New Amazon Guide: So You’d Like To Become a Front-End Web Design Guru

With a bit of free time over breakfast, I was fiddling with my personal site and looking over my bookshelf. I decided to make an Amazon guide to “becoming a front-end web design guru” based on many of the books in my ever-expanding collection. So without further ado, here it is, my guide to becoming a front-end web-design guru, featuring the most varied and useful set of 20 books I have ever read:

The Grim Truth

Let’s face it. These days, any Joe-shmo with Microsoft FrontPage can call himself a web developer or designer. But web surfers can tell the difference between a professionally designed site and a site designed by your dentist’s brother’s roommate’s best friend’s boyfriend. To be professional, you have to design with web standards in mind, focusing on usability and accessibility. And it has to look good — really good.

The Tools You’ll Use

First, you’re going to need to stock your toolbox. Start with the basics. Learn how to manipulate page layouts with (X)HTML and CSS by reading Eric Meyer on CSS: Mastering the Language of Web Design. Occasionally, you’ll need a dash of JavaScript Design. Finally, learn what works best by Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity.

  • Eric Meyer on CSS: Mastering the Language of Web Design
  • Designing Web Usability : The Practice of Simplicity

Building It Right

The Zen of CSS Design : Visual Enlightenment for the Web (Voices That Matter) is possible for you! Building professional web sites means Building Accessible Websites (With CD-ROM). No matter how good your design may be, it won’t mean anything if it doesn’t load quickly, so don’t forget to always Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization. Then put it all together to create Bulletproof Web Design : Improving flexibility and protecting against worst-case scenarios with XHTML and CSS. But you’re not done yet! Help people find your site by giving it Search Engine Visibility.

  • Building Accessible Websites (With CD-ROM)
  • Speed Up Your Site: Web Site Optimization
  • The Zen of CSS Design : Visual Enlightenment for the Web (Voices That Matter)

Really Good References

While you’re doing all these things, don’t be afraid to let curiosity get the better of you. Expand upon the projects in the previous books by doing things differently, doing things your own way. As you tinker, you’ll come across situations in which you don’t know how to do something. For those situations, use the following must-have references to quickly look up information about a particular technology.

For (X)HTML: HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, Fifth Edition
For CSS: Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition and CSS Cookbook
For JavaScript: JavaScript Definitive Guide

  • HTML & XHTML: The Definitive Guide, Fifth Edition
  • Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition
  • CSS Cookbook
  • JavaScript Definitive Guide

Helpful Bonus Books

Read The JavaScript Anthology : 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks to learn even more about what you can do with JavaScript and how to solve real-world problems with DHTML. Get more usability insight from Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed and Don’t Make Me Think : A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (2nd Edition). Arm yourself with an arsenal of Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook (Pioneering Series) to take on The Real Business of Web Design.

  • Web Standards Solutions: The Markup and Style Handbook (Pioneering Series)
  • Don\'t Make Me Think : A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (2nd Edition)

Learn all the Secrets of Successful Web Sites if you’re involved with larger-scale project management, or if you’re of the entrepeneurial bent, find out How to Start a Home-Based Web Design Business, 2nd (Home-Based Business Series) or How to Be a Successful Internet Consultant.

6 replies on “New Amazon Guide: So You’d Like To Become a Front-End Web Design Guru”

  1. But what about Flash? You can’t design a real web site without Flash!!

    Excellent synopsis, by the way… I even have a lot of these books! I started learning CSS by buying the CSS Cookbook and picking apart the examples. From there I moved up to Eric Meyer’s book and others until I finally had a good grip on the whole thing. Thanks to CSS and Amazon, I now have fancy cars, fast women, and expensive whiskey!

  2. But what about Flash?! […] Thanks to CSS and Amazon, I now have fancy cars, fast women, and expensive whiskey!

    LoL! God bless Amazon. And Flash does seem like an awfully conspicuous missing piece, doesn’t it? Oh well! ;)

  3. only problem is that I have work to do, and no time to learn…

    Aba, why not learn while you work? I didn’t start making CSS layouts overnight. I used tables just like I had in the past, except that I stripped out as much of the table’s presentation from the HTML as I could (cell padding is a good example) and replaced it with CSS.

    Over time, I was using more and more CSS, and eventually that’s all I ever needed.

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