How do I get started in WebDesign?

  Inverjazz 13:24 21 Mar 04
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I know a little html, but that's it. Any good sites or books that can guide a rookie?

  Forum Editor 13:34 21 Mar 04

click here

and come back to this thread for more advice. I'm very much an advocate of the "learn by doing" training method - research has shown that with creative subjects it's often the best method. Get some web space and experiment, you can always ask us to comment on your efforts as you go. Many people do that, and I hope they find it a helpful process. Those of us who have a little more experience can still remember what it was like when first we started out, and you'll have a very sympathetic audience.

  Taran 17:23 21 Mar 04

Get a pad of paper and pen and jot down ideas and sketch out some mock layouts.

Compile a list of the colour schemes that you like, those that you don't, any sites that really took your breath away or those that didn't. Getting it clear in your own mind why you don't like certain things on the web is probably as important as rationalising why you do like other things.

Once you have some concepts to work with, transpose them to a desktop publishing program to see your layout move from paper to screen then start in on making the web page version of it all once you're happy with it.

If that sounds like the long way around, you might be surprised at how many designers use either a DTP program or a graphics editor to fine tune layouts before creating a site based on them. It's a useful skill to learn since if you ever decide to pursue web design to any great extent you have to be able to show designs for approval by clients. In this case, think of yourself as a client to critically look over your ideas, pull them apart, put them back together again until you're 100% happy.

It actually saves a lot of work in the long run if you have a firm concept in mind, otherwise you'll find you waste hour after hour, tweaking this, adjusting that, moving and shuffling page content and so on. If you get the prep work right the rest can be much easier.

Get used to transferring your web files up to and down from your web host using FTP. You'd be amazed at how many people are tripped up by this and if you want to do regular site updates or write sites for others you'll need a form grasp on it.

Finally, don't try a million and one web editing programs. Stick with just one or two and learn them properly. Most programs are deceptive in that, to make them user friendly, the majority of features can be hidden away and you have to go looking for them. I am always amazed when someone has a "I never even knew it could do that" reaction to software. Work through any helpfiles in the program you have and look for tutorials online and follow them. If you learn to handle a program properly it can greatly reduce your timeframe from start to completion of your site.

If you don't already have web authoring software you could do worse than look at NetObjects Fusion or Miscrosost FrontPage. NetObjects in particluar is very easy to use but has lots of those hidden features I mentioned above that really allow you to expand your site. FrontPage is also easy to use and both of those programs can take to as far as you want to go. Dreamweaver and Adobe GoLive are excellent but don't feel that they are necessary because they aren't. Good results can be had regardless of the program you use.

A free code editor that has loads of bells and whistles is HTML Kit click here but many people don't want to wrestle with a code editor.

Play around, build features in, take others out and ask for feedback from friends and family [and us]. Feedback is one of the most important things to you when you start out. It's more important to learn what you're doing wrong than what you're getting right.

In addition to the link given by Forum Editor you could also try these:

click here

click here

  Inverjazz 07:36 22 Mar 04

Thank you very much for the tips. That lot should keep me busy for a while.

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