How can I learn web design? 20 Tips to Learn Web Design
If you’ve asked yourself this question “How can I learn web design?” Our 20 Tips to Learn Web Design article is right for you. In this list, we comprised our best tips to becoming a web designer and join the path to your new career.
If you’re currently in the graphic design, print, or creative fields this article will be great to give you some insight into taking the necessary steps to make the change.
Also, according to Nick Schaferhoff, Editor in Chief at websitesetup.org “you don’t need a fancy bachelor’s degree in computer science to become a web designer or developer”.
If you’re unsure what a web designer is responsible for, please take a look at our article What do web designers do and then jump back here to finish the list of getting there. Our list of steps will help you get started. So let’s jump right in and go down the list.
Step 1. Start Designing
In my experience, the best way to learn something is to just do it (thank Nike!). Dive into a project you’re interested in and start designing. This doesn’t have to be the next Facebook, either, it can be a small website to get your feet wet.
But, wait you don’t know any code? You can get started with a website builder like Wix or something similar to see how the flow of a website works.
As you progress with the inner working of website design, you will begin to see that Wix design and website development has limitations at a point where you just can’t accomplish the things that you want to accomplish.
At that stage, you’ll want to move on to a more advanced system my recommendation is WordPress, but I’ll get into that later in the article.
Step 2. Study from Experts
Reading articles on the subject will give you some insight into how web designers think, how they approach problems, and how they approach projects.
So reading everything you find on topics you’re interested in will help keep your passion growing and help develop a solid foundation for your future career.
Some suggested topics for an aspiring website designer I would recommend include:
Call to action in website design, color theory in website design, how to select the right fonts for a website, negative spacing in web design, basic HTML, and basic CSS.
Step 3. Use Inspect Element on websites you like
If you’re using Google Chrome, first go to a website you like or you can try it on here. Right-click the page and select “inspect” in the dropdown. Once selected you will see all the HTML (left column) and CSS (right column) of the website.
Don’t worry if this looks confusing, just get your feet wet and you’ll start to see how these websites are structured.
After a while of doing this on every website you go to, you’ll start to almost read the code.
<p>? O, yeah that’s a paragraph, and z-index: 500? that’s layering. Given some time you’ll begin to love reading the code because it’s like a secret language on a select few can read.
Step 4. Start to learn HTML
I realize, I just mentioned this in the paragraph above, but learning HTML or hypertext markup language is super important for learning how to do a website.
Even if you’re using a website builder I recommend learning HTML, if not it would be like being a pilot, and not knowing how the plane works, but you use autopilot to fly everywhere.
The main website I went visited to learn HTML was W3schools.com, visit this link to learn more about the language. After you’ve got a grasp on the basics you can move on to Youtube and other tutorials to get more advanced. w3schools.com/html/html_intro.asp
Step 5. Learn a new skill in CSS
CSS or cascading style sheet is another very important website language to learn. This is where all the styling of a website comes from, including everything from colors to fonts.
Again, I recommend W3schools.com to learn the basics, then you can move on to Youtube videos and other tutorials to advance your skills.
Step 6. Utilize skills you already have
A big part of web design is rooted in graphic design or knowledge of design in general, the technical aspect is only one part. However, design skills and knowledge are high bonuses to getting into the field.
Web design is heavily weighted in visuals for having a good eye for design will be great when you want to show your skills.
So, if you are currently a graphic designer this a big thumbs up to get you to where you want to be with web design. If you haven’t done any graphic design, I recommend Inkscape, it’s a free vector art program similar to Adobe Illustrator.
I use Inkscape every day when doing websites for editing photos, making logos, or any other art I may need for a website. I even make website mockups with this tool, so I highly recommend using this or something similar if you want to do websites.
Step 7. Make a list of websites you like
Start creating a list of websites you like and analyze why you like them. Often a person, who is not a designer, can say I like this website, however, they can’t pinpoint exactly why they like it.
Your job with this list to make notes on the elements or parts of the website you like. For example, I like the font from website A, and I like the colors from website B.
Step 8. Take Screenshots of the websites you like
Next, take screenshots of the websites you like and compare them. Do they have similar traits? Do you have a certain style you’re drawn to?
Powertip: One thing when in the web design field is being diverse. You don’t want to get stuck only designing one style, explore different types of styles and gain an appreciation for all of them.
