Learning web design

Going to school to fine-tune your craft is always a good thing. I totally hear you on perhaps not loving the environment and institution of school, but the education would be a great experience and give you a better indication as to whether or not you want to continue with web design professionally. Good luck to you!

Depends on what mode of “design” you want to go in. If you are talking graphic design for the web, well graphic design is a whole other beast. Online courses won’t do it. I have seen self-taught graphic designers, and they look self-taught. There is something to know about info design like hierarchy, contrast, visual interest, branding etc that would be hard to pick up by reading tutorials on the internet.

The internet was invented to share information like technical papers etc. Then it expanded and companies want, and still want, to use it as a identity extension of their brand. Yes, you can open a book and learn CSS and HTML and probably learn it yourself. But that doesn’t mean you will be able to know the best way to take a company’s identity and transform it into a brand piece for the web.

That is why internet related companies hire full time staff for copywriting, graphic design, coders, marketers, e-comm management etc etc. They want people who understand a certain field really well.

So it goes back to what I said: It depends on where you want to go. I’ve seen brilliant web developers whose websites might have clean HTML, and CSS, but the identity looks like puke. In other words, the code looks like 2011. The visual looks like 1996. If you want to do “web design” you should first ask yourself, WHAT KIND of web design do you want to do. Everything? Info architecture, CSS, HTML, Branding etc etc? You want to be a jack of all trades, or a specialist?

You won’t learn identity and branding from a book. I’ve seen people who do that, and I’ve seen their work. Not a fan. Go to a school that understands that and can teach from that perspective.


Not at all. Modern, beautiful and functional Web sites can be created without knowing ANY of the above.[/QUOTE]

I agree. You could be familiar with none, and be a great web designer/developer, or know them all and be terrible. Or you can be successful knowing some. But, you don’t need to know everything about everything.

In Sweden we have special private schools for this that are up-to-date. No such thing in the US?

Personally I don’t have the patience to take classes from so called experts, I’ve always done it on my own. Did choose a high school specialized in IT/Programming though but dropped out of college (business and marketing, but still) since I want to do things my way.

In order to develop any web site you have to maintain some basic tips such as programming language as java script, asp.net and also learn some graphic software’s as Photoshop,corel draw etc…

What do you think about the w3school to learn web designing?

I see w3school as a reference, not a curriculum.

Pretty much the same as I think about Fox News’ reporting on international politics … it’s way out of date, riddled with mistakes and gives really bad advice … but somehow it’s popular with the lowest common denominator who like its easy style and either don’t know or don’t care how poor it is.

Yes, it is definitely good to know those things. But learning the tool is just the beginning. Every writer should learn how to type or use a pencil. But if a writer says “I want to learn how to take my writing to the next level” what should he do? Learn how to use a computer? That won’t do it. Learning good design sensibility, unless you are a pure natural, requires more than learning the tools. It requires practice, but most helpful, learning from a good teacher. A book cannot answer questions, or provide guidance other than what it says already. The best place to learn that is from a teacher of design at a good design school. IMHO

Been working as a web developer for 5 years, started developing web sites since I was in college, when table-based designs and gif spacers was the norm. I attended classes -4 years- at my local University that was focused on Applied Informatics in Economic Sciences.

I’m a front-end / back-end developer and pretty good at both.

Cources like database design/data mining (3 semesters) helped me a lot (I even did an internship through the uni with the role of Junior database developer using Oracle systems). We were introduced in HTML and XML in the first semester (but no CSS at all) but in the cource of “Web development” we were introduced to Java and were taught how to make silly applets that drew forms and graphics that did nothing! Concepts like Object Oriented Programming and algorithms were a big plus and we had also cources about marketing, bussiness administration and building systems that would solve bussiness problems and focus on bussiness rules.

I found a good use to all these topics for my work and helped me get started, so programming web applications with PHP and MYSQL wasn’t diffucult to start with, though I learned XHTML and CSS2 (tabless designs) on my own, while working as a professional web developer.

On the other hand, I knew I wanted to be a web developer from the first semester, so I did start self-educating through the web and books pretty soon (I could also find some pretty good books on the university library too). I also chose a subject for my thessis that included the development of a web application and also focused on Software Enginneering (that I thought the curriculum was lacking -only one semester for such a huge topic) and chose to develop it using the MVC pattern which was the “coolest” thing arround at the time.

I started getting intersted in the “design” process of a website when I was employed in a “Visual Communication and Marketing” company as a web developer. Soon I was attending meetings with the clients during the design briefs, drawing sitemaps and wireframes, focusing on information architecture etc so I was a “web designer” in a sense too. But ofcource I couldn’t make things look so “pretty”, even though I was proficient in the use of Photoshop. I lacked formal training in the domain of graphic design and visual communication.

I’m getting more and more interested in graphic design (when I want to relax I just pick a cool tutorial on web design and delv into it, I like the “how to design this site in photoshop” tutorials) and thinking of actually taking cources on that field. And I say graphic design, not web design. I also checked local “web design” cources (2 years) but the curriculum was CR*P (I could teach in those classes) and pretty expensive too.

For now I’m self teaching myself “Web Design” in my spare time. Actually right now I’m on the third chapter of “Sexy Web Design” (from Sitepoint ofcource) and I’m also the owner of “Deliver First Class Web Sites” and “The Principals of Beautiful Web Design” I bought some years ago and found very useful too.

So what I’m trying to say is that formal training through a college could be really helpful and the way to go in order to grasp the foundations of the trade, but you must be really careful when choosing the school, because It can be a very expensive venture, both in time and money. So make it worth. A good design school would be, in my opinion, the way to go If you want to be a “web designer”. If you want to be a “developer” you would go for the “information technology” or “computer science” department.

But that doesn’t mean that you will learn everything you need to be a successful professional, even if the curriculum is top notch, a lot of self teaching is envolved, especially in a field so rapidly changing like web design and development, as media and devices evolve through time. Ofcource you can be an equally succesful professional through “self-teaching” and yeah you can choose your own “teacher” which are professionals on their trade. They are some very good resources out there, both on web and print. This could help you save a lot of money and time, but I still believe that a qualified teacher would help you more in grasping the foundations of design (that’s why I’'m thinking myself to enroll to a design school and in the process of evaluating the local colleges arround)

Wow this is getting really long, I could say much more, but this is evolving to an essay rather than a forum post!

P.S. I’m completely self taught in English

Then what is your suggestion to learning languages?

He probably would suggest the source: http://www.w3.org/ amongst other more accurate tutorials.

Off Topic:

Apart from one major mis-spelling (Courses, not Cources), you’re doing better than most people who were taught in English speaking countries as their first language.

HTML Help is a great website - comprehensive, easy to read, and less prone to errors or bad advice than w3schools. There are also some fantastic books out there, including some produced by Sitepoint.

It’s nice to go for the classes if you looking to became a professional web developer. But if you are only want just to create some website for fun etc then there are lot’s of online tutorial available out there. It’s easy to download and follow the detailed instruction but all you need to do is find the good tutorial. I have myself learned learned a lot from online tutorial and now i can create good web pages not like a professional but i am happy with my result.