The web design community is great at sharing information. But there are often some prerequisites attached to what we are sharing. You’d probably need to be a web designer or developer already to get something out of it. But what about beginners?
If you are just starting your journey in web design, you may feel left out. With all the expert tutorials out there, it can be hard to know where to start. It is not the lack of knowledge that is limited. Rather, it is the sheer number of resources that can muddy the picture.
Web design is a huge subject. There are just so many different technologies to learn and ways to adopt. But those first steps as they begin are universal.
And that’s our focus today. We will help guide you towards becoming a web designer. Whether you’re looking for a professional career or finding a new hobby, there’s something here to get you on your way.
Learn HTML and CSS: The Basics of Web Design
Both HTML and CSS have been around for a long time. On that basis alone, it might be tempting to dismiss them. However, these languages are constantly evolving.
They are still the foundation of how websites are built. And a case could be made that they are as important as ever.
HTML5’s semantic structure is critical for things like search engine optimization. CSS3, meanwhile, helps keep pages looking beautiful, lightweight and interactive. Both languages also play a huge role in accessibility.
While there are plenty of tools out there that will write markup and styles for you, it’s still important to learn how HTML and CSS work. They are more complex than any WYSIWYG editor can express properly.
It is this basic knowledge that will help you plan and build a better end product. Understanding grid layout, media queries, and how HTML5 handles video is essential.
Don’t hesitate to dive in and learn all the things when it comes to both.
Construction and Maintenance of a Side Project (Or Two)
Creating a side project is one of the best ways to learn what web design is all about. Not to mention that it can also be a lot of fun.
Choose a subject you are passionate about. Maybe it’s books, music or sports. Maybe you want to build a community for other like-minded people. Whatever it is, outline some simple goals for the project.
For example, think about how you want the site to look and the types of functionality you’ll need. What do you want to communicate with visitors? What actions should they take?
The great thing about this type of website is that you can go at your own pace. It is often better to start small and improve things over time. This will help you understand what it takes to maintain a website. You might even learn some lessons on how to build with the future in mind.
You’ll probably make mistakes and run into some roadblocks – but that’s part of the fun. It’s real world experience, but without the pressure of working with clients.
Try Systems, Frameworks, and Applications
And it’s definitely okay to go down that path. But there is much more to do and see. Putting yourself in a bubble from the start is not necessarily the best thing for professional growth. Besides, if you only ever use one particular tool, how do you know what separates the good from the great?
Take some time to try out different tools, whether on a project or just out of curiosity. The experience you gain will help you develop your niche over time.
Additionally, having experience with many apps, frameworks and systems could come in handy. When it comes to technology, nothing lasts forever. The more varied your expertise, the better you will be able to roll with the changes.
Be Kind to Yourself
If you pay close attention to the web design community, you’re sure to come across the “rock stars” of the trade. Here are the people who look like they’ve made it. Their portfolios are full of high-profile, stunning projects. And they are often thought of as leaders in the industry.
While it can be inspiring to see what these amazing designers are doing, it can also have the opposite effect and lower your confidence. Imposter syndrome is a real thing. The secret is that almost everyone feels this way at one time or another – even the glitterati.
So don’t be too hard on yourself if you have difficulties. Whether it’s a bit of code that’s bothering you or you’re having trouble understanding a concept, stick with it. Realize that struggles come with the end and that hard work can pay off.
Most importantly, don’t feel like you have to measure up to anyone else. We are all on a journey, and yours is unique.
Enjoy the Opportunity to Grow as a Designer
Taking the first steps towards becoming a web designer is an exciting, if uncertain, time. But even if you don’t quite know what you’re doing yet, learn to embrace that feeling.
The truth is that you would feel that way time and time again when learning new tools and techniques – even years ago. Learning new things is an integral part of the experience. Much of it is a process of trial and error, but you will be better off after going through it.
Enjoy the opportunity, and don’t be afraid of failure. Now, move boldly out into the world of web design!