Some designers hat minimalist and some love it, but you should be able to understand the mentality of someone who likes minimalist style and adjust your design preference to that style.
The best tool to take screenshots of websites is an extension for Google Chrome called FireShot — check it out, it’s free.
Step 8. Know website User Flow
Knowing the fundamentals of website flow will help you a long the way. According to the authors at Optimizely “User flow is the path taken by a user on a website or app to complete a task. The user flow takes them from their entry point through a set of steps towards a successful outcome and final action, such as purchasing a product.”
This in essence is digital handholding and a website design component you’ll want to master. Go back to your list of websites and follow the user flow they have set on the website. A good user flow should bring your website customer, visitor, or client through a website seamlessly.
Step 9. Draw out websites
Drawing out a website on a sheet of paper or wireframing if you want to be smart about is the act of creating a layout of a website on a sheet of paper! wow.
All jokes aside, this can be a powerful tool to get to know websites and what blocks put them together. This process is less about the look of the website, rather it points out key components of the design. Think of it like you would a blueprint of a house but for a website.
Step 10. Wireframe with a vector program
As I mentioned above, Inkscape is a powerful tool for creating website mockups and wireframes of websites. You can take screenshots of websites you like and try to recreate them using Inkscape. This will help exercise your design muscles and give you a digital version of your wireframe.
Step 11. Try a free website builder
Website builders are great for getting started and can help take you from website beginner to website less than beginner status.
Website builders have tons of tools and premade block to frame out websites and the site is live on the internet so you can share it with friends and family for instant feedback.
While you’re using the website builder utilize some of the exercises above to break the design apart, which is similar to some of the other websites you like. Get into the details, like are you using the correct font size and don’t even get me started on mobile.
Step 12. Think bid with SEO
SEO or search engine optimization is another great skill a website designer or developer can possess when trying to learn web design. See our article for more information on SEO. What is SEO?
Step 13. Become friends with Google
Another tool a good web designer masters when trying to learn web design is how to use Google to answer common design questions. There are tons of forums answer code or design questions on Google its pretty easy to find the answer you’re looking for. If you don’t know the URL for Google.com I can’t help you—just stop reading lol.=
Step 14. Stay up with new design trends
Website design trends are something change on a biannual basis at least. I do a medium size design change on websites probably every 6 months and big design change every two years or so. So if you want to learn web design, learn web design trends.
Step 15. Join the Darkside with Google Fonts
Google Fonts is a fantastic tool to easily import fonts into your website project.
On the website, you can browse through hundreds if not thousands of fonts, download the font you like, and import the font into your website.
Now that I’m thinking about it, you actually don’t even have to download the font, you just import a code into your website, and there you go—you have the new font!
Step 16. Watch YouTube videos
YouTube videos are something that a person trying to learn web design will utilize often. When I started on lived on YouTube, trying to learn every trick and hack I could think of and it all paid off.
Step 17. Ask you community
Do you know anyone on Facebook or Linkedin that has experience with web design. Send your feelers out and if anyone you know does, try connecting with them to get more insight into the field. The benefits, the downfalls, and what you can’t expect.
Step 18. Learn WordPress
Okay, so this tool is something I’ve been using for over 10 years for building websites. It’s a bit more advanced than Wix to get started, however, I believe learning this program is a great choice for anyone trying to learn web design.
WordPress is a CMS or content management system for building websites. It started as a system for bloggers to get started quickly, however the community behind this system has grown exponentially over the past nearly twenty years and now hosts more than 40% of websites on the internet.
Step 19. Using WordPress? —Learn Elementor
Another wonderful tool for anyone trying to learn web design is Elementor.
This tool adds a builder function to WordPress, however, unlike other website builders, Elementor has functions that assist beginners and advanced users alike, adding a ton of more technical features to bring your website skills to the next level.
If you’d like to give Elementor a try. Visit their website here.
Step 20. Learn how to write more good
Okay, “more good” probably ain’t the most best way to talk so good—lol or the rest of that sentence for that matter. The last tip in the list may be the most important part. If you want people to be interested in your website, it’s a good idea to get your writing skills under control and give yourself the most professional voice.
This will communicate your skills equally as well as negative space, color theory, and any other design features you have on your website.