How Web Designers Should Deal with Web Design Books?

Posted on May 13, 2012 by

Many web designers have a few things that they still haven’t been able to pick up, although they have read many books on a particular subject. Unfortunately, many web design books are not too helpful and web designers need to leverage the way they actually learn.

What any educated people would do when they want to learn something is to head off to the nearest book store. Web designers work in an evolving and growing industry and it is quite hard for them to keep up with latest tricks. Without learning new trades in the industry, they can become obsolete in just a few years. The pressure they feel can give them a sense of panicky urgency and if they want to survive, it may be necessary to learn various supporting skills such as HTML5 apps, Ruby on Rails, WordPress themes and many others.

Many of them simply buy a few books, drive home and feel some sense of accomplishments. They are convinced that they can master the new skill in just a week, because the slogans on the jackets say so. However, the first two hours they read one of those books, they are still stuck to the first ten pages trying to make sense of them. After one week they barely read more than 100 pages and don’t feel that they have learned something meaningful.

So what happened? How can some people learn a skill so fast, while others are struggling to finish just one book? Web designers should think back to their days in college when they poured over thick textbooks before finals. They had learned so many things during this period and even the best students among them can’t really say that they enjoyed the intense learning experience.

The truth is, students are easily motivated because there is a test coming up, not because they enjoyed those books, otherwise they’d still reading these books years after graduation. In college, these dull books were backed with many hours of class time. There were also projects, quizzes, discussions and presentation slides that are aimed at one thing, to get students absorb all the information.

Books are written by scholars for scholars and one thing that you may find interesting is that when Web designers write a book, they often put on the same cloak of scholars and try to write and think like them. Consequently, in favor of writing scientific-looking guidelines, they neglect their intended audience.

When pressure of tests, homework and finals are taken away, web designers face poor motivation as well as stacks of unread books. As Web developers, we still need books to help us know what’s wrong and how can we fix it.

In general, all the worst part about learning Web design is at the beginning. The chapter on web development 101 often explains about what is HTML, who invented it, why we should use tags as well as many other small details.

Book writers apparently think that a good way to learn something is to lay down dry theories before they allow people to learn about the real-life implementation. After fifteen pages, web designers may start to wish that the book bursts to flame so that they’d never have to look at those HTML tags again. Writers and publishers argue that it would prevent people from carelessly learning HTML codes without understanding the difference between < h1> and < b>.

The problem with this learning model is that, it leans heavily towards scientific approaches that no one can really get through them. This can be a flat out discouraging aspect during a learning process.

Many web developers find that the best way to learn about new skills is by frequenting relevant blogs and forums. But why these online sources seem to be easier to use than books? Obviously, blogs break up information and instructions into manageable chunks, they also use conversational tone that’s easier to understand. On the other hand, forums allow Web developers to discuss with one another. It is unlikely for people to get overwhelmed by a single blog post or forum thread. These mediums bring a learning model that’s much more friendly than the one most books take.

As mentioned before, web development books force us to shift through so many dull stuff that many people don’t need. Even if they are, there are often not enough benefits to redeem the effort spent. On the other hand, blogs and forums go directly to essential information, for example, learning how to convert PSD files to HTML from blogs and forums is faster and more convenient.

Even if users never have touched s development software before, you can easily follow those tutorials and have a working website up and running in no time. Right off the bat, web developers should start building something real and get a good feel on how Web development should feel like.

The differences between these learning methods are clear. Web development books ease you very or perhaps too slowly into practical implementations. Learning to build a website right from the very beginning can be an overwhelming task and even a psychologically damaging experience. Readers may start to have a permanent impression that web development tasks are tedious.

Each author is different with unique insight. A typical Web development books may be boring, but they can eventually produce better developers. On the other hand, very practical books can be far more interesting as they don’t kill the drive to learn among readers with information overload.

If you’re in the market for a book, make sure it takes you through the direct instruction on how to build a website. However, you should still purchase a standard Web development book that you can refer to. If you can’t find a practical book, then you may need to start with blog and forums.

Many publishers and authors fail to realize that people need to dive into a project right away, make mistakes, correct them and finally make conclusion. After learning all the practical stuff, grasping the underlying theory should be much easier, as it makes more sense to them.

However, this may not work for some developers who enjoy dwelling with abstract subjects first. Sometimes, identifying your own unique learning tendency can be a positively life-changing experience.

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