3 Websites a Designer Must Have Bookmarked

First off, there are an unlimited amount of resources throughout the web to make a designers life easier or even stressful. As a design student, I always wondered, how could I keep up with today’s web standards and technologies?

When HTML5 was introduced, I was just getting familiar with the syntax of HTML 4.01 strict. Nervous. I went to my instructor and asked “…so when are we going to learn about HTML5?” He laughed and said whenever you want. He explained the resources available for designers who want to keep up-to-date with current web technologies, all I have to do is my research.

And after a little research I was able to find 3 of my (now) favorite websites to visit.  I ended up using some of the skills learned on a semester project and got an A. The plus side to doing well on my project was learning about JavaScript in less than 4 months. Of course I was not an expert, but a novice who was/is excited to learn new skills.

So what exactly did these websites offer? And why do I believe every designer should know about them? Well let me explain…

First runner up: CSS-Tricks

http://css-tricks.com/

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CSS-tricks is my go to when I want to learn about a new skill. This awesome website offers videos, blog post, snippets demos, forums, and more. At first, the site can be intimidating, once you start clicking on the tabs, the overload of information is non-stop! Not to worry though, once you click on a specific area of interest, you get excited to learn. For example, the demo tab is the first place I click to see what cool jQuery plugins are available. The best part of viewing the demos is having the source file available to reference. Whenever I want to use a snippet of jQuery for a navigation bar, I download the source files and play around with the code.

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In addition, the snippets tab is another huge plus for designers. If I click on the CSS tab, and then “Blurry Text”, CSS-tricks provides the example code on how to complete the task.

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CSS-tricks was built on WordPress. The tools on CSS-Tricks are managed by Chris Coyier and sponsored by Treehouse, another great website for designers. Coyier provided designers with resources to keep them up-to-date with technologies and I would defiantly recommend using the website to every designer.

Next up: CodePen (My Favorite)

http://codepen.io/

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Every designer/developer should know a thing or two about CodePen. The Facebook for developers/designers. CodePen is a social code playground for web designers and developers. Co-founders Alex Vazquez, Tim Sabat and Chris Coyier, created the site for education, inspiration and sharing among developers/designers. CodePen is great for feedback from other designers who will critique and offer help on uploaded codes. The website allows designers to comment, like, follow and view the code available. Also, implementing an easy layout for newcomers who want to look at popular, recently added, and tags of code. Signing up for codePen PRO allows developers/designers to upload their code, privately or publically, Collab View on projects with designers, real time cross-browser testing and more.

How CodePen Works:

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The code can be edited and shared, the technologies used for the design are available as well. The designers name is presented at the bottom to give credit.

Finally: Codecademy

http://www.codecademy.com/

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There’s a lot to know about Codecademy! First off, Codecademy is an educational resource for designers who want to practice their skills and others who want to learn about coding. Codecademy educations individuals at half the cost of a public institution.

So what makes Codecdemy so great!

The learning experience is user friendly for those new to the subject matter.

Programming languages like HTML & CSS, jQuery, JavaScript, PHP, Python, and Ruby, are all taught in courses. When each course is completed the user will receive a badge.

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A user signups, clicks on the programming language of their interest, and begins the course.

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The courses are set up in a user friendly layout. There are plenty resources available to help the user with each task given. In general, Codecademy is an online school for those who want new skills in coding or improve the old.

If anyone is like me and loves to learn than I would recommended all 3 websites to every designer and developer who wants to improve their skills. Each website provides an abundant of resources from program languages to new technologies. So check out each website and prepare to learn!

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