By CC Pearce
Teaching yourself Web design can be a daunting task, but luckily there are many online resources that can help you through the process. With some time, diligence and patience, you'll be able to teach yourself some very useful and practical methods of creating a Web site.
Basic Scripting Languages
One of the first things you'll need to know if you're just starting out is some basic scripting languages. The first two to learn are HTML and CSS, which are basically the languages that fill a page with its content and layout. There are countless tutorials on these subjects, including video and interactive courses, but one of the best resources possible is www.w3schools.com.
This site will take you step-by-step through the processes and give you the option of taking a test to review your skills. If you think you've truly mastered a subject, they also issue Web developer certificates if you can qualify. Chances are you'll be coming back to this site again and again as you decide to learn more advanced scripting languages as well.
Investigate Source Code
As your understanding of coding improves, your curiosity may provoke you to investigate the source code of other Web sites that you like. Fortunately, most browsers have made viewing the source code relatively simple. Typically under the "View" section of the menu bar of your browser, there is a link to view the source code.
In Chrome, for example, click on "View" then "Developer" then "View Source." You can copy the code into a text editor or Web design program to see what would happen if you change certain elements in the code. This is one of the most fun ways to dive into the process of learning Web design, and it will also help you remember the code better as you understand how to engage with and manipulate it.
If you decide the coding is too difficult, laborious or just plain boring, an alternative way to design a Web site is with a WYSIWYG editor. This lengthy acronym stands for "What You See Is What You Get," meaning that you can arrange the elements visually and the program will generate the code for you.
This is easier for many people who prefer to spend time on the aesthetics of a site as opposed to the technical side of it. Problems can emerge, however, if the site doesn't behave the way you want it to. Without the knowledge of the technical side, troubleshooting can be more difficult. Some people prefer hybrid coding like one of the layouts in Adobe's DreamWeaver software that allows you to visually arrange the page elements but still view the code to see if anything suspicious is happening.
With the amount of resources that exist today, you can teach yourself Web design as long as you know where to look. Be patient and keep coding!
About the Author
CC Pearce is a post-production coordinator at Michael Eisner's new media company Tornante. He is also a co-producer of the online comedy production team The Outside Joke.