashing team loves high-quality content and cares about the little details. Through our online articles, Smashing Books, eBooks as well as Smashing Conferences, we are committed to stimulating creativity and strengthening the web design community’s creative forces.

  1. 1

    I love Smashing Magazine and this ebook, but please don’t shut off access to the content.

    (This is going to be a long list of comments – i can feel it)

  2. 2

    Will buy, if nothing else just to support your efforts..many thanks!

  3. 3

    Smashing Magazine

    March 22, 2010 12:49 pm

    It’s 10pm here guys, we will be here for another hour to answer your questions, and clarify the issue.

  4. 4

    I hope things go well for you all. I enjoy your work, and am glad to be able to help support you!

  5. 5

    Just got myself a copy of this ebook. It looks good so far! Keep it up!

  6. 6

    Just got my copy. I get a lot of traffic from my features on your site and several have resulted in clients. Happy to help!

  7. 7

    Great Price and i buy it right now.

    Thanks for your Work

  8. 8

    I am really critic with you because I expect the best, and I wish you the best, and I know the best things will come.

  9. 9

    I just got done reading through the sample. Although I prefer to read on normal paper, I will probably buy it anyways.

  10. 10

    Will buy it, because first book was something! Problem is that I moving to London and can order this book when found place to leave. Will be super if you sell those in shops :)

  11. 11

    Wow guys, I wish we could help you with a lot more… Why don’t you just partner with another company/blog? You relly need to reduce your costs as you said. How about more ads? What else do you have in mind besides the PDF? Selling that eBook is just a short option, you need to think long term…

    • 12

      Smashing Editorial

      March 22, 2010 12:57 pm

      Thank you for your support, Luis – it means a world to us. We are considering various options right now, please stay tuned.

      • 13

        Martin Brochhaus

        March 22, 2010 10:49 pm

        Get in contact with Peter Sunde and become a beta tester for his new service “flattr” – im sure with this micropayment platform on your site you would earn hundrets of thousands of euros..

  12. 15

    I’ll be buying the book, however, I’d think it would be awesome to see some openness in regards to this plea that you’ve posted here.

    Since you made some drastic changes, redirected people here and are openly asking for money, I’d like to see some results. Will you tell us what the results are from this? How many bought the book, how does it effect your revenue in the coming months, etc etc.

  13. 16

    I for one will be buying this book. Not because I think it’s worth $10 but because thanks to Smashing Magazine I have become a confident web-designer. When I left University Smashing Mag was the only place I could go to get answers for the problems I often face. I would also like to wish the team all the best in finding as much money as possible! Keep er lit!

  14. 17

    UGH! I hate E-books! LOL Mainly because I just hate reading the screen after too long.

    However, in support, I will get it… and just print out what I need.

  15. 18

    I think the best platform is to continue to create some content for free…but some exclusive content should be paid for…

    So your ebook today, while I’d be eager to help, doesn’t help me, if I’ve already read the articles online… Create a “quarterly” ..or whatever ebook with articles that aren’t on your website …exclusive…and i’d be glad to support and pay more.

    The smashing book arrived back in january for me, and it was a great read…would also support in more of those projects as well.


    • 19

      I’m all for buying more e-books with content that we’ve not read! Thank you Smashing. Keep up the good work! And God bless you.


  16. 20

    From the sounds of your plea, you may want to invest some of your “money” into a copywriter, editor, or word processor so that you can avoid grammatical errors during these “times” of trouble.

  17. 21

    Buying the book now. Please don’t stop providing great quality content!

  18. 22

    Daniel Kurdoghlian

    March 22, 2010 12:55 pm

    ..and what you learned today, smashing-mag?…
    I’m curious how many subscribers and followers you scared away..

  19. 23

    I will definitely buy it. I believe in giving back to those that have given to us and you have given a huge amount of knowledge. Thank you for being such a great resource. Even if people don’t agree, I don’t think they should feel offended by asking for support.

    Thanks again!

  20. 24

    Just a note on a spelling error. I’m sure you were tired, being there until 10pm:

    “We have recently moved to an office and we hired more people, and we invesed more money”.

