Web design and navigation remain in my opinion some of the key, most critical areas from which an online publisher can grow her reputation, visibility, reach and final success. Of course content must play its part too, but web-based interface design and content layout plays such a critical and relevant part in helping readers find and make sense of what they are looking for that, in my opinion, web design should never be never approached as an afterthought or a nice-to-have proposition.
Photo credit: Alex Hinds
For the many that ask me how they should go about designing their new web site or online service the advice remains essentially the same:
a) Don't ever improvise yourself designer - those times are over.
b) Don't play with those cute web design and HTML editor programs that promise to make your life easier while they embed non-standard and often uneditable code within the HTML of your pages
c) If you can't afford a designer, go and buy an existing pre-designed web site template that is professionally executed and standard compliant.
d) Ask your design-savvy friends what are their preferences when it comes to professional looks, legibility and easy navigation. Take good notes of this and prepare a design brief that pulls together the best of those.
c) Look at what is out there. Research and explore existing work that matches your direction and needs. Don't reinvent the wheel each time. With all the web sites out there, there must be at least a few other sites that have had to meet your same communication requirements that you are trying to match now.
Many of you are already probably familiar with the CSS Zen Garden, the first and most popular CSS gallery of real examples and CSS implementation solutions.
"Half manifesto and half gallery, according to his own words, CSS Zen Garden appeared as a reaction to the elementary and uninspired use of Cascading Style Sheets that was usual at that time.
The idea was to create an elementary and unmovable HTML code and ask designers, programmers and web creators in general to contribute different CSS files to visually format said HTML code."
With a similar approach Vitaly Friedman's just launched a new open and useful resource for CSS-savvy web designers: CSS Showcase - A showcase of CSS-based navigation menus and tabs.
Vitaly Friedman's new CSS Showcase attempts to save you time and design intelligence by bringing you a great, pre-filtered collection web interface design examples. From these it is easy to identify and select key design components and navigation solutions that once matched and harmonized could be the perfect solution for your own very own design needs.
Photo credit: stock.xchange navigation
CSS Showcase points not just to great individual CSS implementations on specific web sites but also to other CSS mini-design collections, acting as a potential meta-directory for all good CSS designing out there.
The CSS Showcase makes it now possible for any qualified web designer to submit her own CSS-based design solution directly to the gallery allowing a much broader and valuable range of approaches and solutions to be made available.
If you are yourself a skilled CSS web designer, Vitaly's new CSS Showcase may offer one more opportunity to sample your work in front of a pre-qualified audience while contributing your experience, vision and skill to this open gallery of valuable models and examples.
The CSS Showcase supports RSS, and allows anyone to subscribe and receive automatically any updates to this useful and growing collection of truly effective CSS-based web navigation examples.
And if you want more, you need only to ask:
Here is the one of the most comprehensive and updated lists showcasing all of the best CSS gallery examples available out there. Thanks to Listible, here it is for you: