03-December

24 tech resources and articles for beginners

3
December

Like Santa himself (well without the elves, red suit, and beard), I’ve dug around and found some great gifts for you—24 useful articles and resources to help you get a grounding in the basics of website design and build.

Whether you’re a new project manager, have moved to digital from another area of PM-ing, or just want to brush up on a certain area of the web you haven’t worked with before, there’s a whole wealth of information out there which can seem a bit mind-boggling.

Whilst I’m not suggesting you become a PHP mastermind or take over from your front end dev, having knowledge about how your teams are building the sites and not just what they are building can improve their day—and yours!

Instead of running to your team with every question the client asks, you might be able to field off some of the requests straight away without having to interrupt. In meetings with your team, you can have a better understanding of what they are talking about—or in meetings with your client, you can have more knowledge around if something they are talking about is feasible or not. When estimating tasks with the team, you can get a better judge on whether these timings are sensible.

Fundamentally, having an understanding of the skills and languages that your teams are using can only help give you more of an understanding of the project as a whole. I hope you enjoy the below!

Reference guides

1. The basics
Handy little video explaining the basics of the internet.
http://www.dontfeartheinternet.com/the-basics/not-tubes

2. W3 Schools
Tutorials and reference guides for some of the core languages, such as HTML, CSS, Javascript and PHP.
http://www.w3schools.com/

Learning by doing, some great tutorials

3. There are a number of great sites offering tutorials and guides to teach you the basics (and more if you want) of various languages. I’ve tried out Codecademy http://www.codecademy.com/ which offers tutorials in HTML & CSS, Javascript, jQuery, Python, Ruby and PHP, and even if you’re just wanting to learn the basics, is really accessible.

Some other tutorial sites:

4. HTML Dog
A simply structured, easy to get into tutorial for HTML.
http://htmldog.com/guides/html/beginner/

5. Codeavengers
A rival to Codecademy, I haven’t used it myself, but have heard good things about it’s usability and range of courses.
http://www.codeavengers.com/

6. HTML/CSS
Another easy to follow guide to learning HTML and CSS.
http://learn.shayhowe.com/html-css/

7. Tuts+
A 30 day video course to learn the groundings in HTML and CSS, you only have to give up 10 minutes a day of your time.
http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/news/30-days-to-learn-html-and-css-a-free-tuts-premium-course/

8. Treehouse
A site with a whole range of excellent tutorials, offering all of the standard languages plus mobile development and design.
http://teamtreehouse.com/

Useful articles/books on aspects of the web

I’ve gone through my bookmarks, checked with others, and found a whole range of interesting articles on parts of the website build and project process.

9. Content Strategy
Content should drive a site – this book is a really good guide to the strategy behind that and how to integrate that into your project.
Also, here’s an article from the author of the book: http://alistapart.com/article/a-checklist-for-content-work

10. UX design
What is user experience design and what techniques can you use?
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/01/27/pragmatic-ux-techniques-for-smarter-websites/

11. Designing for the web
10 things to think about before designing for the web
http://blog.teamtreehouse.com/10-things-to-know-before-designing-for-the-web

12. Responsive design
Find out the basics here: http://johnpolacek.github.io/scrolldeck.js/decks/responsive/, and then brush up further with the two A Book Apart books on the subject:

  1. Book 1 http://www.abookapart.com/products/responsive-web-design
  2. Book 2 http://www.abookapart.com/products/responsible-responsive-design

13. Designing forms
Whilst the article is a few years old now, a lot of the principles behind form design still apply.
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/06/27/useful-ideas-and-guidelines-for-good-web-form-design/

14. Typography  – Type is chosen for a reason – this article explains why.

  1. http://alistapart.com/article/how-we-read
  2. http://www.abookapart.com/products/on-web-typography

15. Accessibility
A useful starting off guide to web accessibility, with lots of jump off points for further reading.
http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/accessibility.php

16. Guide to SEO 
If SEO is a whole untouched world away, this is a really in-depth guide to its many mysteries.
http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/how-search-engines-operate

17. DNS
Find out more about IP, DNS, SOA, TTL, and lots more fun acronyms to do with data exchange on the web.
http://www.howstuffworks.com/dns.htm

18. Website security
10 tips and checks to go through to ensure your site is protected.
http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/website-security-tips-protect-your-site-7122853

19. Deployment guide 
An article covering the process and tools to move a site from local environments to live.
http://css-tricks.com/deployment/

20. Analytics
Easy read guide for beginners on analytics.
http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/complete-beginners-guide-to-web-analytics-and-measurement/

21. Post launch
How to continue to build on the launch of a site.
http://alistapart.com/article/following-through-with-post-launch-strategy

A pair of tools

22. Code validator 
If you’re learning to code, and want to check the validity you can run the site through here. Also useful to run the sites you are managing through here prior to launch.
http://validator.w3.org/

23. Browser tools
I love Google Chrome developer tools for a variety of reasons – I can check image sizes without hassling my team, see what font is being used, or recently I’ve been using it a lot to check what cookies are on the sites we’re developing to ensure compliance. There’s loads of other things you can do with it, here are a couple of guides: for Google Chrome https://developer.chrome.com/devtools or for Firefox https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Tools

And finally…

24. The developer’s advent calendar 
Check out 24 ways for a daily post on website design and development, from 1st Dec through to Christmas Eve.
http://24ways.org/

There’s loads of information out there for beginners to this area, and this is only a small list of 24 – so please feel free to suggest more!

Find out what Suze will be speaking about at the conference in January.



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