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Steven Snell is a Web designer and blogger. In addition to maintaining his own blog and writing for a number of other top design blogs, he also manages an online shop that offers premium graphic design resources.
Web designers know that the industry involves plenty of change, and continuous adaption and development of skills is required in order to stay up-to-date. In the past few years one of the biggest areas of change has been the amount of internet users that are accessing websites via phones and mobile devices. As a result, web designers have a growing need to be educated in this area and be ready for designing sites that will accommodate this audience.
Because designing websites for mobile devices brings some unique situations and challenges into play, the subject requires a strategic approach from the designer/developer. In this article we'll look at the subject as a whole, including current trends, challenges, tips and a showcase of example mobile websites. Plenty of helpful resources and articles are also linked to throughout the post, so if you're interested in learning more about designing for mobiles, you should have plenty of information at your fingertips.
If you look around at well-designed websites in CSS galleries or any other source of design inspiration, you'll see that texture is extremely common in modern Web design. One of the reasons it's so popular is because of its versatility. Textures can be used in countless different ways and in a wide variety of design styles. As you look around, you'll see how textures can be used in so many different ways by Web designers.
Textures in Web design can be very subtle, so that the visitor hardly notices, or they can be a focal point of the design. In some cases, textures are used to emphasize certain parts of the design. Because of the versatility of textures, they can be used in combination with many other design elements, such as typography, lighting and colors.
When examining exemplary Web designs that employ textures, you'll notice that textures are used in background images, headers, footers, sidebars, content areas and even fonts. Although texture is sometimes associated with a grunge style of design, its reach extends far beyond just grungy websites. Texture adds dimension to virtually any style of design, if applied properly. In this post, we'll look at 50 examples of websites that use textures in different ways.
Joomla is a popular free and open-source content management system (CMS) that can be used to power all kinds of websites. After we published developer's toolboxes for a variety of other CMS', many readers requested a collection of resources for Joomla users and developers, so here it is. Joomla grew out of the Mambo CMS and has since built a large and loyal group of users, much like the other popular open-source options. What this means for users and developers is that there is a wealth of information and resources available, and in this post we'll take a look at many of the best.
Other developer's toolboxes from Smashing Magazine:
The start of a new year is often a time of reflection on the past year, both personally and professionally, as well as a time to look forward to the year ahead. With that in mind, we thought it would be interesting to do a New Year's group interview with a number of top designers and developers. We put together a big list of questions and posed two in particular to each of the participants.
We think you'll enjoy the insight this panel provides into 2008 and 2009. There's a wide variety of topics covered, including favorite resources, trend predictions, business lessons learned, upcoming events for 2009 and more. Let's take a look at a large group interview with top web designers that takes a look back on 2008 and presents some predictions for the year 2009.
Photoshop users are able to benefit from the vast amount of high-quality resources that are freely available to the community. Brushes get a lot of attention, but custom shapes are also extremely useful in the right situations. Finding a custom shape that has already been created can save you some time and headaches in your design, and fortunately there is a very wide variety of custom shapes available.
This post highlights 80 different sets of custom shapes (over 2,500 individual shapes) in several different categories. If you plan to download and use any of these shapes be sure to check to terms and conditions set by the creator of the shapes.
Because we have published several other comprehensive resources for developers of other content management systems (CMSs), we didn’t want to forget Movable Type. Like the other CMSs we have featured, Movable Type is a popular choice for bloggers, website owners and those developing websites. Over the years, Movable Type has made many advancements and had many changes in its system. The current version is even capable of creating social networking websites with many users.
The most recent version, 4.21, is available open source for developers. Individual bloggers (those who are not incorporated) can download Movable Type for free, while there are a few different licensing options for businesses.
This post provides you with a large collection of resources for working with Movable Type, whether you’re just getting started or have plenty of experience. We’ll feature some official resources, such as documentation, as well as plenty of tutorials, sources of inspiration, the best places to find plug-ins, resources for working with templates and styles and more.
For similar resources related to other CMSs, please see:
In recent years, advertising has become a major revenue source for many websites. Not too long ago, online ads were often met with disapproval from visitors, and advertisers were unsure about their value or effectiveness. Today, most visitors have come to expect ads on commercial websites, and advertisers have recognized the potential of various online ad opportunities. Ads have long been a part of print publications, such as magazines and newspapers, and now they essentially have the same role in online periodicals and publications.
Although advertising is a concern for website owners and those pushing products or services, it is also has an impact on Web designers, because they have to be able to design and develop websites that can produce ad revenue and still meet the needs of visitors. Clients with websites that depend on ad revenue need a design that provides the necessary screen space and a proper layout for selling ads, and advertisers need placement that will get them the exposure they seek.
If you haven’t taken a look at the (X)HTML/CSS templates that are available for free from a variety of sources, you may be surprised by the quality you can find. WordPress themes tend to get a lot of exposure and attention in the design community right now, but there is also a wide variety of high-quality (X)HTML/CSS templates that are free of charge.
In this post, we’ll showcase 100 free high-quality templates. Hopefully some of them will save you some time in your design and development. While they are generally free for personal or commercial use, always remember to check the license first for any restrictions or guidelines.
You may want to take a look at other collections as well (some are from Smashing Magazine, some are not):
When searching for web design inspiration it's easy to get caught up looking at the same portfolios, blogs and the typical sites that appeal to fellow designers. However, as a designer there is a strong need to be able to create a website that truly works for the client and their visitors, not simply a site that fits into our ideals.
From time-to-time it's helpful to step out from the familiar sources of design inspiration to see what is being used in a particular industry. The music industry is obviously big business, and as artists and record labels struggle to make the transition from declining CD sales to more profitable uses of technology, examining band and artist websites can be a practical learning experience.
You can tell a lot about the band or artist's target market based on the style of design. You'll see in the screenshots below that even for those bands with whom you are not familiar, you could probably identify the audience fairly accurately based on the style of the site. Whether the style appeals to us as designers or not is of course not nearly as important as if it appeals to its target audience.