A List of Essential Web Design Skills

Introduction

Your Web Designer Needs To Know These Things . . .

Hi - My name is Liz, and I'm going to describe the key list of skills I think you need in order to become a freelance web designer, or web developer.

These are the skills list you need to work towards if you decide to build your own site by hand. If you are freelancing on your own, it is not the same as working as a web designer for a company. As a freelancer you need a broader understanding of a wide range of web skills. You also need to know when your skills are good enough for the job at hand, and when you need to get help.

You can also read this hub as a list of skills that your web designer should have if he or she is going to be of real value to you.

In either event, what follows is a personal opinion. So please do comment if you agree or if you disagree.






Stuff You'll Need

Before you start on your web design journey, you're going to need

  1. A fast PC (or MAC), but preferably a PC with a screen capable of a high resolution (1900 x 1200 preferably)
  2. A fast internet connection that is always on
  3. Some reliable hosting
  4. A domain name and an email address of your own
  5. You'll need software too, but much of what you need to develop your own sites is either free, or very cheap. The only really expensive software I use at the moment is Photoshop, but there are cheap (and free) alternatives to that too.

Efficient Working Environment

1900x1200 pixel display allows for easier access to necessary tools and web pages.
1900x1200 pixel display allows for easier access to necessary tools and web pages.

A Little More About That Computer Of Yours

A Quality Working Environment Matters

When you start doing web design work for yourself, you'll find you need access to a number of web pages and tools at once. You may have a number of open windows up on your screen and if your PC is under-powered, you'll find the process more frustrating than it needs to be, which will interrupt your concentration, so hinder your progress.

Why Do I Say You Need a High Resolution Screen?

The benefit in having a display with a high resolution - practically this means you won't have to move windows around in order to read a page or use a tool. The whole window containing the entire thing you are looking at, will fit on the screen. This saves time and your temper.

See How A Typical Screen Looks at 1900x1200 Pixels

If you click on the image above, it is a screenshot of my PC screen - see how many windows I can have open all at once, that I can see without having to move them around too much? This saves you HOURS of time.

Example XHTML

XHTML / HTML

XHTML is the basic language of the web. Using this technology alone will enable you to write simple, text based web sites. If you put your mind to it you can learn enough of this in an afternoon to make a simple, no frills, static web site.

Now I don't advocate this if you are trying to sell your web design skills, but if you are a newbie, just starting out, you can write a very simple site just using XHTML and you can do it without too steep a learning curve.

An example of what XHTML looks like is shown on the right. Click the image to see it full size.

XHTML is the computer language used to build the ordinary text on a web site and display images. Almost every website you'll see is made up of XHTML or HTML. This is a relatively easy language to learn and if you put your mind to it, you'll be writing XHTML pretty well within a few hours.

You can type this stuff in using notepad or an ordinary text editor. Or you can obtain an XHTML editor which will colour code what you type and help you correct syntax (the grammar of programming languages) errors.

Same XHTML - Different CSS - See The Different Pages

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is CSS Company.Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is Tiny Blue.Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is  Withering Beauty.Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is Kyoto Forest.Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is a Walk in the Garden.
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is CSS Company.
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is CSS Company.
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is Tiny Blue.
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is Tiny Blue.
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is  Withering Beauty.
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is Withering Beauty.
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is Kyoto Forest.
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is Kyoto Forest.
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is a Walk in the Garden.
Same XHTML using different CSS and images. This is a Walk in the Garden.

The Power of CSS

CSS stands for cascading style sheets, which is a bit of a funny name.

It basically means that if you write a nice plain XHTML web page, you can make it look completely different by applying a separate CSS style sheet file to it.

This is powerful and simple - imagine - you can write a web page that looks one way, and by only changing the style-sheet you can make it look completely different.

Click the image thumbnails on the right. Each one is exactly the same web page, using exactly the same XHTML. The only difference is each one has a different style sheet and images applied to it.

Now do understand, to get these types of results with CSS you'll need to be very good at it, and have great graphic design skills.

BUT the point I want to make is that even just using pure CSS and XHTML, (and practically no graphics), you can still achieve a simple, good looking site that people will love. Actually people tend to prefer simpler sites in the long run - the ones they visit every day.

Bottom line - you'll need to learn CSS. And more importantly. IT'S NOT HARD.

Example of Javascript Code

Javascript

JavaScript is used in conjunction with HTML to access the Document Object Model (DOM) of the web page.

JavaScript runs locally on the user's computer and can respond quickly to the user (as opposed to scripts that run on the web server which would take longer to react). Examples of why you might use Javascript are :

  • change something when the user rolls his cursor over an image or a link - for example you might change the image or re-colour the link
  • validate some user input on a form
  • open a new window - a pop-up window.

Look. I'll admit it. Javascript is a little more difficult to master if you haven't come from a programming background. It is by no means impossible, but will take a little more effort.

The good news is you can actually use a lot of pre-written Javascript modules when you first start coding, so don't be alarmed by Javascript's apparent complexity. Try looking through this web site which provides a fantastic and easy introduction to using Javascript for certain functions to get your self on the right track.

The Document Object Model

The Document Object Model, or DOM, allows a web designer to programmatically manipulate the contents of a web page.

What do you mean I hear you say?

Well, if you are new to web design I don't blame you for wondering what on earth I am talking about.

All the individual parts of a web page are accessible via well defined routines (in say Javascript) so that you can make a web page dynamic. Events - i.e user actions are also accessible which means you can respond in real time to user actions.

So - if someone clicks a link on your page, you could (if you wanted to) decide to make a new paragraph of text appear, as if by magic next to the link.

Knowing about this sort of stuff, even if you don't strictly know how to do it, means you will be more aware of the possibilities available to you on your web pages.

DHTML

Next you'll need to learn about DHTML - known as Dynamic HTML. It's not another type of XHTML - it's the same XHTML we talked about earlier, but rather DHTML is concept of using all the following technologies together :

  • A scripting language - in our case Javascript
  • CSS
  • The document obect model (DOM)
  • XHTML

These components of DHTML have already been described so I'll just talk about what DHTML does for you.

Ok - are you ready?

DHTML allows you to programmatically access every part of your web page at run-time via the DOM and Javascript so that you can alter how the web page behaves as it is running. DHTML gives you the ability to create a more dynamic web page over just a static web page (i.e. one that you wrote using only XHTML.)

Now when I say dynamic, I don't mean images jumping about all over the place. Rather more that at some point, you might need to send an item of data from one place on the page to another at run-time.

However, just to show you the sort of thing DHTML can do and also to let you see something you should no longer think about doing to a web page -the link shows a subtle snow effect over a photo.

AJAX

AJAX is not yet another programmng language - it's a bit like DHTML (which uses the DOM, Javascript, XHTML and CSS together), in that it is the practice of using Javascript together with XML, but asynchronously. AJAX means Asynchronous Javascript and XML. Asynchonous means things can happen potentially, all at once.

Nowadays AJAX is used widely in Web 2.0 style web sites as it can, in most cases, significantly increase the user experience.

