Books and Tools for Learning Web Design and Development

More and more designers are itching to learn web design and development lately. Thankfully nowadays there are tons of great resources out there to help. The following is just the tip of the iceberg as far as resources go, but I think these are both the best and the quickest way to break into web design and development.

A Book Apart

A Book Apart library
A Book Apart publishes excellent books on specific web topics that are packed with knowledge, but at around 100 pages each are excellent quick reads. I would recommend everyone read Elements of Content Strategy, Design is a Job, or the newly published Responsible Responsive Design. I would also suggest adding their companion blog, A List Apart, to your weekly blog list.

Don’t Make Me Think

In my opinion, Don’t Make Me Think should be mandatory reading for anyone who designs or develops for the web. This book is filled with tips, tools, and examples for how to create effective user-friendly websites. It’s a quick read, but will give you a good working knowledge of web usability (Click here to read a sample chapter).

Above the Fold

Although Above the Fold was published a bit before the introduction of responsive web design, it is still an excellent book for getting a broad overview of the process and different aspects of creating good websites. It is broken down into 3 sections for Web Design & Typography, Planning & Usability, and Business Value. They have announced a revised edition to be published soon, but its worth getting now if you’re transitioning into web design.

HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites

HTML and CSS Book

Most books on coding and web development can be a bit dense and exhausting to read, but HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites isn’t most books. It presents a vast amount of code knowledge through easy to understand examples and infographics (Click here to read a sample chapter). If you find yourself overwhelmed with other books on coding, definitely give this one a look. If you already have a good understanding of HTML CSS, check out their javascript and jQuery book.


Treehouse is by far my favorite learning tool for those wanting to get into web design or development. You can select from several different tracks like web design, Wordpress development, and iOS development. You then learn through a combination of videos, quizzes, and projects earning points and badges along the way. If you’re more advanced you can skip the tracks and select from over 100 different courses on specific topics like HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, or Ruby.
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Just Build Websites

As Chris Coyier of Shop Talk Show says, “Just Build Websites!” There are so many different things to learn on the web, the best way to find your path and to start building stuff and learn along the way.

By Josh Higgins
Published December 9, 2014
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