General Question

brettvdb's avatar

I would like to learn how to design websites. Where do I start?

Asked by brettvdb (1192points) June 15th, 2009

I’m very good with computers, and have very very basic programming skills (I did some html and a tiny bit of Java in highschool, but that was 7 years ago). Im looking for good resources that offer a good place for someone like me to start. Does anyone have any advice for me to start teaching myself how to design websites? What do I start with? Where do I look?

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11 Answers

noyesa's avatar

In seven years things have changed and awful lot. Your best bet is to start with learning XHTML and CSS. Semantic HTML and the separation of markup and presentation are very important topics. You should be aware of the web standards project and why it exists, and why semantic HTML is so important. There are so many resources out there on this topic that I’ll leave finding them up to you. That covers the basics of design.

Semantic HTML is a very important concept. Not only does it make CSS easier to write, but it’s immensely important if you ever get into development, be it client-side or server-side. JavaScript and the DOM are arguably the most important part of crafting a web interface, and both rely on cleanly structured HTML.

Server-side development is another story. It has more in common with application programming than web design. PHP is the most commonly used language, and it runs on the web server to generate HTML pages dynamically. Other popular web programming languages are Perl, Python, and Ruby, altough those are generally used for more complicated tasks, and are more difficult to get into without a gerat foundation in computer programming.

dynamicduo's avatar

Personally I learned (and still learn) by doing, by observing things in motion and by replicating them with my own hands. I cherish the W3C Schools website for good quality tutorials, and googling for the exact feature I need often brings up demos or tutorials as well. I have purchased a few books but do not regularly rely on them. For me, they are not necessary. Start with HTML/XHTML and CSS. You can then go on to learn web programming/development skills including basic then advanced Javascript and databases (PHP, MySQL, ASP), or look into the hosting and server setup areas of it if that interests you.

From 7 years ago, it’ll be a bit tricky to learn CSS and proper semantic design in lieu of the easy to implement table method, but XHTML and modern code designers will help with this. Resist the urge to use tables for design :) Practice makes perfect. I would say it’s easier today than it was 7 years ago, browser differences are less common but they’re still here occasionally.

CMaz's avatar

Start at your local craft store. Colored paper, tooling and different rhinestones add depth and creativity to your favorite web page.
Just use glue that will not stick permanentally to your computer screen. This way you can have different themes for the various web sights you go to.

brettvdb's avatar

@dynamicduo I checked out that link and it looks great. Will definitely spend some time there over the weekend. Thanks!

YARNLADY's avatar

@ChazMaz that’s not a far fetched as many might think. I have needlepoint on canvas frame for my TV and monitor, and many little sticky stars and glitter and other decorations for my laptop.

Bri_L's avatar

@YARNLADY – Hehe. I once drew the mac face on my etch a sketch and kept it next to my desktop at work with a wireless mouse next to it. (I got the idea from Dilbert)

@brettvdb – great question!

Great info everyone thanks!

Link's avatar

I like too, but I prefer The site might not be as visually appealing as W3, but it is written well and easy to understand. Do check it out.


noyesa's avatar is a great resource. It is my favorite.

Bri_L's avatar

This is a pretty nice resource as well

arachnodesign's avatar

I like reading physical books. Visit your local bookstore and find a book which appeals to you. Copy the ISBN and buy it used at

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