Best ways to Start Learning Website Design

learn web design online

Getting started in website design necessarily involves a learning process. Every web designer must know at least two web programming languages (HTML and CSS are indispensable and complementary), know how to choose a server, contract a domain, pay and charge by electronic means, use HTML editors, edit images, use WYSIWYG editors and a long list of other things. However, don’t be discouraged! Many of these tasks are really simple, and those that are not, are fun, so it will not cost any work to learn all this.

A Website guide for newbies

The first task that must be undertaken is to learn the HTML language, knowing the HTML language is essential since the web designer rarely needs to tweak the code produced by these editors.

The CSS language is somewhat more difficult than HTML, but at the same time, it is more fun. Getting to have advanced knowledge about CSS requires a lot of experience and time, you realise as you learn that you really have a lot to understand and sometimes your imagination only sets the limit. You can do amazing things just with
CSS.

What’s HTML and what’s CSS?

The HTML language consists of a series of commands that browsers can interpret, so it can be said that a web page is a document where content is written and a set of instructions to tell the browser how to display them. Through the HTML language, we can begin the first steps in web design. As it is described in basic concepts about HTML, to start our early practices, it is only necessary to use a text editor and a browser.

Like the HTML language, the CSS language only requires the use of a simple text editor and a browser, although it is true that some programs that are created exclusively to create style sheets are beneficial. HTML and CSS are complementary languages, since, although web pages can only be made with HTML, this is not the most convenient nor the most advisable, the visual presentation of the site will leave much to be desired.

Learning Web Design Online

There is a web design manual for beginners prepared by the University of Oviedo, specifically the Graphic Expression Area in Engineering. That is a 149-page manual that addresses different topics related to web design such as the HTML 4.0 platform, style sheets, JavaScript and DHTML, tables and links, the use of frames, introduction to the sheet of styles, colours and text with CSS, images, layer management, among other things.

Other Languages used in Website Design

As the demands of design progress, it will be necessary to include other languages, such as javascript, PHP, asp and others, since with HTML and CSS static pages are obtained, where the user is limited to see or hear the content. Some web pages require users to interact, send data, fill out forms, etc., which is only possible by including other languages, at least in part of the pages.

While it is true that today most web pages work thanks to content managers (CMS), which are prefabricated applications in which the programming and design part is already created by default, and are usually customised/modified to be used. For example, this portal is created under WordPress, which is the most popular blog platform currently.

The design and much of the programming that brings the application is modified, but the dynamism of the site and its complexity would not be possible without the use of WordPress, and WordPress works with PHP and MySQL.

At this point, the designer can consider leaping web development and learn these programming languages. Another aspect would be working hand in hand with programmers who will have much more knowledge in these languages, and spend all that valuable time learning how to program to become a better designer or boost their business.

Preparation

First, you need to measure your design. That is something that you usually have to do before starting to develop your design, but you need specific measures to begin coding. It is not necessary to know each one of the steps, but you need to know the measurements of the structure of your primary layout. For example, if you have a left side of the page and a right side of the page, you know its width (and height, if it does not vary).

You also need to know the width of the spacing between them and the total width of everything combined. If your design is based on a grid and it aligns with everything very well, it is most likely that the head of your site has this same width as well. It is necessary to know the dimensions of each central element of the site.

Once you have the measurements, we can start exporting images. In many cases, you will not need to export many photos, because you can recreate most of your design with HTML and CSS (and JavaScript). For a few images that you need to, you need to specify an appropriate format. That is, you have to choose between JPEG and PNG.

When your images are compound, such as photos or colourful illustrations, in general, it is better to choose JPEG. If you have simple images or you want your images to have transparent backgrounds, you have to save them as 24-bit PNG files.

When it comes to saving your images, you need somewhere where you can put them. For this reason, and because you are going to have a lot of other files once you start developing your website, at this stage, you have to start organising your site.

If you plan to build a more complex website, I would recommend structuring everything with the help of Model View Controller (MVC) architecture, but in this post, we are trying to develop a simple page, I recommend that you create the following directories in the directory Site root:

  • CSS
  • Image
  • Scripts

Well, you are going to save your images in the/images directory and your CSS style sheets in the/CSS directory. The script directory is where you can keep JavaScript files and other scripts. In the root directory, it is also necessary to create an index.html file.

What is index.html?

Let’s say you have a unique HTML file called mydoc.html. If you upload it to your web server, that is, to your site mysiteweb.com, every time someone visits mysiteweb.com, you see a list of the directories of the files that you have uploaded or, possibly, nothing at all.