    Invested is spelled wrong.

  21. 26

    Hey Guys,

    I just wanted to let you know that for every negative comment you read there are 100 positive ones. I understand why you guys had to do what you did, my only feedback would be that the page you originally put up was lacking some of the information you added just now.

    I read your blog every day as its a great source of content and links. I have no problem in helping out and buying the book, especially one which has great information to share! I loved the smashing book and only wish it was twice as long!

    Thanks for the great site,


    p.s. you might want to give your shop (user sign up and credit card processing) some TLC, usability is a bit on the low side :)

    • 27

      Smashing Editorial

      March 22, 2010 1:23 pm

      Thank you. I am afraid we haven’t communicated our problems clearly enough. We will learn from our mistake.

    • 28

      I’ll second the many, I’m sure, comments about your shop needing TLC. I bought the ebook as it’s only fair I support you having read your site for ages, bookmarked a lot of posts, and referenced your content continually, but usability? bah.
      Please don’t make me create an account to pay by paypal and download an ebook – you really don’t need a billing or shipping address for that… and secondly, once I have gone through the extra steps to create an account, please don’t send my password in cleartext!
      Happy to support you guys though, I hope this generates the revenue you were looking for!
      Best regards, John.

  22. 29

    I might buy it but a slight concern here – why are your “order now” buttons taken straight from the Amazon website? You guys should know a thing or 2 about web design – shouldn’t need to take from Amazon!

    • 30

      Smashing Editorial

      March 22, 2010 1:24 pm

      Actually, these buttons weren’t picked randomly – we wanted the buttons to be easily recognizable and therefore we used Amazon buttons this time.

      • 31

        You can just “use them” – they’re someone else’s creative!

        • 32

          I’ll buy a copy. It looks like a nice publication and at 10$, I can’t really complain if it’ll help keeping Smash Mag up and running. Best of luck, guys.

          [EDIT] Didn’t notice this was posted as a reply to another comment. Oh well. Point still stands.

        • 33

          Amazon buttons increase click-thru rates on banner ads by almost 35% for us. That’s pretty huge. I’m sure it works equally well for call-to-actions on forms. I say use ’em, at least till too many companies start using them and they lose their effectiveness.

      • 34

        It didn’t bother me like some of these people, but I was a bit confused. After I clicked buy I was taken to a page to either sign in or create an account. I thought I was signing into Amazon for the checkout process. Took me a minute to realize there was no Amazon relationship other than the buttons. I think an smashing orange buy button would have been more effective.

  23. 35

    Love this site. Bought a copy for support and because content is amazing!

  24. 36

    I’m going to pick this up as soon as I get home and off of this company rig. Smashing is a constant source of inspiration and information — no reason not to.

  25. 37

    Hey Smashing Magazine guys,

    No problem. I love Smashing Magazine! I will buy your eBook. I understand your situation.
    Smashing Magazine has a lot of value for me. The things I learned through the articles and tutorials here are priceless, plus the increase of traffic I got when a website I designed was featured here. It is a great platform for creatives, so I don’t want it to close or something. To me, it is THE platform for creatives.

    Good luck!

  26. 39

    Done. Ordered the eBook. Hopefully it’ll arrive much quicker than the Smashing Book ever did. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Looking forward to reading the ebook.

    Here’s to best wishes for your Smashing Magazine venture and that it will continue to be a commercial and professional success for the Smashing team.

  27. 40

    wow! i’ve out some days, I didn’t know about it…
    and I have to admit, I never imagine that you could be affected by financial problems

    Good luck, I know you will pass this situation !!!

  28. 41

    Will you please tell how much $$$$ you earn from the ads running down here on SM? If there is some financial crisis running down here then you should make the quantity of articles less rather than doing such things. You also need to hire a good finance manager.

    What’s the point of redirection? Its just like forcing users to buy the book. I also love smashingmag like all others do but that was a totally un professional move.

    It is business and you are making money from it. Ads are here because we are here. And we are not getting this stuff for free. Advertisers get clicks from sm readers thats why they advertise here. Don’t take your readers for granted and also you said that Great Content is not always free.

