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I'm very interested in learning web design and have learned some basics regarding HTML and CSS a few years back from W3Schools, but I never learned how to develop websites that are up to today's standards, i.e. free-flowing sites without the use of tables to govern the design of the site.

What are some good resources that I can start with?

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I'd suggest avoiding W3Schools as a learning tool. You can read why here: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/87678/… –  aslum Jan 27 at 17:31

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

CSS Zengarden

Check out CSS Zengarden and flip through end various results. They're very versatile and provide a lot of difference over the same source code. You will learn much about modern CSS techniques. Even if you don't dissect them completely you will at least find a lot of inspiration and CSS abilities against normal accessible HTML. The great thing about CSS Zengarden is semantics against style. Content is not styles whatsoever. Everything you see styles is done purely by CSS which is the correct way of doing it, because data can be consumed by many different clients, and style only by those that visualize it.


When it comes to learning from books this one looks very like a good start CSS: The Missing Manual.


I read Smashing Magazine on the internet that provides a lot of examples and approaches. It spans articles from the design business to great approaches in web design and alike.

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That book is terribly outdated for today's web. –  Zach Saucier 2 days ago

The best way to learn how to create websites and applications is to actually do it, meaning you should create projects, and to do it all the time. This short video conveys the emotions of a newcomer and gives some good advice on the subject.

However, just as you can't speak languages you don't know any words in, you need a good understanding of the basics before you can build a useful project. Here are some resources to pick up some some basics and sites that let you explore for yourself.

Good tutorial websites

There are great places to learn the basics of web development for free. Start here, but branch off of them to play around with things they don't directly teach. After going through a few, try making other sites/projects on your own from scratch. Doing so will reinforce the concepts, teach you implementation details, and likely teach you additional things as well. You simply can't become a good developer or designer by reading only, you must create!


  • CodeAcademy - General knowledge basics of several languages.
  • Tuts+ - Tutorials on more specific topics.
  • KhanAcademy - I haven't used it personally, but it seems to be getting better every day.


I can't vouch for any of these personally because I have never paid for a course in web development, but these seem to be good places if you feel compelled to pay to learn.

Don't use W3Schools, it is generally outdated and very error prone. Instead, use a tutorial website like the ones above to learn and use one of the documentation sites below when you're looking for something specific.


Looking at documentation for properties, libraries, and such is vital to becoming a good web developer. The following are among the best docs you can use:

  • W3.org - The official documentation for most everything implemented by web browsers. Learning to read these docs is very important! This is not affiliated with W3Schools in any way.
  • Mozilla Docs - A very reliable 3rd party resource from the creators of FireFox that stays up to date.
  • WHATWG.org - A sort of open source competitor to W3; some browsers implement certain suggestions from here over W3 at times.
  • DevDocs - Not official, but has a lot of languages docs on one site. Quite convenient.

Useful feeds

  • Codrops - Subscribe to this feed. For inspiration and code to implement it, this is impossible to beat right now.
  • WebPlatformDaily - A list of news dealing with everything web updated daily (except weekends).
  • SitePoint - Really useful articles on various things.
  • CSS-Tricks - Posts mostly about CSS related things.
  • WebDesignerDepot - Can be on the spammy side, but most of their actual articles are good.
  • Smashing Magazine - More advanced topics, but mostly all good reads.
  • A List Apart - A bit more advanced knowledge in blog form.


Small projects/playing with code

  • JSFiddle - Make little projects and keep track of them.
  • CodePen - Look at other people's code doodles and submit your own for others to see.

Full text editors

Other useful websites

  • My Resources page - A list of resources I've been compiling, ranging from an intro to responsive design to an analysis of different ways to animate in a web browser.
  • StackOverflow - If you have a specific programming related question, StackOverflow is unmatched to get you help.
  • LearnLayout - Learn some basics about doing layouts in CSS.
  • 30 CSS selectors you should know - Get to know them and save you time later on. There's also a cool little game to test your CSS selector knowledge.
  • CodeMentor and Thinkful - Sites where you can pay to be mentored 1 on 1.

Look for web developer's and designer's personal blogs that you like. They often have great, great content.

I have also written up an intro to UI design which could be very useful. I linked some additional great resources in it.

I cannot stress enough, the best way to learn is to build things that push your limits and to do so continually.

For an even larger (and perhaps overwhelming) list of helpful web related sites, checkout WebDesignRepo!

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Best places for me about learning about web design (layout solutions, usability, graphics and technical solution) are those:

look at all the website of the people that wrote articles in those websites:

A list apart

Or something more technical about list design, and floating http://css.maxdesign.com.au/index.htm

You have to know what are web standards. The official source is this: World Wide Web Consortium (w3c) It is a bit tricky to learn from there because it is highly technical, but it is good to check it out when you want to know on how things work on the web and why about the standards. the most useful thing it is the Validator of your HTML code.

One best way it is having a good look at the source code of good websites, and naturally the proportion of things aligned like those to learn the tricks: http://www.cssbeauty.com/

And Look at website of good web designers and what they are doing:

Jason Santa Maria
Dustin Curtis
Joshua Davis
David DeSandro

and my Delicious bookmarks (there is a variety of things, you have to dig through them and skim what you do not need) http://www.delicious.com/Littlemad/webdesign

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Best way of learning is making things so make yourself a website.

Read standards, alistapart, tutsplus.

If you need a book look at SitePoint's - HTML Utopia: Designing Without Tables Using CSS.

Some thoughts about csszengarden and W3Schools.

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Sounds more like concepts, but it sounds like what's wanted is semantics and really simple step by step things. –  dkuntz2 Jan 16 '11 at 23:23

Honestly, I would start by learning how to develop WordPress sites. Yes, I can code a site using HTML, CSS, PHP, ... but I can put together a WordPress site faster and then customize as I need to.

If you are looking to start off just learning today's standards then I would recommend http://nettuts.com/. It would also be beneficial to get the premium membership and get access to some great tutorials. If going from PSD to HTML is something you are interested in, they cover that.

Nettuts is part of Envato. Envato has several of tutorial sites that cover web development, wordpress, vectors, photo and video editing and much more. It's a great place to start.

Just my 2 cents.

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"Honestly, I would start by learning how to develop WordPress sites. Yes, I can code a site using HTML, CSS, PHP..." You'll need to work with both CSS and HTML to develop a WordPress site, surely? –  e100 Feb 20 '12 at 17:29

For beginners of Photoshop on Web design, I'd recommend this site http://psdvibe.com/

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The are a lot of websites with tons of tutorials. However, the best platform to learn webdesign is http://teamtreehouse.com/. Hope it helps! Nik

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Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable if you could include a few words as to why this particular site is better than others... –  Farray Mar 1 '12 at 23:37

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