Are you looking to get into website design for the first time? This overview is really aimed at people who want to adopt this as a pastime or perhaps those of you who are looking to move your career in that direction. But this is a complex subject, right? Well yes it can be, but it is actually quite simple if you want to develop a straightforward website for personal use and you have no aspirations to try and sell your services in the future.
In my opinion, you shouldn’t begin to think about starting out as a web designer unless you are reasonably technical or at least you have more than a passing interest in the Internet. My own interest started out because I am passionate about the Internet as a communication medium. One important thing it is worth flagging up from the outset is that web design can be addictive and don’t even think about it if you don’t have an understanding partner! It can become an all-consuming activity very quickly as you begin to master the technologies.
So what do you need to start out in web design? Well for sure you need a computer and Internet connection – your first tick in the box! Secondly, you need some software to ‘code’ your web design. For starters, you can get all sorts of freeware and shareware off the web and you can begin by searching for ‘HTML Editors’. Don’t worry about what this stands for, as it’s irrelevant. You will need a HTML Editor to create the code for your website. As you move up the website learning curve, you will more than likely want to invest in commercial software such as Microsoft’s FrontPage or something like Dreamweaver. “So that’s all I need?” I hear you ask. Well, it would be handy to start out with a few reference books to get you started. Getting your first rung on the web design ladder is probably the hardest part and it can be quite frustrating in the early stages as you try and figure out the technicalities. However, there are masses of help on the Web, but I cannot recommend highly enough that you at least get a reference book like “Website Design for Dummies” to make things a little easier.
Most of the HTML Editors are WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), so this will make life so much easier for you. As your skills progress you will inevitably start to look at other people’s web design techniques and study the code they have used to develop certain things that catch your eye as you browse the Web. At this point you will need to begin to understand how the code works and things will begin to get more complicated. In a matter of weeks you will be talking knowledgably about Tables, CSS, Java Script etc. You will become the ‘office bore’ before you know it!
Finally, you will need to think about how you will get your fledgling website out in front of the unsuspecting public i.e. on the Internet. You’re unlikely to want to go and buy a domain name and a hosting package from day one, so it’s probably best if you check out what your Internet Service Provider offers you for free. Most of the larger companies offer limited facilities to publish your web pages at no cost and this is a great starting point.
One thing is for sure. If and when you actually get to the point of publishing your work of art so you can access it via the Web, you will be glowing with pride and fascination. I certainly did and it’s quite an addictive feeling. Then the fun begins trying to attract visitors to your website, but that can wait for another day. Good luck!