A simple example is shown in the link on the right : A random image is substituted by going to the web server, generating a random number which corresponds to an image, and then sending the image to the page. The page does not refresh. Cool uh? Look - don't despair - if you don't understand why this is cool. Yet!

How A PHP File Is Processed into XHTML

The process by which a PHP file is converted to XHTML
The process by which a PHP file is converted to XHTML

Server Side Scripting - e.g. PHP

You'll need to understand and use at least one server side scripting language. Examples of these are:

  • PHP
  • JSP
  • ASP or ASP.NET

to mention just a few. I use PHP as do many freelance web developers.Server side scripts allow your web pages to do a lot more than straightforward XHTML pages.

Basically, a server side scripting language is something that the webserver runs before building the XHTML web page, and may even generate XHTML on the fly. It is also used to access databases, so you can retrieve information about customers, products or users and once say a user is logged onto your web page, you can make the page personal and relevant to the them.

SEO Squirrel is Written With CodeIgniter

This web site is new and has been written using CodeIgniter v1.6.1
This web site is new and has been written using CodeIgniter v1.6.1

CodeIgniter Introduction Tutorial

PHP Framework

Although you don't need to use a PHP framework, (assuming you are using PHP as your scripting language), it can help to do so. I resisted for some time, but found that I was coding the same boring bits of web applications time and time again, so now use my PHP framework of choice which is CodeIgnitor.

CodeIgniter suits me because it is EASY. The advantages of CodeIgniter are many. The number one advantage being that it is utterly simple to install, both on your Windows development box AND on your Linux webserver. To install on both, I guarantee will take you a maximum of 1 minute per installation. Try that with symfony, Zend Framework CakePHP or any of the others.

CodeIgniter is small and fast and easy to use. Even if you have never heard of the MVC architectural pattern.

That said, if your web developer does not use a framework, no worries. It is just better usually for productivity if he/she does.

MySQL Example

An example of some PHP code accessing a MySQL database
An example of some PHP code accessing a MySQL database

Database Skills - e.g. MySQL

MySQL is a freely available relational database management system and is the best choice for the freelance web designer.

A database enables you to store information that you can retrieve at a later date and enables you to store :

  • specific items of data about customers
  • allows for customer login and password retrieval
  • personalisation of web pages
  • customer accounts and history of transations
  • product descriptions and pricing

The list is in fact, endless and is entirely dependent on how you want the database to enhance the functionality of your website.

You will need database design and maintenance skills in order to create well organised and extensible design. But, I want to say - it is another thing to learn, true - BUT - it really isn't that hard. I did a Computing Science University degree in the UK, and studied database design so I know it from the academic viewpoint and from having been a database consultant for years in the City of London banking environment. That was a challenging time - I mean I had to tune (like tuning an engine) databases with many millions of records.

You probably won't be dealing with more than a few thousand records in any database you create for your first or second web design project. So don't worry about it. It is a lot to learn, but if you want to, you can do it.

If you don't, then like I said earlier (or maybe in some other hub) - go see Ken Evoy.

Search Engine Optimization - Internet Marketing

There are four elements to internet marketing - the process by which you bring targetted traffic to your web site. Namely :

  1. on page search engine optimization - this is where you construct each page on your web site to be as appealing to search engines as it is to humans
  2. paid advertising - this might be pay per click advertising
  3. excellent website content- this means you can't just have a 5 or 10 page website (well you can initially, but you have to add a new page or three every week, or so until you have hundreds of pages on your web site). Excellent and copious content will attract incoming links
  4. off page optimization - this is where you use directories, social media sites, forums and others to bring in relevant traffic and add to your search engine density.

Build It And They Will Come . . . No They Won't!

Many people believe that all you have to do is build a pretty, web site with a cool design with about 5 pages and people will flock to it. They just don't get it. The site shown up above is one such site. Since creating this hub, the site has been taken down.

How cool is a site that looks good when it gets few visitors.

  • web design is not all about graphic design
  • web design is not secretarial (typing)
  • web design is not something a graphic designer can just turn his hand to
  • web design is a comprehension of, and ability to use a large number of internet technologies


Photoshop - Making It Look Good

All right - you don't need to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop in particular. There are lots of other image manipulation programs out there that cost a lot less. However, there are zillions of Photoshop tutorials for practically anything you'll ever want to do, so I tend to favour the use of this program.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not suggesting that by learning this program you will become a talented graphic designer - you may already be one, in which case good for you.

But if you are like me, you don't have any graphic design skills. Just make your mind up to learn a few simple tasks using this tool, and you'll be able to make professional, graphically enhanced websites without being artistic. 

Sister Snog Flash Website

An example of a full flash web site. www.sistersnog.com
An example of a full flash web site. www.sistersnog.com

Flash

You Can Avoid It If You Want To

Unless 100% Flash web sites are something in which you want to specialise, there is no need to dash out and buy a copy of Macromedia Flash right now.

Check Out Sister Snog

See the link on the right ->>>>

Like I said - what this site is about doesn't hit you straight away. I think that is the downside of slow reveal flash sites.  It is graphically beautiful BUT the information it contains is severely limited. This means people will not be flocking this this site in their thousands from the search engines. They won't be able to find it. The site owners probably don't value Google search engine listings and must have found a better way to make their site known. Maybe off-page, via Twitter and other social media, and/or by PPC. 

Try doing a site command in Google like : site:www.sistersnog.com. You can see there are very few listings. That's the sum total of what Google knows about the site. But interestingly, if you do this command instead : site:sistersnog.com (without the www), you'll find they've tried to address this by starting a blog in a subdomain of sistersnog. This looks like a new addition to the site, and should help a lot in bringing in visitors.

Flash Doesn't Work Well In Search Engines, True . . .

The reason is, that whilst a full-on Flash site can look wonderful and display safely in any size of screen, using any flash enabled browser, it generally has very little textual content. And what little content it has, (unless you take extra steps to duplicate the content in XHTML and employ a measure of cloaking), can't been seen by search engines. This situation is changing and a friend of mine called Fadi is an expert in making Flash sites visible to search engines. If this interests you, please contact him at solutions416.

. . .But Text Isn't What Flash Is All About Anyway

Flash is after all primarily a graphical tool, and text features low on the agenda of most fully Flashed web sites because if the designers wanted a lot of text, they would probably have used XHTML instead.

A Compromise

The answer to using Flash for most of us is not to build 100% full Flash sites, but rather to use Flash in key situations on a standard XHTML site, deploying it only where you need to make a visual presentation of the type that Flash does so well.

Used in this way, Flash is not the container, but rather one of many possible items in an XHTML container. Used this way, Flash has no impact on search engine visibility and you can use the rest of your site to communicate using text and images.

There are many low cost, Flash generation tools that you can use to create small Flash presentations. I really like 3DFA and use it for most of my Flash output.

On Page Search Engine Opimization

As you build your website, you'll need to keep in mind what your goal for building it is. Presumably you'll want visitors - a website with no interested visitors isn't really up to much is it?