    You even closed the comments on this article when you published it and then opened the comments after 5 or six hours. We were not even able to rate the article.

    I think I tweeted a hell of stuff regarding your this BOLD STEP but you didn’t respond to a single one.
    I know there will be so many comments against my point of view. I respect opinions from every one. Hopefully this comment will go live rather than going to Trash.

    P.S There is some typo in your above article.
    “and we invesed more money and other resources into more profound, ”

    • 42

      Design Informer

      March 22, 2010 2:55 pm


      I understand why you are a little irate about this whole issue. I personally didn’t like the move by SM as well, but hey, we all make mistakes. BTW, I don’t think they take their readers for granted at all.

      In the end, even if what they did wasn’t the best way, it’s not wrong. It’s their business and they can decide how they want to run it. Sure, they might lose a few readers, but I know for a fact that almost every web designer in the world has been helped by them, so I think contributing a few dollars wouldn’t hurt us. I’ve been reading your Twitter stream and it seems like you are taking this thing way out of proportion and accusing SM of several things. Don’t forget, your site benefits from SM as well, especially since you are part of the SM Network. I wonder how much traffic they bring to your site?

      I think that if anyone should be supporting them, it should be us SM Network members. I’m not saying that we should jump off a bridge if they did, but showing them a little bit of respect would be a good thing to do, especially after they have done a lot for us.

      Oh, and about how much money they make, that’s their business and they shouldn’t have to share it with us, although it would be nice to know.

      • 43

        I personally respect Vitaly and other people behind SM. I also admit that they did some help to designers. All my criticism was about their move not about Vitaly and other people.

        You should point out what is wrong and what is right. Will you support that move? They need a good money manager rather than “FORCING” their readers about helping them. Also read comment#53.

        And some one on sm’s twitter account tweeted that “Don’t take free content for granted.” Well nothing is free. I already explained it. They get advertisers because of us. and make money of it. No one will advertise here if they will not be getting clicks and sales from here. I bought mailchimp plan from the ads running here on SM. SO I PAID for what I read.

        None of my “personal” projects is a part of smashing network and all Comments here are my personal views so I don’t get any benefit from them in this regard. And Yeah that gives them branding too. Every website having badge of them on their homepage is not a small thing I know many ppl out there which are running big design blogs but none of them supported this move personally.

        If the book didn’t do well then its not our problem. Better to sell noupe and try to run smashingmag with full power.

        They are the big guys of design industry. With great power comes great responsibility. Was this move professional? And there were several other things happening. Taking off comments on the post, not allowing to rate this article. Don’t you ppl believe is freedom of expression? Even after removing redirection, they once again turned on it for few minutes.

        But I need the logic behind this move. Your comment itself is contradicting.

        If this is “their business” then why they are asking for support from us? It’s the first thing you learn in school – you can’t spend more money then you have.

        I hope this will give a clear understanding to all of the people who think that I don’t respect SMASHING TEAM and so on.

    • 44

      This is very unprofessional of you…..btw

  29. 45

    Hey Folks

    Is there any other way to purchase this than Paypal? Cheers

  30. 47

    I’m GLAD to buy your eBook and help – you have given us so much. (Plus it looks like a book I need!) You are in my top five of the best “go-to” resources and information. Good luck!

  31. 48

    $9,90 is a small fee that I will gladly pay. I’ve received and learned a lot of things thanks to Smashing Magazine so I’m OK with this way to support you guys.

  32. 49

    Your content and efforts are well worth the 9 dollars. If you had a subscription model with perhaps exclusive content a resources. Then i would Shirley pay it in a heart beat.

  33. 50

    just bought it… hope you wan’t disappear, really like your stuff.

    good luck!

  34. 51

    I love your site and was going to buy the ebook but the first few times I tried the store failed. I finally got in but quit because the process took so long and I was also a little taken aback by all of the required info you wanted when all I wanted to do was a quick PayPal transaction to get you some dough and me some knowledge.

    I would have thought that you guys would appreciate taking as much of the friction out of a transaction as possible, especially if you need $$$ fast. I’m sure that you’d find an article about that somewhere in your archives.

