Thursday Thirteen #25

Thursday Thirteen
Thirteen things I find useful when web designing (or trying to design)

1. Well Styled Colour Scheme Generator – this tool quickly creates colour schemes and provides you with the hexadecimal codes to use. You can have monotone schemes (i.e. shades of one colour), contrasting schemes, you can lighten and darken and have pastel schemes. It’s great! Thanks to my mum (!) for showing it to me.

2. The graphics program I use, Corel Photopaint, doesn’t convert colour codes into hex so does it Forestasia XHTML Color Converter for me.

3. W3C CSS index is good when I can’t remember what a style command does or how many attributes it can have or when I’m trying to do something but don’t know how. I’m sure a page nearby to it will have a search box for that sort of thing if that’s how you like to operate.

4. W3C HMTL index is also very helpful.

5. Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox is one of my most useful tools. I mainly use it for editing CSS in real time; it gives you a sidebar in which you can change the CSS and see what happens, it doesn’t save it so you don’t have to worry about breaking you page although you can save it to a file on your computer if you want. It does many other things as well like outlining elements, labelling elements. You can look at nearly any page with it so you can see how other people do things.

6. CSS Play is a fantastic resource for doing fancy things with CSS. There are dropdown menus and fancy popout things and techniques for making certain styles (e.g. rounded corners) with out using images. This is much better than doing fancy stuff with flash or javascript because not everyone has those installed or enabled in their browser.

7. Just last night I found this Graffiti Creator that I used for a title image and I might use for sidebar headings. It’s obviously not for everyone but it was good fun to play around with all the same. Definitely try it out.

8. I couldn’t figure out the save settings on the graffiti sight so I just used a screen capture. I use Corel Capture which came with Corel Graphics Suite of which I have version 12 (that’s why I use Corel instead of Adobe Photoshop, I only have v7 of that). There are online ones available that you can use to take an image of your browser or programs that you can download.

9. If you can’t afford Photoshop and programs alike I highly recommend The Gimp. It’s free under the GNU licence and it has most standard tools like brushes, flood fill, transparency, layers, and more. It even has some non-standard ones including measuring tools and screen capture.

10. Explorer Exposed is quite useful for identifying and fixing problems caused by Internet explorer being stupid. I’ve particularly had problems with the double float margin that were very quickly solved by this site.

11. If you’re lacking a bit of inspiration Web Creme has a good collection of great sites on the web that you may be able to draw some ideas from.

12. Recently MpP Favicon Gallery was introduced to me. Favicons are the little icons that come up in the address bar and sometimes next to the name of the site in the title bar. They are just a little touch but they can make a big difference to people recognising your site in their bookmarks or their open tabs (if they’re using a tabbed browser). Some of them are pretty darn cute. I redid mine for this blog after seeing this site, it ties in better with my new(ish) template than the old one.

13. Most importantly, if what you’re doing is not working and you get frustrated at it. Stop! Go for a walk or get a cup of tea or coffee and think through the things you’ve tried and what you could try next. One of my biggest problems was solved not looking at the computer screen or Googling but when I was trying to get to sleep – I don’t recommend bed time as a time to think about these things though!

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Comments

  1. Oh, I love this list! I think I’ll be bookmarking so I can come back and make use of some of these suggestions. I need all the help I can get. ;)

  2. A great list! I have to come back to it and look at those sites!! I have alot to learn and I know those links will be helpful!

    Have a great Thursday! :)

  3. Yeah, with that Graffiti creator thingy…I used it in an assignment, you need to take a screenshot of the page, and cut it out. It says that in the “Save Image” section or something like that…i didn’t figure it out, until I saw that, after taking lots of screenshots :crazy:

  4. Thanks for this list! I copied them, so I can try them when I have the time.
    My TT is about my new kitten.

  5. What a great list! I have only done a bit of web design sort of stuff, but I can see where these tools might be useful, especially the well styled color schemed generator. And that’s great that you plugged the Gimp! The lab I worked for has been using The Gimp for years to generate graphics for publications and whatnot. It’s neat that somebody else has actually heard of it B)

  6. Great list. Very useful. I’d say the best hint of all is the last one! Great TT mine is up too.

  7. :up: What a great list of tools. I hadn’t seen most of them before. I am the same way when I am designing… I have several different programs up, text files with reference points and code snippets, you name it. Just haven’t managed to get the hang of not thinking about designs before bed. I get very creative when I’m falling asleep and most times, I can’t resist hopping out of bed to try some code that I just thought of. :grin: Designing is addictive! My TT is up!