KillerSites Blog


You know Code but your Design Skills Suck – what can you do!

October 3, 2013

design skills


Based on a recent forum post where someone with code skills (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) wanted to improve their design skills … and he was not talking about learning PhotoShop … actual design skills he was concerned about. My answer:

To begin with, look to design principles:

– alignment
– whitespace
– font use
– color use

If you have your page elements nicely lined up, don’t use more than two fonts on the page(!), keep your page colors properly matched (no clashing colors) and give the page a lot of breathing room (good use of whitespace) … that will go a long of making the website look good.

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Web Design for Developers – Book Review

February 18, 2010


This book’s title does not do it justice – it’s also a great book for intermediate web designers (just out of web design diapers) who want to take it a few steps further.

The book revolves around the redesign of a pretty bland looking web site. You are walked through the whole design process:

  • sketching out the design/layout ideas.
  • interacting with the clients.
  • how to choose colors and fonts for the web site.
  • designing a logo!

Then you get into the coding (HTML, CSS) aspects of the web design process:

  • Why develop with Firefox vs Internet Explorer?
  • Basics of CSS and handling specific CSS tasks.
  • Dealing with browser compatibility issues.
  • Accessibility and usability.

… And a lot more of course.

If you are a web developer or web designer who wants to learn how to put it all together, this book does a pretty good job walking you through the process.


Stefan Mischook.

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Book Review: Web Designer’s Reference

August 2, 2006

This book is a mirror image of the book Web Design with Dreamweaver 8 by the same author – except this book is for hand coders.

A good title for people new to modern web design practices that include:

  • CSS for layouts
  • Semantic code
  • Accessibility in web design

The topics are covered within the context of small usable projects, that can easily be adapted to your own web design work.

Though published in 2005, the material is still relevant and still is a pretty good buy.

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Top 7 alternative Image Editors and Converters

April 17, 2006

List of Free Image Editors


PowerBatch 2.7 – 1.6MB
– Batch renaming, resizing, converting, printing, rotating, colour adjustment, cropping.
– Crop with aspect ratio confinement.
– Built-in FTP client!
– All program files are contained in a single folder.
– Converts JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, BITMAP and JPEG2000.
– Supports animated GIF and multipage TIFF.
– Contact sheets.
– Image effects.
– Add text. – 4.9MB
– In development.
– Clean GUI.
– Developed with help from Microsoft.
– Requires 24MB .NET Framework 1.1 to run.
– Limited layers support (cannot be moved on canvas).

Pixia 3.1 – 3.6MB
– Not much known about this one yet.

Photofiltre – 1.6MB
– Multiple images open at once.
– Many plugins.
– More than 100 filters.
– Feature packed.

FastStone Image Viewer – 2.4MB
– Convert major formats (inc. PSD).
– Lossless JPEG rotation.
– Magnifier viewing.
– EXIF support.
– Resizing, flipping, rotating, cropping, colour adjusting tools.
– Crop with aspect ratio confinement.
– Compare images side by side.
– Batch image converter/resizer.
– Supports animated GIF and multipage TIFF

Xnview – 2.1MB
– Utility for viewing and converting graphic files.
– Imports 400 graphic file formats.
– Exports 50 graphic file formats.
– Copy, cut and crop.
– Brightness and contrast adjust.
– Modify number of colours.
– Filters and effects.
– Windows print (Contact Sheet) and TWAIN support.
– Supports animated GIF and multipage TIFF.

GIMP – 7.3MB (Windows version)
– Probably the best open source contender to Photoshop.
– Requires GTK+ 2 runtime environment – 3.5MB.
– Layers support.
– Difficult to get used to GUI layout (or so I’ve read).

Thanks to Tim

Stefan Mischook

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