Whether you're a seasoned professional or a student just diving in to the web design field, audio podcasts are a great way to learn about new techniques and listen to discussions with big name pros without spending a fortune on conference fees.
They're perfect for busy multi-taskers. You can listen to them during your commute or while performing menial tasks at your computer.
Below is a list of 7 great podcasts for web designers:
1. UIE Brain Sparks
Put out by User Interface Engineering CEO Jared Spool, this professional podcast focuses on usability and interaction design. Jared is a usability expert and frequent conference speaker who has worked with big clients like Microsoft, Apple and IBM. He invites big names like Molly Holzschlag, Luke Wroblewski and Cameron Moll to share their expertise.
Created by Paul Boag and Marcus Lillington of the UK Web design firm Headscape, Boagworld is the longest running (and perhaps most listened-to) web design podcast around. It has thrived because it is both entertaining and educational. Paul and Marcus banter back and forth while covering a wide range of topics of interest to both developers and designers. They know what they're talking about and bring in great guests like Dan Rubin and Andy Budd. Along with the podcasts on the site you'll find an active forum and follow-up blog posts that include summaries, links and interview transcripts.
3. The Rissington Podcast
Jon Hicks (famous for designing the Firefox and Thunderbird logos, among other things) and John Oxton produce this informal and humorous show. They answer listeners' questions about web design, conduct interviews and pick a typeface of the week. The hosts are smart, smarmy and fun to listen to.
While not specific to web design, this podcast is a great source of inspiration for designers of all types. Hosts by Donald Beekman and Liza Enebeis chat up designers at events around the world. Each designer brings something different to the table. Some are more interesting than others, but all give you valuable insight into their process and personality.
5. Rookie Designer
Rookie Designer is a weekly podcast by graphic designer Adam Hay. It is aimed at beginner designers but the content is useful to just about everyone in the field. Adam is friendly and humble, sharing brutally honest stories of "rookie mistakes". He also shares tips, tricks and lessons learned... like how to get a freelance client to pay and how to survive a critique. He also covers specifics like Photoshop, SEO and Email design.
6. Web Design TV (video)
This one isn't strictly audio, but it's published by .net magazine and is well worth sitting down and taking time to watch. Older podcasts are hosted by Paul Boag of the aforementioned Boagword. Newer videocasts run 15-30 minutes and feature practical in-depth tutorials on specific web design projects and applications like Photoshop, Flash and Dreamweaver. .net is a great magazine filled with informative content and the videocast is a great way to get some for free.
7. You Suck At Photoshop
The first reason to watch this is that it's hilarious. The second reason to watch is that you'll actually learn a thing or two about Photoshop. Created by ad guys Matt Bledsoe and Troy Hitch, the podcasts are narrated by a socially-inept cubicle warrior named Donnie Hoyle. His bitterly sarcastic commentary is not only funny, it's helpful. Each tutorial shows you a number of photo-editing tricks, which Donnie demonstrates by doing things like removing a wedding band from his cheating wife's finger. It's a YouTube phenomenon. If you haven't seen it yet it's time to get caught up.
The next time you're bored at your computer, why not download a podcast or two and learn something new?
Written exclusively for WDD by Mindy Wagner.
Do you listen to these podcasts? Which other ones would you recommend?