web design

Learning web design is something many people aspire too. But unfortunately many people either think that it’s incredibly difficult or just don’t know where to begin. First of all, anyone can learn to do web design.

Teaching the mechanics of creating a website isn’t something that can be taught in an article of this length, but the following is the general development process and some helpful recommendations to learn more.

Web Design

Web design refers to the actual look of a website. This is made up of the images and graphical elements as well as the general layout of those elements on the screen. Now to create a really graphical site that looks incredible requires some solid graphic design skills. That’s an entirely separate subject altogether.

However, even if a person isn’t a graphic designer they can still make simple graphics, get them from free resources online, or buy them from such sites as istockphoto.com. The most important thing to know is that with good web design the actual layout and appearance is controlled by what’s known as CSS.

CSS simply stands from Cascading Style Sheets. It’s usually a separate document that controls to appearance of the (X) HTML. A good place to start learning HTML and CSS is either through a book such as Learning Web Design by Jennifer Niederst Robbins or for free on w3schools.com.

Website Development

Website Development on the other hand usually refers to the actual coding that makes up a website. This includes HTML and CSS as well as client side languages such as JavaScript and PHP or server side scripts such as Java. It’s not necessary to know all of these things to actually make a website.

It’s important not to get intimidated by all these various things. As mentioned earlier, a person can create highly functional and interesting websites that serve their purpose without ever learning these things. The only real exceptions are HTML and CSS which are the basic skills needed to really learn web design. Start by making simple websites and add other skills, such as JavaScript, as needed.

Basic Process of Website Design

Here’s a rundown of the website design process whether designing something for personal use or for a client.

1. Research- This refers to the first step, which is to have a clear understanding of what the site will be used for and by whom. For instance, is this a commerce site which is meant to sell something to a target customer or is it a personal site meant to share news. Also what elements or sections will the site include? Examples of different sections that are common are the home page, a blog, contact, and product page, if for a commerce site. These are only some of the questions to ask, but the important thing is to have a clear understanding of the sites objective before going on to step two.

2. Organize Content- Information Architecture This is simply drawing out how each page will link out from the main home page and how they link to each other. It’s important to keep the architecture of the site, or how pages are linked and organized, as clean, simple, and logical as possible. This is also the phase where the content is created.

3. Creative or Design Phase Here’s the fun part. This is where the actual visual design of the site starts to be created. This includes creating or finding the graphic elements such as icons and pictures. A great program to use in order to create the initial design is called Adobe Illustrator.

4. Final Design- Produce a Working Prototype This is the phase were the final design has been decided on and all the elements including content have been created. Now it’s time to code everything with X(HTML) and CSS, upload it to a hosting server and then test to make sure everything, such as links, is working.

Start small, build something simple and then move on to more complicated and robust designs. After learning to create a basic site the next web design will be a lot easier.

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