[OT] Good web design

Sorry for the OT, but I figure there must be other people on this list
who have been in the same boat as me.

I’m looking for resources on good web design - by which I mean
designing a website which is visually appealing.

I can make functional websites, and I have a pretty good understanding
of HTML/HAML and CSS/SASS, but it’s pretty gutting when the error page
from Phusion Passenger looks 10 times better than the website I’m
deploying :slight_smile:

A paper book with lots of examples would be good, and I’m quite happy to
pay for one, but would appreciate some ideas for which ones are worth
seeking out. Good online resources are fine too, of course.

Many thanks,

Brian.

Here is one that I like. They change the articles but you can search
for old ones from what I remember.

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/

Brian,

I have designed web sites part time for years, and I’ve also been a
professional artist. The single point I’d make to you is that good
visual design is about aesthetics. There is, of course, a huge
functional aspect to any human interface. But you’re addressing “visual
appeal”.

There is no quick path to having a better aesthetic sense. It takes
years, and real work. So, work at it. Take a beginning design course at
your local university. Look at as many web sites as you can, and keep
copies of the ones you like. Interrogate yourself as to why you like
them. Keep looking.

If you’re looking to apply recipes out of a book - well, this is
probably better than NOT doing anything at all, but it won’t give you an
aesthetic sense. People who are good at visual design have a developed
sense of how the visual part of the brain works, although few would
likely put it that way.

I suggest you peruse the books available on visual design for web
designers. Find one that interests you, that you think you can learn
from, and really WORK its content. Then grab another and do the same
thing. You’ll get what you pay for, with your own effort. I know no
other way. Good artists, just like good musicians, work at it daily, for
hours.

Best of luck - this should be a fun journey for you, much of the time.

t.

Brian C. wrote:

A paper book with lots of examples would be good, and I’m quite happy to
pay for one, but would appreciate some ideas for which ones are worth
seeking out. Good online resources are fine too, of course.

Many thanks,

Brian.

Tom C., MS MA, LMHC - Private practice Psychotherapist
Bellingham, Washington, U.S.A: (360) 920-1226
<< [email protected] >> (email)
<< TomCloyd.com >> (website)
<< sleightmind.wordpress.com >> (mental health weblog)

Brian C. wrote:

I can make functional websites, and I have a pretty good understanding
of HTML/HAML and CSS/SASS,

Even still, I’d encourage you to check out the css-discuss mailing list:
http://www.css-discuss.org. The folks there are masters at making sites
that are absolutely stunning, yet standards complaint and accessible for
folk with a variety of disabilities who use a number of browsers besides
IE/Firefox/Opera (i.e. - text-based).

There are all sorts of things that you can do to make sites more
aesthetically pleasing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you
should do many of them. First and foremost, Web sites should be usable
by the client. often, though, many popular graphics techniques for
building sites actually hinder usability. This doesn’t mean that good
sites have to be ugly; the two are absolutely not mutually exclusive.
That’s why I highly recommend css-discuss. Those folks just have
crazy-mad skills when it comes to making beautiful and usable sites.

On Aug 4, 2009, at 3:43 AM, Brian C. wrote:

However there is theory behind music (e.g. scales and modes), and some
basic ‘rules’ which can help you avoid the most obvious pitfalls (like
don’t play a perfect 4th over a chord with a major 3rd, except in
passing). I’m hoping to pick up on some of that for layout, spacing,
colours, fonts etc.

I learned a little of that from “The Principals of Beautiful Web
Design.” I must stress that it’s a beginning book and won’t carry you
to far. It does cover exactly what you are asking for though, some
basic principals of layout, color, etc.

I have also picked up the beta book of the Pragmatic Programmer’s “Web
Design for Developers: A Programmer’s Guide to Design Tools and
Techniques,” but I haven’t had time to read through it yet.

James Edward G. II

Tom C. wrote:

There is no quick path to having a better aesthetic sense. It takes
years, and real work. So, work at it.

You’re right of course. I would probably say the same if someone asked
me how to program :slight_smile:

Graphic design is a left brain activity. I play the piano and have a
bash at jazz improvisation, so I’m pretty sure my left brain is
functioning to some degree.

However there is theory behind music (e.g. scales and modes), and some
basic ‘rules’ which can help you avoid the most obvious pitfalls (like
don’t play a perfect 4th over a chord with a major 3rd, except in
passing). I’m hoping to pick up on some of that for layout, spacing,
colours, fonts etc.

Then when I see something I like, I have a framework for applying it
later, especially when presented with a blank page as a starting point.

Cheers,

Brian.

On Aug 4, 2009, at 3:43 AM, Brian C. wrote:

Graphic design is a left brain activity.

I’m just curious what makes you say this? I always figured it was a
right brain activity. I thought most forms of art where.

I realize this isn’t very scientific, but Googling “graphic design
right brain” yields more than double the matches “graphic design left
brain” does.

James Edward G. II

James G. wrote:

On Aug 4, 2009, at 3:43 AM, Brian C. wrote:

Graphic design is a left brain activity.

I’m just curious what makes you say this?

Erm, I think my left brain got my left brain and right brain mixed up
:slight_smile:

On Aug 4, 2009, at 10:18 AM, Brian C. wrote:

James G. wrote:

On Aug 4, 2009, at 3:43 AM, Brian C. wrote:

Graphic design is a left brain activity.

I’m just curious what makes you say this?

Erm, I think my left brain got my left brain and right brain mixed up
:slight_smile:

Well stop confusing my left brain! :slight_smile:

James Edward G. II

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