It's Not Hard

There are a number of simple steps to take to optimize each page for search engines like Google. Other types of optimization nowadays take place off page (i.e. with the other things you do to create interest in your site that don't take place on your site), but you should not neglect the foundational importance of on-page optimization. It is part of what makes your site eligible for appearing on a first page position in Google for example.

Briefly, you'll need to create good quality title tags, description tags headings and content, that are on target for each page's topic. You'll need to make sure each image is properly tagged, (I saw a 'guru' on a YouTube video the other day actually say that alt tags on images are no longer important - like DUH!). Alt tags on images ARE important. But maybe you need to learn how best to write them for both your visitors and for Google.

Conclusion

There is a lot to learn if you decide to become a web designer, and more importantly as I hope I have emphasized, a lot your web designer needs to know before you hire him/her. I will add to this skills list over the next couple of days as I can think of quite a few more items to include.

Just Starting Out With A Business Web Site?

If you are just starting out with a new business and need a website, you can of course hire a web designer to do everything for you, but do consider

  • finding the right web designer with the types of skills I have talked about
  • maintaining the site yourself without resorting to tools that turn the process into some sort of WYSIWYG-fest. If you hide behind point-and-click tools you will never understand what is going on and never know how to apply subtle but important code changes to site. You only have to spend some time in Site Build It forums to see that much.
  • I don't believe you can really be serious about making your living online unless you have a big starting budget and can afford to hire people to work (and think) on your behalf, or if you already know everything you need to know and can therefore competently outsource.
  • well, this hub is over 3 years old now, and a lot of stuff has happened since I wrote it. One of the things we have done is to stop doing so much web design work and now we create more products. We are building a new product that will create sites -WordPress sites - professionally for you at a low price, including all aspects of what we believe makes a good website. It won't stop you having to learn, but it will prevent you getting stuck on the way as your site will be technically correct and good looking from day 1. If you would like to be on the mailing list to be notified when the first version of this product is ready, please visit the contact page here : and let me know you are interested.

Think About Maintaining Your Website Yourself

So by all means pay someone to start the site for you - you know set up the basic template and the first few pages, but thereafter you or someone in your organisation needs to be in control. I believe your web site is too important to entirely outsource its development.

If you can find someone competent to start you off (and I don't mean someone who can only do beautiful drawings, I mean a technical web designer who knows how to use a template to make up for their graphics shortcomings) who can do everything functionally you could ever dream of with a web site, and ask that person to answer your questions when you get stuck, you could think about handling the update and maintenance of the site yourself.

You'll be amazed at how your confidence will grow and the upside is that when you do really need help, you'll be in a strong position to figure out who can help, how much it should cost and you'll be pyschologically prepared to learn from the experience.

Please don't forget to contact me here if you want to be one of the first to use our new low cost WordPress site builder product.

Liz

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Comments 201 comments

Paul Castledine, Cornwall. 4 years ago

I'm a Graphic Designer venturing into Web Design...there's so much more to learn and very little resources, such as yours, that tells you everything you NEED to know on one page. I found your article extremly useful, at least now I know where to begin. So thank you Liz.


Shahab 4 years ago

Hi

I study programming 10 years ago, I would like to learn php MySQL, java, joomla, etc. to design a website like www.goodbuy-online.ru or www.yoybuy.com.

I was looking for sources like from lynda.com or many other sites, I have learnt some but not realty good enough. I think an online teacher may be able to help, so I learn step by step, and do projects and solve my problems and get answers to my questions.

I can use PayPal to pay you. Or western union, let me know your price per course, based on what I have explained above.

Landishouma.m1@gmail.com

Thanks.

Shahab


Bldg an Architect profile image

Bldg an Architect 4 years ago

This is a big help. I'm just starting to learn about web design. Thanks!


kl2000 profile image

kl2000 4 years ago

Very detailed article. Wait you forgot something - no sleep and lots of coffee! (:


vishal 4 years ago

Thanku very much for such a nice nd informative page, i was desperately lukin for such a thing !!

:)


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 4 years ago from Devon, UK Author

@monkeymason - the ideas in this hub still hold true, but since I wrote it I moved to specialising in WordPress. The reason is that it can be a faster solution to the end product. I still think you need to know what you are doing though - I spend a lot of time each week helping people who use WordPress but don't ever learn enough basic HTML - so they get stuck and confused and their sites tank. In your case - take the ideas presented here, and use WordPress to build your comparison site. You can get a plugin to help you - there are a few to choose from : but you could try looking at this : http://www.devonwebdesigners.com/comparisonsite


MonkeyMason 4 years ago

hiya liz am mason and im wanting to start a comparison website and since your the most knowledgeable person ive found on the subject i would apreciate it if you would set me off in the right direction please


MonkeyMason 4 years ago

hiya liz my names mason im just wondering if you new what skills are required to create a comparison website is it something you havnt mentioned or is it a mixture of a few and thanks for creating this hub its got me off to a good start


iain-mars profile image

iain-mars 4 years ago from United Kingdom

I bought a few books on HTML, PHP and MySQL and would highly recommend anyone thinking of setting themselves up as a web designer to get books covering these subjects as the first thing to do.


sprasanna 5 years ago

Hi, Its really good article. I am using HTML, CSS and good in Photoshop for web related designs. And I wanna develop additional skills like PHP, JSP, ASP, mySQL, XML, XHTML, DHTML and Javascript. And your article gave me good inspiration to learn. Thanks Stormy.


kiranmai reddy 5 years ago

Nice article.Thanks a lot.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

@Charles - You should learn HTML and buy a book on HTML5, and add this to your base knowledge of HTML. Use HTML5 where you can, where you understand it is will be seen, and understood by various browsers, and provide a fallback for things that don't yet work in HTML5 in all browsers that you are interested in.


mr-burns profile image

mr-burns 5 years ago

Very detailed hub. Thanks for the tips


Mahender Singh 5 years ago

Good Article


Charles 5 years ago

Hi!

I am just getting into web design and this site is a big help and great site! I am curious, where does HTML5 fit into this list? Does it belong at the beginning at HTML and CSS? Does it belong with DHTML? Should I learn HTML, *then* HTML5, or just HTML5?

Thanks in advance!


pradeep 5 years ago

thanks...this is the best way of understanding....thank u so much


allen 5 years ago

good work you have done for new upcomimg web desingers like me; thanks for all it.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Zohaib - you can write software, you understand object oriented design. You are in a good position to make the transfer to small business web development if you wish. Not sure what you mean by "make an opensource website". If you want to make a website for yourself, you have to decide what the website is for. Once you decide that, if you want to, please come back here and I can help you further.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Dimitri - no JAVA is not an essential skill for a web designer, although it is a language used by some developers when building server side programs that in turn, communicate with client side websites. My husband used to program in JAVA when he worked in banking - some banks use it a lot. Barclays did, where he worked.

It is more usual for independent web designers and developers to focus on PHP, but if you prefer to learn or to use JAVA, that's fine. However a lot of freelance work is around PHP. It just depends what you want to do and the market you want to address. JAVA is probably a little more corporate than small business.


