10 Autumn Website Reboot Essentials

It’s that time of year when the trees turn golden, the sun stays close to the horizon and the early morning mist rolls down off the hills. That’s right folks, autumn is here again (fall for our American friends). The days are getting shorter and the nights longer and you’re likely to spend more time indoors than out.

In short, it’s the perfect time to “reboot” your weblog with a new design or feature set. Why not take inspiration from nature’s glorious autumnal colours and refresh your website. To help you along the way, I’ve put together this little list of website design “thingies” that you might want to integrate into an autumn reboot.

The Unstandard WordPress theme is designed to break the standard inverse chronological weblog design. An eye-catching theme, Unstandard is based around a image-based front-page that is sure to set your weblog apart from the crowd. Kick off your autumn reboot in style.

CSS Decorative Gallery: Decorate images and photo galleries without editing the source images. Thumbnails will never be the same again.

From a usability point-of-view Safari’s input field highlighter is a neat touch, providing much needed visual feedback on focused form fields. From a designers point-of-view it’s a nightmare. The glowing blue highlight spoils your carefully crafted embedded web forms, looking particularly grim on non-rectangular designs (and blue is not an autumn colour). The Removing Safari’s Native Input Highlight tutorial eases your pain by explaining how to remove the blue glow, remember to provide an alternative visual cue for field focus though!

Vibrant, realistic background images are becoming a new trend. In their “Textures and Patterns Design Showcase” article Smashing Magazine explains how to create a tile or pattern for your website. They also showcase a large selection of websites that have already deployed a textured pattern as their background.

Textures or patterns not to your taste? Try a large photographic background… pure eye candy.

When you’re looking for an exciting way to display your multimedia content, slideshows are always a good choice. Here’s a selection of 10 cross-platform, absolutely stunning slideshows, carousels and sliders, based on Mootools, JQuery, Yahoo! User Interface, and Script.aculo.us.

Beautify your <hr /> line: The <hr /> line is an often neglected element in today’s web design. Recognising this Smashing Magazine recently ran a <hr /> design contest and were gifted with more than 1200 submissions! The very best of these are available for integration in your own website from the <hr /> Contest Results page. Go on, treat yourself (bonus points for creating an autumnal <hr />).

You may have noticed that the most appealing websites are usually those with the most beautiful imagery. You can spice up your website and increase its “stickiness” by introducing breathtaking photography or computer graphics to your prose.

But what if you’re not the next Ansel Adams and your digital images are worse than the works of art you produced in infants school? Have no fear, follow the 25 Amazing Photoshop Drawing Tutorials and you’ll be leading the digital imaging renaissance faster than you can say “computer graphics God” (Disclaimer: Okay, I’m not promising miracles here — but the tutorials are really, really good!)

And whilst we’re thinking of Photoshop and our autumn reboot why not spend some time working through 40 Photoshop Tutorials on Rain Showers and Water Drops? If nothing else, all these tutorials should keep you occupied right through autumn and perhaps even winter!

There are a few special techniques or effects that can spice up just about any web page. These are the top 20 Ajax effects that every web developer should know about. They’re essential parts of any web developer’s toolbox. If you haven’t seen them yet, you no doubt will in your future web development endeavors.

Retro and vintage web design styles are the new black. Why not consider an “old fashion” redesign for your website? Smashing Magazine jumps into the fray once again with their highly inspiring article “Retro and Vintage in Modern Web Design”. Discover the secrets of vintage and retro designs and take inspiration from their showcase of websites that have employed the retro motif.

UPDATED 15th October, 2008: See also “35 Beautiful Vintage and Retro Photoshop Tutorials.”

And finally… if you’re going to consider an autumn reboot, why not go the whole hog and take your website into the depths of today’s cutting-edge website territory? The Web 2.0 Design Style Guide will show you the way.

Have you rebooted your website for autumn? Let me know in the comments.

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