The ability to design and create websites presents a world of possibilities. The trouble many aspiring novices have is they do not know where to begin. Well look no further, if you read these five books start to finish you will be well equipped to start your own career as a web designer. These books should be read in order as they build off of each other.
The first place anyone looking to learn web design should begin is HTML. HTML (hyper text markup language) is the backbone of the internet and is used in every website. A core knowledge of HTML is absolutely essential. CSS in many ways is HTML's partner in powering the internet. CSS allows us to style web pages and is essential in making websites look good. To gain an understanding of HTML and CSS read:
HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites by Jon Duckett
"HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites" will give you a fundamental understanding of what is required to build websites. The next book you will want to read is "CSS: The Missing Manual" by David McFarland. This book will again cover CSS but in more detail and it will reinforce concepts you may have only partially understood. It is imperitive that you are comfortable working with CSS that is why both of these books deal with it.
CSS: The Missing Manual by David McFarland
These first two books teach you how to build websites, but now you have to be able to design great looking websites. A well designed site speaks volumes about a business or brand and can lead to far more traffic and business. Moreover, there are many basic design rules that anyone building websites should be aware of. In order to take a crash course on graphic design read "The Principles of Beautiful Web Design" by Jason Beaird. This book is fantastic because it shows examples of good design and bad design.
The Principles of Beautiful Web Design by Jason Beaird
A well designed site is great but if the site is not usable than it defeats the purpose of the website. Usability is the term used to describe how easily a user can navigate a site and find the content they are looking for. Usability is often one of the most over looked aspects of a website. "Don't Make Me Think" by Steve Krug is considered by many to be the point of reference for any usability concern. The genius of this book is that it presents easy to comprehend tips and rules as well as examples of good usability.
Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug
Design and usability are great qualities to have in your website but if users cannot find your webpage than all your work is for naught. SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of modifying your webpage so that it will rank higher on Google for your specific keyword phrases. "SEO Made Simple" by Michael Fleischner delivers massive amounts of practical advice in a mere two hundred pages and will have you ranking higher almost imediately.
SEO Made Simple by Michael Fleischner
Even if you do not read all of these books (I hope you do) I hope that you have realized that there are many aspects of designing and building a website other than just the code or the appearance. Building Websites is complex and like anything else takes a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed. However, the learning curve does not have to be steep; these five books will have you well on your way to designing successful and attractive websites.