Absolute Beginner Books

New to web design? Want to learn HTML fast? Need to get your Flash skills up to speed? I have found three great books for you. Putting together a web page is not hard but creating an attractive, accessible, and easy to use site is not as simple as one might think. So starting off designing web page the correct way will benefit you in the long run.

Before delving into the coding and technical details, let’s begin with exploration. The best way to learn is to evaluate other websites. Exploring Web Design (Design Exploration) by Jeremy West, William Crowson, and Shannon Pochran will help you learn from good examples and avoid bad ones. The book does an excellent job of introducing the fundamental principles of web design, such as visual layouts, typography, color theory, and usability. Make sure to take the time and read “Web Accessibility” carefully. It’s one of the behind-the-scenes details that separate your site from those amateurs.

Once you understand the fundamental concepts, let Elizabeth Castro, author of the #1 best-selling book on HTML, help you with the coding. Creating a Web Page With HTML, Visual QuickProject Guide is extremely short and to the point. It’s by far the most compact book on HTML I have come across. Castro delves straight into HTML and CSS with her clear language and easy to follow instructions and illustrations. Follow the tutorials and learn the codes but do no pick up the visual layout. I wish the web page designs were stronger than what is being presented in the book.

You have studied the fundamental web design and learned the coding. That should be enough, but if you want to spice up your web page with animation and interactivity, Flash Out of the Box is your next book. Flash in not easy to learn for beginners, but this book is clear, straight forward, and easy to understand. You’ll be able to learn the basic animation techniques and pick up some ActionScript programming quickly and easily. Flash is a powerful tool, but use it with caution. Don’t abuse it with useless animation. Refer back to Exploring Web Design for appropriate use of Flash.

As you can see, I have grouped these three books together because they are for beginners in web design. From understanding the fundamental principles of web design to quickly learning HTML and CSS to incorporating Flash contents into the design, these three books complement each other even though they are written by various authors and distributed from different publishers. Though three books are recommended, you don’t have to get them all if you only need to work on a specific area.