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Cameron Chapman is a professional Web and graphic designer with over 6 years of experience. She writes for a number of blogs, including her own, Cameron Chapman On Writing. She’s also the author of The Smashing Idea Book: From Inspiration to Application.

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Mastering CSS, Part 1: Styling Design Elements

CSS is one of the most important building blocks of modern web design. Standards demand the use of CSS for formatting and styling pages, and with good reason. It's lighter-weight and capable of much more than older methods like tables.

 Create an Image Rotator with Description (CSS/jQuery)

And CSS isn't nearly as tricky as some people tend to believe. Below are fresh tips and techniques for creating and styling design elements with CSS. They're a good place to start if you're new to CSS but are valuable even if you're a veteran designer. Not all the techniques are strictly CSS; some include integration with JavaScript or XHTML to extend the functionality of your site.


45+ Excellent Code Snippet Resources and Repositories

The beauty of code snippets is their ability to save you time when developing a site. Whether you keep a file with your own often-reused snippets or turn to one of the many online repositories, snippets can really speed up your site development.


There are plenty of places online to find code snippets and get answers to your coding questions. And many of these places let you upload your own snippets, either for personal use or to share with the community. They can also be a great place to find inspiration if you're trying to figure out the best approach for any aspect of your site's development.

Be sure to check out some of our previous articles:


50 New CSS Techniques For Your Next Web Design

CSS is almost certainly one of the best developments in web design since the first graphical web browsers were adopted on a wide scale. Where tables created clunky, slow-loading pages, CSS created much more streamlined and usable web pages. Plus, CSS has allowed designers to achieve a number of different styles that used to only be possible with images.

One of the best parts of CSS is that it's so simple once you know the basics. Where tables used to make incredibly complex and sometimes impossible-to-decipher code, CSS keeps things clean and simple. Add a few comments to keep everything organized and it becomes an absolute dream to work with.

 Super Awesome Buttons with CSS3 and RGBA

Below are 50 fresh CSS tricks, techniques and tutorials that will help you to improve the quality of your next web design. Be sure to check out our previous article: 53 CSS-Techniques You Couldn't Live Without.


Social Network Design: Examples and Best Practices

According to Nielsen Online, social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular kinds of online activities. 67% of the world online population are now visiting them and the time they're spending on them is growing by three times the overall growth rate of the internet. Social networks are now visited more often than personal email is read. Some social networks have grown to such enormous proportions that they rival entire countries in terms of population—if Facebook, for example, was a country, it would be the fifth-most-populated in the world (right between Indonesia and Brazil).

Screenshot-Social Network Site Purpose

There's a lot of variety out there in the realm of social network design. Some sites keep a very professional approach (like LinkedIn) while others have a more organic, free-form look (like MySpace). Most sites fall somewhere in between, mixing professionalism with personalization (like Facebook). But what's the best way to design a social network? What are the elements that make a social network more user-friendly and more attractive to users? Read on to find out.


45 Incredibly Useful Web Design Checklists and Questionnaires

Designing websites can be a long and complicated process. Dealing with clients, designing prototypes, coding, programming, and testing – there's a lot to keep track of and a lot to make sure gets done. That's where checklists can make your life a whole lot easier. With lists of points covering multiple areas from content to usability to accessibility to standards, you're a lot less likely to overlook important parts of a site.

Ultimate Check List

Below are 45 checklists to make your design process easier and more organized. Consider using these checklists as a jumping off point for creating your own customized list, based on your own needs.

Also consider our previous articles:


Ad Management Plug-Ins And Tutorials For Your Website

Almost everyone out there who runs a website has toyed with the idea of selling ads on their website. So many options are available. Dozens of ad and affiliate networks exist, and you have different ad formats to consider. Should you sell text ads or banner ads? Should you allow Flash ads? What about ads with sound, pop-ups or floating ads? People have so many decisions to make that they often just end up slapping on some AdSense code and calling it a day. And that's fine.

But you have a ton of other options for displaying ads on your website, from using other ad networks to selling and managing banner ads yourself. There are plug-ins for virtually every CMS and blogging platform out there that allow you to rotate banner ads or insert blocks of ad code.


This post is a collection of ad management plug-ins for WordPress, Movable Type, Drupal and Joomla! to get your started. At the end are a few tutorials for creating your own banner ad rotation scripts in PHP and ASP (so that even if a plug-in is not available for your CMS of choice, you'll likely be able to build your own).

You might also want to check out our article on AdSense, 100% Google AdSense: Tools, Tips and Resources. Read more...

Effective Maintenance Pages: Examples and Best Practices

Every website has to perform maintenance at some point or another. Whether it's just to upgrade a portion of the site or because of some problem with the site, it's an inevitable fact of website ownership. And in many cases, maintenance requires taking your site offline for at least a few minutes.

Maintenance Page Screenshot

So what should you do if your site is going to be down for maintenance? You don't want users coming to a 404 or other error page. And hopefully you'd like to encourage them to come back to your site sooner rather than later, right? If that's the case, you'll need to build a custom maintenance page. Below we present a list of best practices to building effective maintenance pages that will help keep your visitors, whether new or returning, happy.


Web Design Industry Jargon: Glossary and Resources

There are specialized terms referring to all sorts of aspects of web design. For someone just getting started in web design, or someone looking to have a site designed, all the technical jargon can be overwhelming. Especially the acronyms.


Below is a guide to industry terms that should get you well on your way to understanding what web designers are talking about. In addition, we've provided some resources for each term to give you more in-depth information.

Accessibility. Basically, this is the ability of a website to be used by people with disabilities, including visually impaired visitors using screen readers, hearing impaired visitors using no sound, color blind people, or those with other disabilities. A website with low accessibility is basically going to be impossible for those with disabilities to use. Accessibility is particularly important for sites providing information to those with disabilities (healthcare sites, government sites, etc.), though it is an important aspect to consider when designing any site.


Non Profit Website Design: Examples and Best Practices

Non profit websites share many of the same best practices as any website. They need to be user friendly, easily navigable, and use appropriate fonts, colors, and other design elements. But often a non profit website needs to offer more than your typical corporate site.


A non profit's website needs to make it easy to find out more about their cause, to donate money, and to become more involved. It needs to make it easy for media contacts to find the information they need and the contact information of key personnel. And it needs to do all this in a way that's inviting to the organization's targeted donors and/or volunteers.

Below are a list of best practices for designing non profit websites followed by some examples of non profit websites that are getting things right.


Ultimate Guide To Using WordPress For A Portfolio

WordPress is often thought of as just a blogging platform. But it's capable of so much more. Even WordPress' documentation includes an entire section on using WordPress as a content management system. Because WordPress is such an easy-to-use platform, it makes sense to consider using it as a platform to build just about any kind of website, a portfolio website included.


Whether you're a photographer, graphic designer, Web designer or any other kind of visual artist, WordPress makes an excellent starting point for developing your online portfolio. And with the wealth of plug-ins and ready-made themes available, you can usually get a perfectly presentable website up and running in a matter of hours.

Here are additional links that may be useful when designing your portfolio website.


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