Archive for the ‘Web Design’ Category

Killersites.com turns 19yrs old!

Friday, January 9th, 2015

killersites-logo

Hi!

I can’t believe that killerSites.com has been teaching the web for 19 years! Back then, I had no white hair … if you can believe it!

A little Killersites history …

Killersites was originally created to support a best selling book on web design, Creating Killer Websites, by David D. Siegel. At the time, killersites.com only contained articles and support material for the book.

In 2002-2003, I took over and started to expand what killersites’ offered – with new articles, podcasts and video training on web design and even development.

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The Secret to Learning Web Design

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

webmentor.org

Hi,

I’ve been building websites since 1994 and teaching web design and development since 2002 … give or take 6 months. In that time, I’ve been able to figure out the best way to both learn and teach web design:

The key is to NOT get distracted with the unimportant techniques and technology. That means being able to figure out what you really need to learn, and to cut out what isn’t so important.

… That’s where an experienced teacher and actual web developer can guide you.

Web Design is a big subject that is always evolving!

Over the years, web design has evolved considerably. The process of building websites in 2015 is very different from how we did it in the early 2000’s, let alone the 1990’s! Despite these big changes, there is a consistency in web design that has carried through to today; being able to identify these patterns (and techniques) will help you keep your skills future-proof to a large extent.

… Yes, you should always count on having to learn new techniques and technology, but you can make the process much, much easier when you have a great foundation.

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Learn Web Design at Webmentor.org – it’s like Netflix for web designers!

Monday, January 5th, 2015

webmentor

Hi,

I just wanted announce that my new web design training subscription service (webmentor.org) is live and ready to go. Start learning web design and development for free for 7 days … with no obligation.

Top 3 Reasons to join WebMentor:

1. Direct contact with the teachers – mainly me and Santo!
2. Our latest courses and classic courses updated for 2015.
3. Courses created by experienced web designers and teachers.

… Right now, you can lock in membership for $9.99/monthly or only $99 for the year!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Stefan Mischook

Web Design in 2015

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

html5-badge

Hi,

I started building websites in 1994, making 2015 my 21st year of web design. I’ve reached the web design drinking age!

In that time, much has changed in the web design world – both in terms of the technology and the way we build websites.

… It may be obvious to some of you, that the advancement in web design technology (and the Web itself) plays a major role with the web design conventions that come about. So what’s going to happen in 2015?

Web Design in 2015

The last big shift in web design happened a few years ago with the rise of HTML5 and the death of Flash. Another trend that continues to grow is the rise of the awareness of code. Today more than ever, people realize that all web professionals should learn to code. This movement started in the early 2000’s but it just keeps accelerating where code awareness is even being recognized for its’ importance outside of the web design and development fields – even elementary, middle and high schools are adopting coding as part of curriculum!

… I’ve even developed a system (studioweb.com) that makes teaching code easy, and is now being used by over 1500 schools.

The top 3 Web Design Tech Trends for 2015

Ok, enough with the preamble, what are the top 3 trends in web design for 2015:

  1. Code is still king. Learn to code if you haven’t.
  2. Web Frameworks. In modern web design, knowing how to use Bootstrap and Jquery are almost essential.
  3. HTML5 and CSS3. As the last of the old crappy browsers disappear, the importance of HTML5 and CSS3 continues to grow. If I had to pick one thing in HTML5/CSS3 to learn, it would be CSS3 web fonts.

In another article I will go over the top 3 design trends in web design.

Bye for now,

Stefan Mischook
killersites.com

 

 

The Death of the JavaScript onMouseover

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Hi!

In JavaScript, you have a bunch of events that you can tell the web browser to watch for. Here is a short list:

  • onclick
  • onmouseover
  • onmousedown

… There are many more. The proper nerd-term for all these is ‘event listeners’ – they ‘listen’ for events to happen and when they do (ex: someone clicks on a something,) you can have JavaScript fire off some function.

Event Attributes

Instead of using JavaScript to apply eventlisteners (using the addEventListener() method) to tags on your page, you can simply use HTML event attributes. For example:

<p onclick="aFunction()">
This is some text.
</p>

In the above code, I tell the browser that if someone clicks on the paragraph tag, that the ‘aFunction’ function should be activated. Nerds will refer to this as  ‘calling a function’ instead of activating.

The Death of onMouseover?

The onMouseover event listener ‘listens’ for someone to hover their mouse over the element (HTML tag) that it is bound to – like what we did with the paragraph tag above and the onclick event.

It’s a sweet effect and works on all the browsers, except it doesn’t work on mobile devices – that sucks! You have to remember that within a few years, more than 50% of the Web’s traffic will be mobile traffic – people using smartphones and tablets.

Basically, that means you should probably not use onMouseover event listeners.

Stefan Mischook
KillerSites.com

My new web design book out in April!

Friday, October 24th, 2014

web design start here

Hi,

I just handed in the last chapter to my new book ‘Web Design Start Here’ last week. I am told it should hit the stores in April. Yep, print is slow!!

Nonetheless, the principle work is done for me and it marks the first time in years that I am in print. Last time I wrote, was for Web Designer Magazine … I would say about 4-5 years ago! Time flies …

As we get closer to publication date, I will be releasing new video tutorials that are meant to support and accompany the book.