The name of the index.html file tells the web server to show that file if someone goes to that specific directory. If you put the index.html file in your image directory, every time someone visits, you see a representation of the HTML content of that index.html. An index.html file is the default HTML file to display, so you always need one.

Exploring New Possibilities with Code Free Web Design Tools

code free web design

It used to be that people guided themselves by the materialistic mantra that ‘time is money’. Most of us have grown from that and realise that time is indeed important – but it’s not just from a materialistic perspective. We need time to invest in ourselves and our well-being and each and every tool out there that can help us save time should be taken into account and used to its full potential.

When it comes to web design, most will squirm away from the idea of taking such an endeavour in their own hands. And that’s because traditional web design involves knowing not only the code that goes inside such a job but also has an eye for how things should look and what captivates audiences and retains perspective clients to a specific online resource. However, we have technology on our side, and in recent years, more and more code-free web design tools have emerged which allow even the novice webmaster to build their own websites from the ground up using little to no technical know-how.

These code-free web design tools are mainly centred on a visual approach to web design. To that end, they employ templates and visual elements that can be rearranged and fully customised and edited to suit specific needs. The code is still there, but it’s hidden in the background and made to work with the designs a webmaster chooses for their websites. To complement these design templates and patterns, there’s a plethora of plugins and third-party tools that compensate for what some of these code free web design tools lack inherently.

The Benefits and Usability of Code Free Web Design Tools

Again, time is the main issue with having to start from scratch in designing and creating your own website. Most people who look towards running online businesses come from entirely different areas of expertise and having to learn a completely new trade, especially later on in one’s life, can be significantly challenging.

Platforms such as Webflow, Squarespace and Weebly offer full functionality in terms of web design for coding illiterate people. They achieve this by employing drag and drop technology which allows a user to find and literally drag and drop specific design elements to a web page. Through these tools, people can create e-commerce websites, blogs and other online resources without using a single line of code. Sure, when and if they decide to delve deeper into web design and HTML, they can further customise their websites – but until then, they can create fully functional, responsive dynamic and/or static sites with just a few clicks.

The benefits of using such platforms or dedicated software solutions such as Adobe Muse is that they offer a straightforward, no-headaches approach to website creation for people who just want to start their own business online or want to express themselves through a personal blog that’s not hosted through conventional CMSs (content management systems) like WordPress. And that’s because most CMSs are very limited in what they can offer webmasters and the additional functionality usually comes at a price.

Part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription, Adobe Muse is another website builder application that can help you create your own static website and then immediately host it with your favourite providers. Like most other code-free web design tools out there, once you pick and choose your templates and design elements and customise them through a visual interface to your own liking, the application will allow you to export static HTML files. These can be tested on your personal computer before sending them out to an actual live server, making a great tool to conduct practice runs on before actually going live on the website. As mentioned beforehand, the application benefits from added third-party plugins to increase functionality and open new doors in terms of what sites can be used: anything ranging from personal blogging platforms to e-commerce solutions.

How Can Even Experts Benefit from Code Free Web Design Tools?

It’s pretty clear by now how such code-free tools can benefit the layman in the process of creating their own website for various purposes. But let’s have a look at how experts can also gain from using such tools and why they actually are starting to employ them more frequently.

Professional web designers do indeed have the know-how needed to build a website from the ground up. But again, that takes time and effort. It’s the general purpose of technology and innovation to lessen our work and automate as much of it as possible. It then stands to reason that for creating bulk online resources for clients, a web designer might resort to some of these dedicated applications or web-based code-free design tools instead. There’s no compromise in terms of customizability, as an experienced design not only will employ all the functionality of a code-free tool but can also add their own code in the process to increase further what’s potentially lacking in the base program.

Furthermore, professionals can also use these tools to present their vision in a straightforward manner that does not require huge amounts of time invested for what’s necessarily just a rough draft of what they have in mind. Using such tools is beneficial in making sure a potential client knows what to expect from a finished design – professional web designers can use them to create attractive and easy to customise portfolios.

To sum up, it’s only normal that as time goes by, more and more aspects of the inner workings of websites will be made available to the general public, without us having to invest all that time and effort into the meticulous coding that would otherwise be required to make everything work smoothly. We’re already well on our way, and for what’s left, we can always count on our dedicated web designers out there to handle the more delicate aspects that require an expert’s input.

Category: Web Design
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Last Updated on: 18 June 2020
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