Zohaib 5 years ago

Hello..i am basically a Telecom Engineer but i have very good skills os C/C++, but i am very much confused that how can i use these skills to make an opensource website and how should i proceed ? i am doing a job in Telecom but my interest is in coding so i want to do it at my own.can you please help me that frm where should i start ? Please note that i have good skills of c/c++ and i have only done the coding in mircosoft visual studio c++...


Dimitri 5 years ago

Hi, very nice post! I was wondering if JAVA is also an essential skill for web developer / web designer? Thank you Dimitri


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Thanks for your comment. I would agree with you on some level - but also feel you are being too pedantic given the context. For most people, if they successfully write any markup language well, they will be to all intents and purposes, producing code. They are producing coded notations. I might not call it programming but it is coding. I blame Bill Gates. Until he came along, only those of us that did this for a living knew anything about computers. Now even pets and inanimate objects have Facebook pages.

XML does get transformed by XSLT ... and a site visitor via links and visual enticements placed on a page does have their progress variously altered. Looking at your definition - I am just pointing out that you can influence a user's path through a site with only XHTML. It does not always have to be because it was dynamically presented (by programming), but that is it cleverly presented.

Thank you for your input to this page.

Liz


Jeremy 5 years ago

I would like to just correct one thing I have noticed (sorry for being far too particular), but XHTML or HTML for that matter even XML is not coding.

Coding is not static (X)HTML, coding is when you allow a user to go through a path of logic of a site changing it's appearance based on their actions.

In no way does XHTML or HTML or even XML allow for you to change content of a page based on a users actions, that's up for coding, it's markup which is 100% a different thing


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Don't say I don't try to please.


hotwebideas profile image

hotwebideas 5 years ago from New York

Thanks for the follow on Twitter. I could always use a follow from you on Hubpages as well. hint hint ;)


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Thanks - very much appreciated. I will start a new hub but we are in the midst of making products nowadays and time is short. I'll have to start following you on Twitter. Which reminds me, I must put more effort into Twitter . . .


hotwebideas profile image

hotwebideas 5 years ago from New York

stormyweather, the fact that Thek1ngsway thought you plagiarized was his problem, not yours. I think you did a great job on this hub and you are teaching a lot of new web designers the field with your hub, so congratulations to you on that as well.

I have written some popular hubs about the web design business itself and have developed over 300 websites with the technologies you list above, so as someone who has been doing this for 15 years, I encourage to keep going with this hub and to keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing more great hubs from you.

Bruce


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Yes Bruce - maybe I was a bit harsh with Mr Web Developer up there. He is only doing what he has to do!

I did approve his comment. I was actually a bit annoyed at the time by another hubber who left a stupid comment here (which I marked as spam and deleted). I won't give him a link, but his hub name is Thek1ngsway. He wrote that hubpages were wrong to publish my hub and to let it get such a good score. Because according to Thek1ngsway he had read this hub elsewhere online and therefore condemned my original work as a cut and paste job. What a nerve! Makes me wonder about the originality of his content.


hotwebideas profile image

hotwebideas 5 years ago from New York

Hey stormyweather, good points about the spam, but I always end my comments with "Bruce". LOL

Anyway, regardless of updates, I think the technologies that you wrote about still stand today. I wrote some hubs on HTML 5, CSS 3, and jQuery that you are welcome to checkout.

I think a lot of DHTML and AJAX are being handled by most web designers simply with jQuery.

I do like your information about search engine optimization.

Keep up the good work! Great hub. Voted up!


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Hey Web Developer - I think you are right, it does need an update. But you know what? People just use hubpages (as you have) to generate anchor text relevant backlinks off my hub. So not sure it's worth an update just so it can be spammed out of existence. I mean you are not actually called Web Developer are you? That's not your name. You're not the only one though - everyone is at it here.


website designing and development 5 years ago

I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me,

and I am completely satisfied with your website.

All comments and articles are very useful and very good.

website designing and development


Web Developer 5 years ago

Hi thank you for a great hub. Good information for both PC and Mac users. I think it needs an update though, plenty new technology out now.


Vernon Web Design 5 years ago

Great hub and very complete. There will always be new technologies, but If you get a decent grasp of what stormweather has said here... yo're well on your way to becoming an efficient web developer/designer.

Thanks Stormweather!


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Blender - I did intend to keep it updated but the sheer amount of tech you need nowadays is overwhelming. And your point about still needing what is listed here is true. I have since moved onto using mostly WordPress and I may do another hub about my take on that.


blender profile image

blender 5 years ago from Vancouver, BC

I can't believe how much information you have included here, great hub! I am curious - have you been updating this page over the years to keep it current? It seems a little dated on the one hand, but at the same time all the technologies it mentions I am still using...


hotwebideas profile image

hotwebideas 5 years ago from New York

Hey Liz, great hub. I just got into CodeIgniter and wrote 2 hubs on MVC including one on creating your own MVC system.

Bruce


greencap profile image

greencap 5 years ago from Pakistan

Great hub, its "web design all in one" sort of thing. A starter like me thinks it should be all too easy, but unfortunately, its not.

Start learning from HTML and CSS (which i found extremely difficult to master with the casual approach). Javascript and Php are easy if you have good programming background. Graphics, AJAX, Flash and ............, its really a long list.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Jason - I am still learning, but there comes a point when you are good enough to get paid and do work for others, or use your skills to create your own sites to make income. In the latter case you'll be good enough to start something for yourself within a week. But I'd leave off charging other people for your work until you are pretty competent.


Jason 5 years ago

Hi,

Great educational information first of all. Absolutely loving it.

As I am learning some of these programs myself right now, I have a question: how long did it take you to master all these skills and software? What order did you learn them in?

Cheers,

Jason Li


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 5 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Coldfusion isn't something I've ever used. Maybe when you've learned it you can write hubpage about it!


5 years ago

Hi! This is a great hub post! Thanks for making it crystal clear and making some sense of the chaos.

In the last three weeks, I have done this:

1. Learnt Sony vegas 9 from youtube posted tutorials

2. Learnt Dreamweaver CS3 and coldfusion through essentials and advanced video tutorials from total training.com

3. Learnt Flash CS3 through essentials course from total training. com

4. Learning object oriented programming basics before diving into PHP and Javascript.

I downloaded trial software from Adobe and Sony sites. And those total trianign videos - I got them free because my local library has licensed those videos. I found those 8 hour hands on videos to be more informative and productive than books or class room sessions. I could stop, explore, navigate and follow along watching those videos.

Of course the next steps is to do photoshop, fireworks, mySQL, PHP,coldfusion and more hands on of everything I have learnt so far. I am also chalking out ideas about the websites I want to build and in parallel will start desining at least one. And I want to spend more time designing than building initially.

Meanwhile, does COLDFUSION stand strong along with PHP,ASP etc? How would you rate COLDFUSION?

