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Basic Steps to Learn Web Designing: Interested in learning how to design and build websites, but not sure where to start? Don’t worry, you can absolutely pick up web design skills even if you’re a complete beginner.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll walk you through the key foundational steps for getting started with web design as a beginner. Follow this roadmap to learn HTML, CSS, and start coding professional-looking websites sooner than you think.
Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Understand the Basics of How Websites Work
Before diving into learning web design, it helps to understand some basics of how websites and web pages actually work behind the scenes.
HTML provides the fundamental building blocks for web page structure and content. Tags like
<h1> for headings,
<p> for paragraphs,
<img> for images, and many more allow you to mark up the content semantically.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) then lets you control the appearance of that HTML content – colors, fonts, spacing, positioning, and everything else that contributes to design.
Understanding these core foundations will make it much easier to get up and running with coding your own pages.
Step 2: Learn HTML Fundamentals
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the coding language for structuring web page content and defining its semantic meaning. Learning it is the essential first step for web design.
Some key beginner HTML topics to focus on:
- HTML document structure – The boilerplate that goes at the start and end of an HTML file.
- Basic tags – Headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, images, links, etc. The elements that contain actual visible content.
- Attributes – Extra properties you can add to HTML tags to configure them, like adding a CSS class, changing an image source, or opening a link in a new tab.
- Semantic structure – Using proper header, footer, nav, aside, and section elements to structure page layout.
You don’t need to memorize every possible HTML tag at first, just focus on learning the major ones you’ll use in most websites, and common attributes like class and id.
Free resources like HTMLDog, Codecademy, and MDN’s HTML guide are great for learning HTML as a beginner.
Step 3: Learn CSS Basics
Once you have a handle on HTML fundamentals, it’s time to start learning CSS. This allows styling and visually designing your websites.
Some core CSS beginner topics:
- The fundamentals of CSS syntax – Selectors, properties, and property values. How to target specific elements on a page.
- Styling text – Colors, fonts, size, bold/italic, etc.
- CSS box model -Padding, margins, borders, and controlling element sizing.
- Positioning content – Floats, inline-block, Grid and Flexbox, and more.
- CSS classes and IDs – How to reuse styles efficiently.
Again, online resources like CSS Tricks, MDN’s CSS Guide, and Codecademy are great for mastering the basics.
Step 4: Apply HTML & CSS Knowledge with Practice Projects
Once you have a decent grip on HTML and CSS basics, the best way to accelerate your learning is by practicing building actual web pages and websites.
Start with simple practice projects like:
- A simple single page website – Maybe your “portfolio” page. Add a navbar, image, headings, text sections, etc.
- A contact page – A form with fields for name, email, and message. Styled to look nice.
- A blog page – Sample headers, article preview sections, formatted post samples.
- Product category page – Images, descriptions, prices for product samples.
The specific project doesn’t matter too much. The key is getting practice applying HTML and CSS skills to construct web pages and components.
Don’t be afraid to reference tutorials, Google things, or use tools like Bootstrap CSS as needed. The goal at this stage is hands-on experience.
Step 5: Learn Web Design Fundamentals
While HTML and CSS skills allow you to build functioning websites, you also need to learn visual design principles to make them truly polished and professional looking.
Some key basics of good web design include:
Spacing and layout – Using white space, spacing, grids, and clean layouts to clearly organize content.
Typography – Pairing fonts, sizes, and weights that are visually appealing and reinforce hierarchy.
Color theory – Using accent colors, palettes, and contrast for aesthetics and readability.
Visual hierarchy – Establishing a clear visual hierarchy through size, color, positioning and other elements.
Consistency – Keeping page elements, styling, and branding consistent throughout the site.
There are some great beginner resources for learning web design best practices like Google’s Web Fundamentals, Universal Principles of Design, and Web Design for Beginners.
Step 6: Learn Basic Web Design Tools
You’ll also want to get familiar with some standard tools used in professional web design:
- Wireframing – Map out page layouts and structure before coding. Popular tools include Figma, Adobe XD, and Sketch.
- Graphics programs – Software like Photoshop or GIMP for designing assets like logos, editing photos, and more.
- Browser DevTools – Built in web inspector tools for debugging and modifying code right in the browser.
- Code editors – Apps like VS Code, Sublime Text, etc for writing code.
- FTP client – Software like Filezilla for uploading website files to remote servers.
Don’t feel you need to master them all early on. Just be aware of standard tools so you can learn as needed.
Step 7: Learn Responsive Design
Today’s websites need to be responsive – able to adapt their layout for optimal viewing on any device, whether desktop screens, tablets or mobile phones.
Some key responsive concepts:
- Media queries – CSS that applies different styling based on screen width or device type.
- Fluid layouts – Using percentages rather than fixed pixel widths.
- Responsive images – Serving properly sized images for each device.
- Mobile-first design – Designing for mobile as the base experience first.
- Responsive frameworks – Tools like Bootstrap that make building responsive sites much easier.
With responsive skills, you can build sites that work seamlessly on any device. Critical in modern web design.
Step 8: Practice! Build Your Portfolio.
Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to start practicing building full websites to boost your skills.
- Replicate simple website designs you find online.
- Rebuild old projects with better code.
- Offer to build free sites for friends or non-profits to gain experience.
- Build a personal portfolio site to showcase your work.
The specific websites don’t matter too much. The key is getting plenty of hands-on practice taking web design projects from concept to completed product.
This portfolio of real world projects shows employers/clients you can deliver professional work.
- Core syntax and variables
- Working with DOM elements
- Events and event listeners
- Functions and reusable logic
- Fetching and working with data
- Basic libraries like jQuery
Step 10: Keep Learning and Staying Up-To-Date
Web design is a rapidly evolving field. While this roadmap covers the core basics, never stop learning as technologies change.
Some ideas for ongoing learning:
- Read web design blogs and news sites routinely.
- Experiment with new HTML, CSS or JS features.
- Attend meetups and conferences to connect with others.
- Consider taking advanced courses and certifications over time.
- Subscribe to email newsletters and podcasts.
Make continuing education a habit early on in your web design career. It will pay off for decades to come.
Key Takeaways and Next Steps
Learning the foundations of professional web design is completely doable even starting from zero experience. Follow this structured roadmap:
- Understand the high level basics of how websites work.
- Start learning HTML fundamentals first.
- Once comfortable with HTML, begin learning core CSS.
- Practice by building simple web pages and components with HTML & CSS.
- Study web design principles like typography, color theory, layouts.
- Get familiar with essential web design tools for creating sites.
- Learn how to make websites responsive for optimal mobile user experience.
- Build full website projects to expand your portfolio and skills.
- Make learning and staying updated a lifelong habit.
The web design learning journey is long, but extremely rewarding. Follow this beginner’s roadmap to get started on the right foot. You’ve got this!