Weekly Links – March 15th

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while probably know that I have posted a weekly links post each weekend for quite some time now. I’m thinking of changing the format a bit. A few months ago I was posting a new article everyday and then the links post on the weekend. Recently, I have moved to 3 or 4 posts per week (not counting the links post) and tried to increase the time that is spent on each individual post to focus on quality rather than quantity. Since the number of posts each week has been reduced I’m thinking about changing the links post from a weekly feature to a monthly feature. If I only publish 3 articles in a week plus a links post, I’m not crazy about the idea that 25% of the posts are just links. If you have an opinion, please share in the comments. Thanks.

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Offline Sources for Design Inspiration

Web designers have plenty of online resources available for design inspiration. There’s no shortage of CSS galleries out there to help you by displaying some creative and high-quality work, but offline sources of inspiration can provide new perspectives and encourage you to stretch your boundaries further than you have before. Looking at other websites for inspiration can only take you so far, and sometimes you’ll enjoy taking in the design concepts used in other mediums.

Design inspiration can come from just about anywhere, and in this post we’ll take a look at a number of the best places to look. There are several links and resources included in the post to demonstrate how inspiring these sources can be and to make the post as useful as possible. However, don’t limit yourself to just visiting these links or you will be missing the point of offline inspiration. Look to some of these sources and see what you can find to be applicable to your web design projects.

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Challenging Yourself as a Designer

Web design is a profession that requires constant growth and development of abilities in order to remain competitive. Technology is obviously changing constantly, and design trends certainly do not stand still either. A designer who is not committed to improvement will eventually become a designer that is searching for work.

A few weeks ago I published a post that examined a number of different skills that web designers can work to improve, including coding, graphic design, project management, SEO, marketing, communication, and more. If you haven’t seen that post there are links to some great resources that you may want to check out. Taking that idea of constant improvement a step further, putting yourself in challenging situations is a great way to promote growth. Sure, challenges are sometimes uncomfortable, but if you are actively seeking out the right types of challenges you can drastically improve your marketable skills as a designer.

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How Important is Design to a Blog's Success?

Those of use that read and visit tons of blogs everyday have grown to expect certain designs and styles. In many cases blog design tends to be less attractive and less innovative than website design in general. Part of this obviously is because of the emphasis on content rather than appearance. There are certainly plenty of blogs that stand out as being beautifully designed, but these are the exception to the rule. Just how much of an impact does a blog’s design have on its ultimate level of success?

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45 Photoshop Tutorials for Better Navigation

Navigation is obviously one of the most crucial aspects of web design in terms of usability, but often it is also a focal point of the design. Navigational buttons, bars ans menus provide the designer with an excellent opportunity to be creative and add some style to the design. What better tool to use for this purpose than Photoshop?

Here is a collection of 45 tutorials that will help you with creating the perfect navigation. Some of them produce an end result that is fairly similar to another tutorial on the list, but you can learn something from each one as they take a slightly different approach.

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Questions to Ask Yourself When a Design is Coming Up Short of Your Expectations

All designers struggle at times to get a design to achieve a look that they are thoroughly happy with. Many times we’ll have an idea that really seems like it will work, but when it’s executed in code or in PSD format it just doesn’t look complete. Sometimes it can be difficult to pinpoint a specific reason that the design isn’t quite right.

In this post we’ll take a look at some questions to ask yourself when a design is not living up to your expectations. These should put you on the right path to identifying and improving the trouble areas. These questions focus primarily on the design, not necessarily the effectiveness of the site overall, the usability, or the content.

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What is the Responsibility of a Web Designer in Regards to SEO?

Search Engine Optimization is an ongoing process that cannot truly be accomplished by designing a website in a particular way, although a designer can cripple a site’s chances with a poor foundation. Building a search engine-friendly website should be the task of the designer, but there can be some gray areas.

First of all, what makes a website search engine-friendly? Things like optimized page titles, clean coding, proper use of header tags, alt tags, the location in the code of primary content, and anchor text are just some of the elements involved. Equally important, the designer should avoid using elements in the design that harm the site’s ability to be crawled. For a more in-depth look at the construction of search engine-friendly websites, see How to Create Search Engine-Friendly Websites.

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