Web Design – Beginners

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What is it

Website design involves the planning, production and maintenance of websites and website content. The activity combines a number of other related areas. For instance, website designers must have some visual design appreciation (knowledge of layout, typography, colour, contrast, etc. ) in order to make websites look inviting or appealing. Web designers must also have a certain level of technical expertise so that they can structure and code websites that can be easily navigated by the end user.

Because there are so many elements involved in the practice of web design, it is essential for beginners to first dedicate an appropriate amount of time to mastering the basics. This is precisely what beginner s courses in Web Design allow you to do.

What does it involve

Most introductory web design courses (which can be online or classroom-based) begin by teaching participants how to use HTML (hypertext mark-up language) code to build a basic site. Put briefly, HTML is a coding language that communicates to web browsers the way your website should be displayed (in terms of text, image, animation, etc. ). By becoming familiar with coding principles, learners are given a solid foundation in understanding how a website is designed and put together from scratch.

Participants will also receive tuition in using Adobe Dreamweaver an industry-standard piece of software that facilitates more user-friendly website design. In essence, Dreamweaver allows web designers to put together website templates and style sheets, which significantly reduces the time that they will need to spend on website design and maintenance.

Students on basic Web Design programmes can also expect to be given training in using Adobe Photoshop for editing images, along with Flash, which allows designers to produce short animations and put up interactive elements on a website such as web buttons.

Of course more advanced Web Design programmes will examine these areas in much greater depth. For example, a diploma-level Web Design course will teach students how to use Dreamweaver for more complex tasks and for more feature-rich sites. Such courses will deal with elements such as online forms, search functions, incorporating databases, animations, streaming audio and video files, and secure e-commerce features such as shopping carts. Working with most of these elements is not too difficult, as the application continues to do most of the programming work for the designer.

Students who complete a Diploma in Web Design will also have acquired skills in a host of other important areas and practices. Included among these are: good site management (naming files and folders, saving images and pages); File Transfer Protocol, or FTP (uploading and downloading to the internet, connecting to and transferring files from a remote server); Cascading Style Sheets (CSS); and using search engine optimisation (SEO) (getting the most from tags and meta tags, acquiring website validation, getting your website to rank highly on Google).

Students can expect to have their progress measured through a series of projects, such as designing and constructing a website for a specific client. A basic level of knowledge in using computers is a typical prerequisite for course entry.

Why do it

Due to the fact that the digital age is very much upon us and companies are feeling increased pressure to establish their presence online, the services of trained and talented web designers are now more sought after than ever. Doing a part-time Web Design class will not only be of benefit to those looking to establish themselves as professionals in the field, however; they will also confer advantages to managers of medium-sized and smaller businesses that may not have the budget for extensive website development.

What comes next

As web design can be a highly competitive market, those hoping to become industry professionals should consider augmenting their learning with further study. However, many graduates of good part-time programmes go on to work as designers, web server administrators, website managers and website developers.

At a glance

Web designers plan, produce and maintain websites.
Web Design courses will help students develop both their technical and their creative web design abilities
Introductory courses can run for up to 6 months, at a standard price of around 300 400. More advanced, diploma-level programmes run for a similar length of time are more intensive, covering more material and in greater detail. Prices range between 700 1250.


Frank Bolger

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