There’s plenty of free advice and tuition out there for web designers. Get your teeth into these great free ebooks.
Looking for a little expertise in HTML5, coding or going it alone? Well, to need to get bogged down in hefty hardbacks – there’s a huge range of digestible ebooks for you to get your teeth into. And most importantly, many of them are free. Here we list of the best.
1. Getting Real
Getting Real explains how to go about building a web application and covering everything from the basics to the more advanced. Written by leading agency 37Signals – who are well known for both their blunt, no-nonsense blogging and their gung-ho, “you can do it” attitude, this is very far from a dry, technical text. And best of all, you can download a PDF version for free!
The book itself covers a range of techniques for approaching graphic design on the web, split into five sections including typography, colour and layout. You can pay to download a PDF version if you’d prefer to read it offline or on your eReader, but the entire book is available via the website completely free of charge.
SMACSS (pronounced “smacks”) is more style guide than rigid framework. There is no library within here for you to download or install. SMACSS is a way to examine your design process and as a way to fit those rigid frameworks into a flexible thought process.
Rather than trail through heavy texts on HTML5, this Quick Learning Guide (6 pages) provides a round up of everything you need to know in no time. The guide covers the main elements of HTML5 and focuses on the basics to help get you started, quickly.
Advertising executive and creative Hugh MacLeod provides 26 ‘tried-and-true tips’ to help guide your creative self through the business world. Famous for drawing cartoons on the back of business cards, each of his tips is brilliantly presented by a cartoon drawing with advice ranging from ‘ignore everybody’, ‘put the hours in’ and ‘keep your day job’.
A designer’s ebook staple, Keven Airgid’s ‘Web Designer’s Success Guide’ is a comprehensive narrative on how to set up as a freelancer, and profit. Covering topics such as making the transition to self-employment, marketing your design skills and knowing what to charge, this ebook has all the answers you’re looking for when choosing to go it alone.
The guys at London design studio ustwo love pixels. So much so that they induct all new designers into the school of pixels with their very own Pixel Perfect Precision™ (PPP™) handbook. The aim? To give pixels the care and attention they deserve, to make sure they get the simple things right before moving onto the detail.
The 165 page guide is available in iBook format for both desktop and iPad, and also a straightforward PDF. And best of all it’s still free!
Another for the rookie, ‘Design Your Imagination’ is a complete beginner’s guide to web design, although it includes great tips for old-timers, too. The book uses examples to guide the reader through its 28 chapters, ranging from the history of web design, to design principles, planning and so much more.
A professor of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, Daniel Shiffman’s ebook focuses on the programming strategies and techniques behind computer simulations of natural systems. However, bear in mind that ‘The Nature of Code’ is not one for beginners, and you’re likely to need a background in coding to understand it completely.
Optimizing your e-commerce website for mobile devices will not only make your site easier for customers to browse, but it will also reduce any last minute hesitation on the buying path. Inside this ebook you’ll find: Ways to tap into phone-specific functionality, fixes to keep cart abandonment rates low, methods of making your site easy to browse.