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
KillerSites.com

Fullscreen Background Videos in Web Pages

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

icon-fullscreenbgs

Hi!

Using video as the background for a webpage was once only a nerds dream – no more! Check out our new standalone video lesson on how to do this:

https://webmentor.org/lesson/fullscreen-background-video

In this video, you learn about HTML5 and cutting edge CSS techniques. As long as you know basic HTML and CSS, you should be good to watch this video lesson. And yes, all the modern web browsers support this.

… At the same time, check out our new training site: webmentor.org.

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook
KillerSites.com

Is Dreamweaver still Relevant in Web Design?

Monday, August 25th, 2014

I like to start my articles with the conclusion – saves you time:

Dreamweaver is not relevant in modern web design. Why?

  • To make good websites, you need to understand the code behind the sites. You need to learn code.
  • Dreamweaver does have a code editor but there are many more capable code editors out there that are free or at least much cheaper than Dreamweaver.
  • Because you need to understand code, Dreamweaver’s point-n-click tools are becoming relics of the 1990’s when web code was so bad, that tools like Dreamweaver were a godsend.
  • The code behind web sites (html, css, javaScript) is so well structured now, and so much more powerful (HTML5 and CSS3 rock!) that you can easily put out great websites with relatively little coding – as compared to what is was like in the past.

Let’s elaborate on the last point. Web design in the past, when the languages (HTML, CSS) were not as mature, the process of coding a website was rote; it was repetitious and mechanical. You had a lot of crappy tinkering to do, just to get a website up. In that environment, tools like Dreamweaver were welcome because they wrote the code for you.

These days, with the much better browsers (that read and process code properly) combined with highly effective web design frameworks like Twitter Bootstrap and JQuery, apps that try to hide the code from you (like Dreamweaver) are not that useful. In fact, they are counter productive because often times, the code they generate can get in the way of building a clean effective website or web application – it’s just too thick.

Browser Developer Tools Put another Nail in Dreamweaver’s Coffin

All the modern web browsers have a very powerful set of developer tools that allow you to see exactly what is going on in your pages codewise; you can even change (for example) your CSS on the fly and see how it effects the page without touching your underlying code. This makes for ultra fast development.

developer-tools-chrome

Dreamweaver has these sort of tools but you have to be in Dreamweaver to use them and they are not necessarily 100% accurate in terms of what the web browsers will display – you might as well test in the web browser since people visit sites with web browsers and not Dreamweaver!

browser-tools

Click the attached images ->

Conclusion

There is nothing wrong with Dreamweaver if you largely ignore the point and click tools, and stick to the code editor. But if you do that, why bother forking out the big money for Dreamweaver, when you can find more effectively code editors like Sublime Text or Notepadd++ for free or for much much cheaper than Dreamweaver?

Stefan Mischook
Studioweb.com

High School Web Design

Friday, August 1st, 2014

k12 web design

Many K12 teachers are now being asked to teach web design for the first time. This presents a challenge since few teachers have professional web design and development experience.

I was approached about two years ago by a couple of schools who needed a way to more easily teach web design. Luckily, I had been working on an application that would more than just help: Studioweb is an interactive web design and programming training system that automates the teaching process:

  • automated quizzing
  • automated scoring
  • automated hinting

All based around a proven turnkey curriculum that I’ve been training people with for years.

The Key to Modern Web Design

Web design has evolved a lot over the last 20 years, the way websites are built today is nothing like the way we did it back in the early 1990’s. It is so different in fact, that web designers from that time would almost have to completely retrain themselves!

Today, web design is about:

  • HTML 5 … NOT XHTML
  • CSS and CSS3
  • Responsive web design – Bootstrap
  • WordPress
  • JQuery
  • JavaScript

You might have noticed that I did NOT mention Photoshop, Fireworks, Flash or even Dreamweaver. These tools are still used a lot but they are no longer central to web design. In fact, many web professionals never touch them!

The Recognition of the Importance of Code

One of the biggest changes in the last few years, is the world’s realising that code is now as important as reading, writing and math. When kids learn to code, you give them a practical skill set along with problem solving experience … all the while, you reinforce logical thinking.

Studioweb focuses on teaching real-world web design and programming techniques as well as the key fundamental concepts. Students come away with demonstrable skills that can be applied in the real world on real projects. The aforementioned cognitive benefits come as a bonus.

If you want to learn more or if you are interested in trying out Studioweb, feel free to contact me.

Stefan Mischook
Killersites.com

Learn one thing at a time when learning web design.

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

List of things

Hi,

I recently got an email from someone who felt overwhelmed with all the apps they were trying to learn – learning Photoshop, Fireworks and Dreamweaver all at the same time can do that!

Do one thing at a time says I!

I’ve been there, where it seems there is so much to learn, that it becomes overwhelming. First, don’t make the mistake of believing the tools (Photoshop, Fireworks etc) are the goal – they are not. In fact, once you understand web design (development), you will likely being using 10% of Photoshop’s features … as an example.

That said, it is best to concentrate on one thing, get functional skills and then move on to the next. Jumping around and learning bits of this one day, and a bit of that another day, will just cost you time because you will be constantly shifting gears when moving from one subject/app to the other.

Stefan Mischook
killerSites.com

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