Favorite Articles about Web Design

created Apr 11, 2017 - updated Aug 3, 2018

It's hard to narrow it down to a Top-10, but I'll try to cull my favorites from my manifesto collection of links.

I'm not referring to technical articles, such as Ethan Marcotte's groundbreaking May 2010 post about responsive web design. RWD is important and nice to have available when reading a website, but it's not required to read a website.

These web design links are a bit more holistic, focusing on content as design. A smattering of tech details are included too.

I've settled on a Top 15 for the moment in no particular order of importance.

Design by Writing

  1. justinjackson.ca - This is a web page
  2. Brad Frost - Death to Bullshit
  3. simplebits.com - 2013 - Food for Thought
  4. graydon2.dreamwidth.org - 2014 - always bet on text
  5. Signal v. Noise - 2008 - Why the Drudge Report is one of the best designed sites on the web

Create a Comfortable Reading Experience

  1. Matt Gammell - 2013 - Designing blogs for readers
  2. mrmrs.io - 2016 - The Veil of Ignorance - linkrot, already. Here's the author's medium.com version
  3. Kevin Marks - 2016 - How the Web Became Unreadable - hn thread
  4. Zeldman - 2012 - Web Design Manifesto 2012
  5. ia.net - 2006 - Web Design is 95% Typography

Battle Web Page Bloat

  1. Wired - 2015 - I turned off JavaScript for a whole week and it was glorious
  2. Filament Group - 2015 - Delivering Responsibly
  3. eev.ee - 2016 - Maybe we could tone down the JavaScript
  4. Zeldman - 2015 - Publishing Versus Performance - or, the Soul of the Web
  5. This is a motherfucking website

The Hacker News thread mentioned above contains 344 comments. Excerpts from the top comment:

Designers are ruining software in general. iTunes, the iOS music app, and Google Maps are just a few pieces of software that started out relatively usable, and have been iterated and stylized to the point where I routinely get enraged by them.

I basically think design is like a cancer on the web anymore. You know what works? Craiglist, that's what works. Reddit works. Hacker News works. The old, pre-design-goober Google Apps interface worked.

I seriously want to punch a hipster every time I have to use an app that used to work and has now been designed to death.

The HN thread was related to the Kevin Marks post about how the web became unreadable. Marks said:

I thought my eyesight was beginning to go. It turns out, I’m suffering from design.

And of course, Dieter Rams’s Ten Principles for Good Design is a good read. It applies to product design, but many of the ideas could apply to web and graphic design.

This is another article that could be added to the above list, and it's a subject that I need to address more with my websites. I know that some of my sites or individual article pages don't meet all of the accessibility requirements of proper design.


August 2018 update.

I could add more links, since the last update to this page in October 2017, but I'll try to limit new additions.