Take any creative field and you'll find well-known influencers who are responsible for leading the way, either with new interpretations, technical approaches or ideas. This is true whether you're looking at David Bailey in the photography world, or Tracey Emin in fine art. It comes about because some practitioners define a movement or technique, either inventing it, championing it, or otherwise leading a charge towards it.
- 10 steps to an engaging user experience (opens in new tab)
Of course, the world of web design is no different. We've got our own champions and leaders, some of which are responsible for creating new web design tools (opens in new tab), although it's surprisingly difficult to pick just a few names every web designer should know. Luckily, we live in an age of democratised sharing, with the likes of Facebook and Twitter making it easy to keep up to date with both current and future movers and shakers, so watch these fourteen and see who they recommend!
A quick note of caution before we upset anyone, these names aren't ranked or in any specific order. If we've missed someone you think should be in our list, let us know.
01. Sara Soueidan (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @SaraSoueidan (opens in new tab)
A Lebanon-based frontend UI developer and author, Sara has worked with clients across the globe including Netflix, The Royal Schiphol Group, Smashing Magazine and more. She runs workshops and helps companies and agencies build clean frontend foundations for websites and applications, with a strong focus on progressive enhancement, performance and accessibility.
02. Abby Covert (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @Abby_the_IA (opens in new tab)
Abby Covert is a senior staff information architect at Etsy and specialises in delivering collaborative information architecture processes, as well as teaching those that she works with along the way. Speaking and writing under the pseudonym Abby the IA, she focuses on sharing information architecture content with those working within the design and technology communities, and is co-founder of World IA Day. She's also the author of How to Make Sense of Any Mess (opens in new tab), a book about information architecture for everybody.
03. Ethan Marcotte (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @beep (opens in new tab)
If there's one man in the web industry who probably doesn't need an introduction, it's Ethan Marcotte. One of the web's best-known designers, Marcotte is a regular and popular speaker on the conference circuit and, in his own words, the one who "started that whole 'responsive web design (opens in new tab)' thing".
04. Chris Coyier (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @chriscoyier (opens in new tab)
A world-known CSS expert and HTML guru, Chris Coyier writes one of the most popular CSS blogs on the web, CSS-Tricks (opens in new tab). Throughout his career, Chris has published many tutorials, websites, and scripts to help designers improve their skills. A co-founder of CodePen, Chris can also be found at web design and development podcast ShopTalk (opens in new tab).
05. Karen McGrane (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @karenmcgrane (opens in new tab)
UX expert Karen McGrane motto is simple - 'On a good day, I make the web more awesome. On a bad day, I make it suck less'. A content strategist and user experience designer, McGrane has over 15 years experience of making big, complicated websites. Currently managing partner of Bond Art + Science, she is also the author of Content Strategy for Mobile.
06. Dan Cederholm (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @simplebits (opens in new tab)
Dan Cederholm is the author of five web design books covering everything from standards-based code approaches to Sass. As well as writing, Cederholm is a practising web designer, and a popular speaker. Alongside Rich Thornett, Cederholm is a co-founder of the popular dribbble.com (opens in new tab) show-and-tell website that allows designers to upload micro-shots of their work in progress.
07. Sarah Parmenter (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @sazzy (opens in new tab)
User interface designer Sarah Parmenter specialises in design for the web, iPhone and iPad. Owner of design studio You Know Who (opens in new tab) and co-host of the Happy Monday (opens in new tab) podcast, Parmenter can often be found travelling the world to speak at the world's leading web design conferences. Her client list includes Blackberry, News International, STV and The National Breast Cancer Foundation of America.
08. Dave Shea (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @mezzoblue (opens in new tab)
Dave Shea is most famous for his CSS Zen Garden (opens in new tab) project, which helped spearhead the move from table-based web design layout to CSS-based layouts. The website became very popular, both helping to push the boundaries of what designs could be achieved with CSS alone, and also encouraging web designers the world over to adopt the approach.
09. Jeffrey Zeldman (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @zeldman (opens in new tab)
Jeffrey Zeldman is perhaps the best known of all the people featured in our list. He's the author of a must-have book, Designing with Web Standards (opens in new tab), publisher of books via A Book Apart, (opens in new tab) and is the driving force behind the immensely popular industry leading online journal, A List Apart (opens in new tab). Zeldman is also the founder of Happy Cog studios, a US-based consultancy with clients including MTV, Ben & Jerry's and Stanford University.
10. Rachel Andrew (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @rachelandrew (opens in new tab)
Rachel is a web developer, speaker and prolific writer. Her books include titles for SitePoint, Apress and Five Simple Steps, covering the likes of PHP web development, CSS3 Layout Modules and Adobe's Dreamweaver web design tool. Aside from her speaking and writing, Rachel is the Managing Director of edgeofmyseat.com (opens in new tab), a web development consultancy known for its Perch CMS app.
11. Simon Collison (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @colly (opens in new tab)
Simon Collison is a designer, speaker and author. Having worked in a variety of situations throughout his career, Collison shares his knowledge on web design via books and conferences. He's also a proud partner with Fictive Kin (opens in new tab), and organises the annual New Adventures in Web Design (opens in new tab) event in his hometown of Nottingham.
12. Veerle Pieters (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @vpieters (opens in new tab)
Veerle Pieters is a hugely talented graphic designer from Belgium, best known for both her work through Duoh!, the agency she co-founded with Geert Leyseele, and her blog at veerle.duoh.com (opens in new tab) where she shares insights and tutorials. She's also an author and speaker, and has worked on some high profile projects including the GUI for ExpressionEngine.
13. Cameron Moll (opens in new tab)
- Twitter: @cameronmoll (opens in new tab)
Cameron Moll is a well-known designer who speaks regularly at web design conferences across the world. As well as the Authentic Jobs website, which Moll is responsible for, he's collaborated on books with the likes of Andy Budd and Simon Collison. As well as his speaking and books, Moll is well known for a series of typographical posters (opens in new tab) rendered with letterpress, which are well worth a look!