I have learnt so much in the last three weeks. Web Design and Programming is a great field for me as I love constant learning and uninterrupted. i.e I don't have to go to class, wait for others to understand, pay crazy fees for lab work etc etc. I can sip my OJ at home at my desk and learn away!

Thanks much and I will follow your blog more often now.


Erkan 5 years ago

Perfect post, great information... Thanks a lot Liz. What about using APIs or developing APIs for our web site? Can you give some information also for that? Thanks.


rogermac profile image

rogermac 5 years ago from Cascais - Portugal

What great information you have here. Well done!


Spider Girl profile image

Spider Girl 5 years ago from the Web

Great hub actually, I'm a web designer myself and appreciate your effort putting all the skills you need in a single article, very helpful for a newbie!


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 6 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Ram - it depends where in the world you live and it depends on whether you decide to go it alone or join a web design /development company. It will also depend on your skill level. I think that so many people want to be web designers now that the market is very crowded. The best use of your skills is to use them to make your won sites to generate your income. So yes - you are a webs designer, but you are doing it for yourself. Not for other people.


ram 6 years ago

I think it is very useful for me. may i know about salary for web designers


Courtney Brazley profile image

Courtney Brazley 6 years ago

great information.i too wish i had found this article when i first got started, it would've save me some headaches.

but the greatest teacher is experience and once you get started building websites, you will naturally break into learning, at least the basics of, css and java. you simply have to in order to move forward and grow.


magnexor profile image

magnexor 6 years ago

This is a great article. I wish I had come across it when I first began web-design. I can't stress enough how much knowing CSS changes the web-design process! Glad you covered it, thanks for this article!


web design 6 years ago

Do we really want most of the Web to look practically the same? I’m really getting worried about the popularity of Web 2.0 trends in Web&Graphic Design. It’s getting harder and harder to find a truly unique, originally designed website/logo nowadays. I wish Web 3.0 will bring some distinctiveness to the modern design.


sligobay profile image

sligobay 6 years ago from east of the equator

Back again and still appreciate your article. Cheers.


NNazir profile image

NNazir 6 years ago from Pakistan

In my opinion every pro designer needs to have grip or least have some hand on

- xHTML and CSS

- Client-side scripting (Javascript)

- Server-side scripting (ASP.Net or PHP)

- Database (MySQL)

- SEO


Ironmongery 6 years ago

Thanks for taking the time to share this information. It has proved to be very useful.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 6 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Hey crabsssssssss - so read other hubs instead. We didn't force you to read this one!


crabssss. 6 years ago

geeks. (:


isyan profile image

isyan 6 years ago

wow.. that is one huge hub.. its very useful for us web designers.. thanks for this informative hub..


UKLinkBuilding profile image

UKLinkBuilding 6 years ago from Manchester, UK

Found this hub page really helpful! Thanks very much for taking the time to make it!


prashant jain 6 years ago

m really thankfull to U..........


Mahaveer Singh 6 years ago

Wowwwwwwwwwwwww


Oliver 6 years ago

Great beginners guide. Ignator looks pretty good. Check out http://www.mediahut.co.za for some free tips as well. Anyone know of any other tips sites?


MrMike 6 years ago

Thanks Stormy! Great read. I agree with you about hand coding. Have you checked out http://www.sohtanaka.com I like his blog and his work. Learned CSS there and W3. I'm working on Jquery stuff now. I have a hard time with Javascript...I'm solid with vbs for administrative and vb.net compiled programs but javascript gives me headaches the syntax seems so weird...but I keep plugging away at it. Anyway, I haven't tried php yet have focused on asp.net and MS offers Visual Studio express web dev, which is great for learning. It switches between WYSWYG and code readily, which I use to set the page up how I want and then I look at the code and learn how to tweak it. It has auto complete, which allowed me to start coding with minimal knowledge and as time has gone on, much code has become 2nd nature to me. Love it! for those interested in asp.net anyway...don't know if something that helpful exists for php...if so, let me know. Do you have a good reference for Jquery? the site and tutorials are helpful but require lots of searching...looking for a guide of sorts.


ewebclone 6 years ago

Thank you! I totally agree with that w3schools is a great place to start a web development.


harrist profile image

harrist 6 years ago from on the Net

very nice info thanks for sharing


Dain 6 years ago

That was a very nice article to read thank you =D


adorababy profile image

adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

Being an effective web designer requires developing a number of different skills. Not all of these skills are limited to the technical and artistic aspects of web design. Communicating with clients, project management, and promotion are all important as well.


justinjools 6 years ago

I think you need to add python and django to your list of Server Side Scripting languages. Python is easier to learn for any beginner annd much more readable, it is also much faster building database driven sites in Django, and it is a better technology than PHP. Since discovering Python/Django I would not go back to the headaches trying to decipher PHP as a database building tool, although I still need to hack some PHP scripts when using CMS or e-commerce systems I would never choose it as a development too1 again.

p.s.

also a section on CMS, Blog and e-commerce systems.


Web Design Hamilton 6 years ago

Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Modx CMS... that's everything I use.

I want to buy Swish for flash.


ekoy 6 years ago

WOW! very informative. i guess i have too much to learn first.. :(


Neil Ashworth profile image

Neil Ashworth 6 years ago from United Kingdom

Very good article. You write well and provide some valuable information..


whostingreview profile image

whostingreview 6 years ago from Kansas City, MO

Really good hub Stormy,

You also need a plan that you can stick to if you are freelancing. I know for a fact that there can be days that you don't feel like working, but you need to develop a pattern and STICK to it.

Also, it is very important to network in order to get more and more clients ;)


Kelvin Loney 6 years ago

Hi Stormy,

First off let me thank you for putting up such valuable information. It is greatly appreciated! Secondly, I have about 3 questions that I wanted to ask you. Yes I know it’s a lot but please bear with me! If you can answer all 3 for me I will be most grateful!

My first question is: I have an A.S. degree in Web Development and unfortunately my school didn’t teach me the finer things like XHTML, CSS and JavaScript, so of course my current skills are way out-of-date. I have taken the W3Schools tutorials and I was planning on buying the HTML, XHTML and CSS for Dummies book to upgrade my knowledge and skill set. I was wondering, is that the right book to start off with and secondly, is there anything else that you would recommend that I do?

My second question is: Once I’m able to get an understanding of the current trends in web design I of course want to design a website that displays my abilities. The thing is that I don’t want to do a “portfolio”. Honestly, in my opinion, I feel that a portfolio is amateurish and unprofessional. I want to do a legitimate, professional website that will show employers that I’m able to create something that they can actually use. As it stands I have no idea what kind of site I want to design. Do you have any ideas that you can give me?

And my last question is: To be perfectly honest, the only reason why I took up web design in college is because I liked the fact that I could be creative. I never really liked to code. Maybe that’s why I gravitated towards Macromedia Flash! So as you can probably tell I am most definitely a creative person and not an analytical, logical person. Being that, I have a difficult time learning or even finding an interest in coding. But also, I’m torn because I feel that in order to be a good web designer coding is something that I just can’t avoid. That is why I thought about getting my B.A. in Graphic Design. Funny thing, I always thought that I should build upon the web design degree that I already have, but the way I figure it, with a graphic design degree I can still be creative without having to code and not only that an employer would see that I have a web AND graphic design degree on my resume and think that I was well-rounded. So Stormy what do you think about this decision and is it a good career move?