    Again, I really love what you do here but I got to say that I’m disappointed about the unprofessional way that has been handled and have lost some confidence in you giving me good info long term.

    Thanks and good luck!

    • 52

      Smashing Editorial

      March 22, 2010 1:26 pm

      The show wasn’t responsing properly as the number of users was huge – the issue should be resolved now, though. Thank you for your support.

  35. 53

    Want to make some more money? Instead of just linking to various website examples use an affiliate link. For example, when you link to BaseCamp’s signup form to showcase how they optimized it for better conversion design, add in an affiliate link (

    I’ve seen this site link to many sites that have affiliate programs, most of which are signed up with CJ or LinkShare.

    Or, add a paid & free designer directory. Think sortfolio.

    Come on guys, get creative in your monotization brainstorms!


  36. 54

    Lakshmikanth Raja K

    March 22, 2010 1:15 pm


    I am trying to make an online payment using my Visa card and it’s showing the following error every time I try to make the payment:

    28: Operation timed out after 30000 milliseconds with 0 bytes received

    • 55

      Lakshmikanth Raja K

      March 22, 2010 1:55 pm

      Guys!! Still the same error message with the payment gateway!!
      Can you please look into it!

      Thank you.

    • 56

      I keep having same problem. I have tried to purchase about 5 or 6 times. I will keep trying… want to support your services!

  37. 57

    LOL. You’re a business, not a charity. Start making sound business decisions and working around bad ones instead of beggaring.

  38. 59

    ohh, and your other book is also great! got it too…. :)

  39. 60

    The trouble with the internet is people have a habit of typing before they think

    It was pretty obvious that the splash page was about raising some cash fast due to pressing financial problems..

    $9,90 isn’t much is it for an eBook

  40. 61

    Great Smashing Mag. We love you

  41. 62

    So what seems to be a problem?
    THE problem

    our hands are tight
    Hands are TIED

    I’m considering buying an eBook but I’m not really convinced… yet.

    • 63

      Well.. don’t buy it. Was that all you wanted to say? Great. Now you can leave and go to your Facebook account..

      SM rocks!!

      • 64

        if only I have paypal….
        I’ll just spread the news on twitter , so I can still help.
        SM has been helpful for me , and yes im a smashing freak

      • 65

        @Luis: Dude, WTF is your problem? All I said was that I am CONSIDERING buying the eBook. I’m not sure I want to spend 10 bucks for something I mostly am capable of writing myself. Even though SM is a great site and it has really usefull articles/info and I wouldn’t mind spending some money to keep SM going, there are other ways I can spend my cash too and give some kid in a third world country food for over a month. Get off your f*ckin’ high horse and see that the world is larger than the web. All I said is that I’m not sure whether the eBook would be of added value for me and EVEN though I wouldn’t like to see SM disappear or even merge with another site, I can use those same 10 bucks to do more good.

        Get your head out of your ass.

        I’m donating money to several sites (Wikipedia, and several others) and am STILL considering spending 10 bucks for SM. But I MIGHT not. Get over it.

        @SM: Why not consider memberships with some kind of monthly/yearly fee? Paying members would get added value from articles that non-paying-members would not be able to access. This would ensure some steady stream of income for a longer term.

        Update: Just bought the eBook. Happy now Luis?
        — “Thank you for your purchase! Your order # is: 7000XX96X.”
        DAMN I hate douchebags like you. Really. BARF.

        • 66

          Wow, I didn’t notice how this guy answered me. I think he needs help, that’s why there is violence in our world :D Peace brother, peace, everyone loves you.
          I hope SM is Ok now.

  42. 67

    I would love to know who accused you of being greedy and making too much money… someone who’s never tried to publish anything, clearly. I will be buying a copy.

  43. 68

    Gerben Oosterink

    March 22, 2010 1:24 pm

    Please consider it to be published on paper! I’m using your ‘The Smashing Book’ all the time. It’s so much more comfortable to read from paper.
    Your site and articles rock!!

  44. 69

    Daniel Kurdoghlian

    March 22, 2010 1:25 pm

    Why are you deleting so many comments?..
    95% of the comments which stay posted are the “buying the e-book”-ones…

    … You are loosing more credibility, minute after minute.

