Of all the time i’m working as a web developer, the most painful task i’ve ever done is to design a web. I know there’s usually a division of labor as designer and a programmer if u’re working in an IT company, but there’s none of it in all of my office i’ve work with. When u’ve been hired as a web developer or as a programmer in my office, it means people in the office expect u to be competent in ALL of Information Technology aspect, all of it!! in the current job i take, i’ve been asked to explain how to use Autocad, Excell, IE (my God!), Install Printer Driver (no, not the tech support, they asked me to do it), Setting up Outlook, anything! if they see me, they’ll ask me anything.
I don’t mind with that, i have the time to do it and usually everyone of them asked me to do it in a polite manner, furthermore i needed the socializing skills right now. But to me the most time consuming and difficult task is designing, if someone asked me to create a software, like leaves apps or file repository, i create it in a couple of weeks or days, but when it’s done, it’s just full of tables and forms, pure functions. Not that there’s something wrong with it, but i felt i had no added value if i didn’t make it pretty enough.
The last one is when my friend asked me to create Jewelry website using WordPress. Oh men, i set-up the cms in less in one hour or so, but when i was going to choose the right theme, it’s hard! i try to create my own theme but after a couple of hours just tweaking the typography, i know i wasted too much time, i’d rather choose an already made theme and tweak it.
There’s a couple of tools that really really (yes i meant really :D ) help me to learn the aesthetic of web designing. Here’s the list of it
Firebug (Firefox pluggins)
This tools is Freaking Powerful, It had the biggest impact for me in learning css. I never fond learning css from css tutorial website, i never gets the hang of it, but by using firebug, i learn many tricks from the master. Explaining to u what’s the full function of firebug, will do u no justice, learn it and get it in the Firebug website.
Save Complete (Firefox pluggins)
When I’m trying to grasp the design in a whole, i usually save the website page. After that i try to learn the hierarchy of the design in the css. But using the default “save as” in firefox, will leave all the pictures that was added in the sheet, then we view only plain website. There’s a Firefox pluggins that could fulfill my needs, the Save Complete pluggins. This will add a “Save Complete Page As” under your firefox “Save Page As”. Eventhought sometimes it fail or incomplete but at least it give you the time to learn it, while you’re not online. I never intend to use this pluggins to steal others web design, I use it for the sake of learning the css. If i want to use their design, at least i know they have GPL License(if u want to learn more about license read it on Coding Horror on Pick a License, Any License).
Color Cop (Desktop Tools)
This is one of area that i really need help, there’s a couple of problem i had with color but the main problem is that i suck at color combination and that’s where Colorcop comes in handy. This freeware software offer color translation from any picture to HTML hex. This is a neat feature that i really need when i’m stuck looking the right combination of color.
There’s other tools that help me in designing but the two tools that help me alot are the one on the above. Other tools that i have is Web Developer(Firefox pluggins), StumbleUpon(U just don’t know what are u going to stumbled upon) and Dreamweaver 8.
I always look to CSS beauty for the reference, they have a great collection in their gallery and they have skill share forum. Or u could see the complete one in A complete list of web design galleries. For Color Combination there’s couple site that i go t, but the latest one is www.colourlovers.com , after finding the right combination i just use colorcop to get it.
All in all, u must try making new website as often as u can if u have hosting service with big storage. For a starter try using wordpress which the easiest and its opensource (a lot well documented tutorial for this cms). Well at least this is what i do :D
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