Thanks in advance for your help!

p.s. If you can’t reach me on your hub, kindly send your response to shomeluv0231@yahoo.com. Thanks!


Neil Ashworth profile image

Neil Ashworth 6 years ago from United Kingdom

Great info! I have bookmarked this hub for further reading..


Sean 6 years ago

very useful web design content thank you. I will share this to clients


wvector 6 years ago

Great tips thank you.


wayne 6 years ago

Hi Stormy great Hub! Much needed reference to all website designer.. Thanks for the share :)


Upasna 6 years ago

from where should i do web-designing course?

and is it fruitfull to pursue d carrer as a web-desginer?


Thunderthud profile image

Thunderthud 6 years ago from Ohio and Taiwan

Very informative hub. I plan to use it as a reference resource.


kulandaivelan 6 years ago

thanks to u i really got so much of idea from this.


Graphic Design Manchester 6 years ago

Very well written and informative.


web design lebanon 6 years ago

Great post. It will help to master a CMS and blogging platforms.


mikeWagner098 6 years ago

This is a well organized, thorough hub that I found very useful. Thank you for sharing!

Mike

http://www.poweryourmarketing.com


eko 6 years ago

hi,

this is so inspiring. getting a fast PC is a great. i used to upgrade my laptop memory to maximum value, ie: 2x2GB.

anyway, choosing the right web layout design is a bit confusing for me. some says adobe photoshop is good, while others say adobe fireworks is better. so what do you think? what's your favorite software to make web mockup? thank you.


Gordon Kennedy 6 years ago

Search engine optimisation is not very useful for small local businesses. When you start as a freelancer - this is the sort of busniess that you will be working for. The reason is that you can get thousands of hits per month- but if the surfers live more than, say, 20 miles from the business then few will result in sales.

Rather than optimise these websites to the nth degree then help small local businesses to do some simple things :

- make sure the business has a simple, memorable URL which

has the business name e.g. www.bacirestaurant.co.uk

- register with Google Local

- have a large sign with the URL shown prominently

- get business cards printed with the URL and give them

to each customer

- use tillrolls with the URL printed prominently

- give customers freebies with the URL written on

them (chocolates, mints etc.)

- leaflet local houses and show the URL prominently on

the leaflets


Jason Stokes 6 years ago

Nice article. I haven't tried code ignator before but from what I see in the video it looks pretty good.

Jason

Plecco Technologies, Inc.

A Charleston Web Design Company


anita williams 7 years ago

thanks Stormy for providing an inspirational and comprehensive content. It has great information. Anita


blackstonepublish 7 years ago

Hey, nice hub. Was looking for some well written web design hubs and yours are all extremely informational.


tonyhubb profile image

tonyhubb 7 years ago

Great Hub! Thanks for the info and for the tips! I really learned a lot reading your hubs.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 7 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Thank you Jeff - if you've any questions please ask - I'll do my best to provide good accurate answers. Stormy


jeff yee 7 years ago

Thank you for explaining the different types of skills that a web designer should know in a comprehensible way. David Childress in the about.com forum referred me to your hub. For someone trying to enter the field, you provided some crucial info that I needed to know. You rock Stormy!

Jeff


jonty 7 years ago

this is really a wonderful hub....

very informative .... very nicely explained ....

keep the good work up .... god bless you .....


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 7 years ago from Devon, UK Author

David - Sounds like you're really learning a whole bunch of interesting stuff. I wish you all the good luck in the world, you deserve it. Please come back and show us some of your sites when you're ready.

Stormy


DavidChildress 7 years ago

Great site for someone like me who is just starting out and is attempting to learn this on my own.

I am using 3 of the textbooks that Stormy has recommended... Each has their own specific strengths.

Ian Lloyd's, "Learn to Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML & CSS" is the perfect text for someone totally new... He could have tried to cram in a lot more in 424 pages but it WOULD HAVE COME AT THE EXPENSE of "clarity".

The Sitepoint book matrix states that Ian Lloyd's book will take you through "beginner" status and prepare you for an Intermediate-level textbook... I agree.

Jennifer Kyrnin of about.com(New York Times)HTML/XHTML forum is now incorporating Lloyd's text into her free beginner's class.

Stormy is one of the FEW PEOPLE that I have seen that recommends Patrick Carey's "New Perspectives on HTML, XHTML & CSS".

The author has just published the same text with a 4-chapter suffix on DHTML drawn from his new standalone DHTML book.

The strength of this text is once again "clarity/understanding" BUT IT IS ALSO chock full of projects that the student must work through... the later projects in each chapter and in the text require the student to take more responsibility for page creation AS OPPOSED TO relying on the student data files.

Chapter 7(Multimedia) in this book has presented problems for me which I'll try try to tackle later on at another point in my studies... The rub here is that the experts in 3 forums have not even attempted to take a crack at them also... The Student Data Files for the Chapter 7 tutorial are incomplete when accessed from the primary course.com site... Go to the coursedirect.com mirror site to get the COMPLETE offering of Student Data Files for Chapter 7.

The New Perspectives text is a MUST PURCHASE book... If I had to buy only two texts it would be those listed above.

I also like the Elizabeth Castro, "Visual Quickstart Guide to HTML, XHTML & CSS".... It is a PERFECT REFERENCE companion to the other two texts as one gets bite-sized chunks of explanatory tasks COUPLED with visual screenshots... I'd recommend reading the screenshots and captions first and then look at the associated text... This book is EXTENSIVELY cross-referenced and for total beginners, it is a must that you follow the cross referencing when Castro employs it.... You'll have to go through this book a couple of times (maybe even three times)to get the benefit of what is crammed in here.

When I go through and complete each SPECIFIC TASK contained in the chapters in the Lloyd and Carey texts mentioned above, I then look through to see what Castro has posted on that same SPECIFIC TASK in her book.

This is the way I hope to learn HTML & CSS...

Again, thanks to Stormy for providing a roadmap for further study beyond the Intro texts, I'm currently using....

When I attempt to tackle the problematic aspects of Chapter 7 in the Carey text once more, I'll let you all know how things proceed.


Nikita Adnani profile image

Nikita Adnani 7 years ago from Melbourne

This Hub explains perfectly why it is important to hire a professional web designer! What a wealth of information -- especially when you consider SEO and strong copywriting on top of it. Excellent job explaining everything in understandable terms. Amazing!


Vietnam 7 years ago

Very good info, thanks


BM Solutions profile image

BM Solutions 7 years ago from England

Excellent hub.

plenty of good information there for any up and coming web designer.