    • 70

      Smashing Editorial

      March 22, 2010 1:27 pm

      Not a single comment is being deleted.

      • 71

        Daniel Kurdoghlian

        March 22, 2010 1:33 pm

        ..sorry for presuming – just looks a little bit strange to read that many positive comments, after all those negative tweets a few hours ago

        • 72

          Smashing Editorial

          March 22, 2010 1:44 pm

          There were many positive tweets, too. Not a single comment was deleted or moderated.

        • 73

          We, the real fans of smashing magazine, are showing our support. IF YOU DONT KNOW PLEASE DONT PRESUME AND SHUT UP!

          • 74

            Daniel Kurdoghlian

            March 23, 2010 12:31 am

            Thanks for your info but I’m presuming you forgot to turn off your caps-lock key.. or maybe your shift-key is stuck.

        • 75

          Difficult though it may be for you to believe, but there really are a very few places and things that are just as good as they look.

          Smashing Magazine is one of them.

    • 76

      what are you competing for douche of the week? What have you done? Obviously, you don’t mind coming here and helping yourself to all the free goodies, but when its “Help Smashing Magazine time”, you’re on the offensive. You do not DESERVE good content cause your a douche bag, but you get it anyways. You need to thank Smashing Mag and help out.

      What exactly about this e-mag is so detrimental to you anyway? The fact that its free? The fact that its got tons of super useful articles and links to the best stuff out there so you don’t have to drudge through miles of garbage looking for a decent article? Perhaps the freebies have upset you, or is it the fact that you have without a doubt saved time with the resources here? It was said a long time ago that its easy for a self proclaimed expert to whine and judge but a much different story to see that same expert do anything better or anything at all for that matter. That sounds to me a lot like you. If you don’t like it then you should leave along with everyone else who feels offended when asked to help out. If you were paying a subscription to view content then okay fine, but it’s free you POS. So shut up and buy the stupid .PDF thing or leave and don’t come back….Ever.

      The only thing I see losing credibility is Daniel Kurdoghlian.

  45. 77

    An e-book a month would be great, but I don’t want it to contain stuff I already read. New content, new content!

    • 78

      I think this is a fantastic idea. I hope SM considers it, I would certainly pay for a monthly eBook.

  46. 79

    Could you please list the price on this page?

  47. 80

    Paul Ehrenreich

    March 22, 2010 1:26 pm

    As I mentioned on twitter I’ll be picking up a copy of the eBook to support the site. I am glad to see you guys came out and said “here this is what’s going on and why”.

  48. 81

    Christen Bouffard

    March 22, 2010 1:31 pm

    Just a heads up, I tried ordering a copy of your book and got the following message “28: Operation timed out after 30000 milliseconds with 0 bytes received”. Just thought you’d like to know.

    Other than that, I’m happy to give back for all the great resources you have made available in the past… resources I have occasionally referred my students to. Thanks!

  49. 82

    This seems a little low. I’ve been coming here for years, but asking us to buy your book because you’re having problems you wont go into? An ebook at that? You must make a killing from ad revenue alone, how about explaining why people should buy your book first and you might get a few more purchases?

    So far all I have seen are sheep following one another like a bunch of crazed Apple fanboys.

  50. 83

    It’s result of making typical american business decisions. Just don’t spent more many than you can earn or you have. Sorry, articles are professional, but your management isn’t. Your web2.0 bubble is breaking right now. You should make a business model at first, and hire workers later. Now you are in a very stupid situation. A lot of people spent money on your book, and now they hear: we lost your money, pay more. Please, be more responsible for future and respect readers and buyers of your book.

    • 84

      Danny from San Diego

      March 22, 2010 2:44 pm

      Sorry but you’re an idiot. If you read the about us section of this website you would see the name of the company appended with GMBH. That does not indicate an American company. It appears you are the presumptions cognitive cripple here, not smashing.

      I respect that they are turning to their community for supoprt and am happy to help. People LOVE to take take take…but then scoff when they are asked to give. Freeloaders suck.


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