Yasas Perera 7 years ago

Well..First of all pardon me for my poor english.I was well known as a freelance flash designer several months ago and trust me..I didn't know anything about scripting side except action scripting..However I wanted to go beyond my design skills.After that I spent more and more time in W3Schools to learn web developing skills.Somehow I managed to learn xhtmland xml sides.I always had this intention of using my design skills to design mockups and convert them into html.I'm still on my way to success. :) All this time I didn't stop my flash designing as I had to keep my position.had to keep it steady.

I really like your point of view Liz.We can't limit our skills under one big roof.This space around us is only getting bigger and bigger.So we have to work harder to gain something.I have this dream ever since my childhood until now to become a top graphic designer.(smiles) Now I need to learn browser scripting and server scripting sides.

Again I say..This hub will make a big difference in the reader's mind.I mean in a good way..You're thinking on both sides and that's the most unique part. :) i think you should start writing a book Liz.Trust me..there will be a crowd of millions.

But I feel bad about one thing...I had to find this article 15 months ago.I feel so jealous of Raven King by now.keep up your good work storm!


water cooled pcs 7 years ago

What a great collection of all the main website design skills and we found this very usefu, thanks


Jeevan4u 7 years ago

very informative, thanks a lot for this web resource


reed 7 years ago

thanks for clearing up what AJAX was, I constantly heard things like "it's made with AJAX" and I was always overwhelmed that i had to learn this whole new programming language... i guess i filled all of those criteria except javascript. thanks for the links.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 7 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Hi Muhammad

Can a coder become a web designer? Well I think so. If you are not artistic and have not been trained as a designer, you probably won't ever be able to make web designs that take people's breath away. You know the ones I mean. But, you *will* be able to create professional, clean communicative and effective designs using a few tips and tricks. After all, we want our site visitors to keep breathing and convert into customers. Some of the most successful sites online are very simply designed. Study those sites and copy their design layouts using your own graphics. It is a good way to learn.

Don't ever forget - the design has to be professional - it has to look like it was put together properly, but mostly it has to work for the business comissioning the site. Many people want their sites to look like works of art and forget this has nothing to do with the site's ability to deliver sales, enquiries or whatever it is that the site is there for.

There will always be those real designers who will say "no way - you can't do it", but don't listen. They shouldn't worry about coders who design. Graphic designers have a market for their skills that no-one will take away - they have nothing to fear. After all, we don't lose sleep over designers that code, do we? :-)


Muhammad Babsail 7 years ago

great post!

im a web programmer, i never do web design by myself.

is that possible for a "coder" to become a web designer too?

thx..


getanswers 7 years ago

use gimp instead of photoshop.. gimp is free..

also if you use content managem,ent systems.. it will lower development time


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 7 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Vipul, Kelly. You can teach yourself so much by researching free content on the internet. The thing that a formal education in all things programming teaches you (at the end of the day) is a healthy respect for detail and adherence to good (programming) design details. For example, a well designed system will always take changes to that design easily. In fact new additions to well designed systems always feel as if the new addition was already planned. A natural slot for enhancements will appear as if by magic.

Badly designed systems will always end up as botch jobs. Inefficient, unintuitive and clumsy.

How do you teach that? I don't know right now. It's about respect for the system, no matter how simple. 

Web page design is about looking nice, being easy to use AND being well organised and programmed. It would be great if we could strive to do all of the above all of the time.


Kelly 7 years ago

This website is great! I'm only in high school, but I'm thinking about pursuing a career in web page design, and as of right now I know very little about it. This summer I'm going to try to teach myself more and I think this website will really help me!


Vipul Patel 7 years ago

Hello LizzyStormyweatherI am Vipul from india ,Yesterday I just surfing on Google "What skills are required for Web Designers?" and it's god grace I found your blog, this is first time happened I found the information up to the mark, whoever don't know about Website Design he / she can understand what is that by reading your blog, Matter of blog in simple understaning language, I pray to god who bless you lots and you do such nice work for needy pepole.ThanksVipul PatelIndia


issues veritas 7 years ago

SW

I thought that I had already left a comment on this hub.

I don't see it, so I guess not.

Good hub


LebSeoDesign 7 years ago

it's a beautifulllllll hub..great list and frankly its a bookmark page:D

W.D.

http://www.lebseodesign.com


issues veritas 7 years ago

Great hub Stormy

I agree with your comment "Unfortunately there are a lot of employers who use degrees to eliminate job candidates. Like if you don't have one, your CV goes in the bin. But excellence in your chosen field is just as valuable as is self-belief. If you can't get a degree now, don't worry yourself about it. Start building a fabulous website that describes your experience and your skills, and demonstrates your new skills. Add a blog to it describing your learning activities. Then link to the whole lot from your CV. You'll get a job.".

When judging a website, the credentials of the web designer are not the issue, it is the end result that is important. To me web design is more like a work of art and that means it is subjective. People will like it, dislike it, ignore it, not understand, completely understand it, raulti it and adore it. Basically all of the reactions to a work of art.

Like the one page resume (CV) rule cast upon us by the unknown Gurus, one size doesn't work for all. It is the story that is being conveyed to the reader or viewer that is important.

We have come a long way from the computer screens that had black print on a white screen. That was more like a piece of typewriter paper. Today we have a dynamic color version of a magazine to replace it.

A similar transition has been made in television. Created in black and white and now progressing to full colors in high definition. This also happened in camera development.

There are merits in pure classical black and white media but that is a niche in the world of graphical depiction. Color to me is an additional dimension to art but it can be abused and made garrish or unappealing.

CSS, and the ?htmls along with the other programs like AJAX etc are tools that enable us to more easily show our creativity in web design. These are only tools, creativity is an important accessory that comes from the designer using those tools.

My comparison to art only matches the creativity aspect of web design, there must also be a utility side. The art draws the people to the website but the utility of the website keeps them coming back.

A sweeping general statement on my part that is probably riddled with execptions. I think that exceptions are always involved where humans are involved in the process.

You may free feel to delete my comments, if they are not within the bounds of your hub.


SEO Resources profile image

SEO Resources 7 years ago

HTML clipboardI have to say... this is a great hub. We have had a hard time coding one of our pages and found the w3 valuator. It helped validate my html code.


artfuldodger profile image

artfuldodger 7 years ago from Earth

Great Hub. Must get some pretty solid traffic. This will definitely help me out big time. Keep up the good work!


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 7 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Web Spider - for goodness' sakes, of course you can promote yourself here. You are genuinely appreciative of my efforts on this hub, and I your comments. So what is your domain, huh?

I don't know anything about MACs, nor their software. One day soon I will buy one, but for the moment I am concentrated on my course building efforts and these will all be done on a PC.I must find out more about the other environment - you are right.


web_spider profile image

web_spider 7 years ago

This hub is great. Have you ever used Coda for web development on a MAC? It's like Dreamweaver but alot more streamlined. For beginners especially, it's good to simplify things in order to get a deeper understanding of the design/development process.

I'm not going to "promote" by giving URL, but if interested search it on the web.

It's saved me a lot of time

Thank you for this hub.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 7 years ago from Devon, UK Author

CJRibeiro - Goog luck with your web development future. Yes - the more you do, the more you'll find there is to learn. It is actually never ending. But I guess that is part of the fun?

Reynolds_Writing - Thanks. Please come back here and tell us how you get on with your course. Hope you find it very rewarding. Stormy.


Reynolds_Writing profile image

Reynolds_Writing 7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Very detailed, well written hubl I am considering taking some web design classes and this was very helpful.


CjRibeiro 7 years ago

Thank u for this great guide, Stormy. I just got my Associates degree in Web Technologie major, and i was not sure if I should become a web designer or web Developer. But now I made my mind. I dont have design skills, so I decided to be a web developer. That is how i got a passion to build web site, when I studied HTML two years ago, and found it not that hard to learn. Thats why I think that is the right way for me. A friend of mine and I just started to create a web site for my church (SDA) with a joomla's template, but we still have a lot to do. But I guess that is just how you start.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 7 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Hi Jack. Yes, you can. But this article is not aimed at casual website builders but for people wanting to get paid to write sites for others.

I use the word 'casual' not because of the products you mentioned, but because you used the word 'just'.  

Neither Wordpress nor Joomla are simple tools, and used to their fullest, the results will benefit from many of the skills listed here.

 


Jack 7 years ago

Couldn't you just design a website with jooma of Wordpress?


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 7 years ago from Devon, UK Author

That's a very good start and certainly it is all you really need as I think I have said in this article. That said, you need some skills on the server itself and so will have to know a little about configuring the Apache and PHP engines. Although if you have a good web host, with support you can get a lot of those things done for you.

Another consideration for the lone web designer is the manipulation of graphics. So a proficiency in Photoshop and an ability to use some Flash tools (not necessarily those by Adobe (previously Macromedia)) is recommended. You will need to know where to source quality graphics and how to change them to suit your needs.

One more thing to consider is the type of PHP you wnt to write. It can be beneficial to use a PHP framework. I have looked around and as suggested in this article use CodeIgniter. I found it the easiest to learn - and I am still learning it.


George Hill 7 years ago

Thanks a lot for your previous answer. Is it really necessary to learn other coding besides Html/Xtml, CSS, Javasript, Php, and Mysql. I have been told that they are really the only ones that you need to learn.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 7 years ago from Devon, UK Author

It does depend on how you wrote your website. Normally the way to address this multiple page update problem, is to "include" the common code in each page, by creating it once in a separate file.

The technique is called "server side includes" and you'll need to use a server side language to make it happen.

That way - you would write your menu once, and using some server side code - either ASP or PHP (I use PHP as this is what is available on my webserver), you 'include' the common code. When your menu changes, you simply then, update the single file containing the menu code, and instantly all pages are updated.

There are lots of places on the web where this is described in detail. Look at this page for an in-depth discussion. http://www.boutell.com/newfaq/creating/include.htm...

I will be launching my webmastery course in February and will be addressing this, and other issues in that, in full.

Liz


George Hill 7 years ago

I constantly update my site. This means that i have to change the menu on every page whenever i add a new page. Is there any way to avoid this?


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 7 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Hi Bob - 13 years old? You should tell us where your site is. Well done. The internet is a great leveller.


Bob 7 years ago

Thanks for the advice. I have just learned html and css. It actually pretty easy. I'm 13 and i already have a decent looking website on the internet. W3schools is very helpful also.

thanks


Ray Johnson 8 years ago

Hi Stormy,

Its a great hub. You did a great job by posting such an informative hub. I could redesigned my website with such valuable information. Certainly, the knowledge of Vector graphics and programming languages, you mentioned in the hub is really important in web designing. W3school plays an important role in this regard. Please keep me updated with any new information if you have. Thanks for nice hub.


jdh351 profile image

jdh351 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

Great guide. I am just starting out. I would say that knowing illustrator would be helpful because of the knowledge of vector graphics and the ability to create your own logos, icons, and resizeable graphics.


mozakdesign profile image

mozakdesign 8 years ago from portland oregon

Thanks for the comprehensive guide!

Jocelyn Mozak

Mozak Design www.mozakdesign.com


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Thank you Eric - your comments are very much appreciated.


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 8 years ago from Australia

Thanks for this very comprehensive discussion of the wide range of skills needed in the toolbox of a professional web designer.

I'll be referring some of my clients (as well as some web designers) to this hub.

Regards,

Eric G.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Hi Andrew

Your First Point:

When I did the CSS section in this hub I wrote ". . . to get these types of results with CSS you'll need to be very good at it, and have great graphic design skills." - I was referring to the Zen Garden site when I said that, as you are absolutely right, the totally new look each CSS file achieves is a result of CSS *and* graphics.

What was meant by saying the web is mostly CSS and HTML is that it is mostly not Flash. I.e most web sites are not wholly constructed from Flash, rather from HTML and CSS.

But almost (not all) web sites you view will have a large graphical element. You only have to look around the web to see that. Notable exceptions are typographical content ruch site like, google.com, bbc.co.uk, guardian.co.uk etc.

There will be background images that make up the design space of the page. Unless the site is purely typographical, 99% of graphics on a site will be, well graphics. So if you turn them off - they will leave the site with only the CSS layout visible. This stands to reason.

Many web designers have a digital graphic design background and many of them more creative ones are adept at using professional tools like Photoshop to create striking designs. If you turn background images off on any of the Zen sites, this graphic design element will disappear, but you are still left with the completely different layouts dictated by the CSS, and you can clearly see then that the graphic elements just fill the spaces.

But individual CSS files change each *layout* completely. Take any Zen Garden site and the graphics used in one CSS file would NOT work with the another CSS file. So it's not ALL down to the graphics. But this is only (IMHO anyway) a specific genre of web site. And not one that I think is all that sensible to concentrate on if you do not have current graphic design skills, or if like me you don't have any creative graphic design skills at all. *You just don't need it*.

I teach a method that allows non-graphic designer types to achieve (with some effort I'll admit), how to create a good looking site without any real graphic skills. The sites will never be in the league of those on the Zen Garden, but they do look very good nonetheless. And unless you are entering the web design space solely in order to build a name as a creator or stunningly beautiful web sites - sort of "take your breath away with their beauty" web sites, my methods work. Because normally you want your site to perform, get results and make you money in your chosen business endeavour.

Graphically heavy web sites don't normally achieve this - because they are so over designed as to not be geared for change and incorporation of new features and ideas when required. Normally this is because the main emphasis has been on beauty not on ease of use nor on the building of visitor numbers via rich content.

Your second point :

Your resume and some example sites. Well, I'd make sure you had a blog to show your commitment over time to learning the craft. You could document everything you had learned, your sources and demonstrate that you are capable of massive research when you don't know something and had to find out for yourself.

I recommend wordpress. That would appeal to the type of employer who wants confirmation you are a self-starter.

But don't expect a large company to read it. Many larger companies have conveyor belt methods of selecting staff, and tend to look for people who have had a demonstratable corporate history. (However note my background and those of people I know are all in the technical space. Graphic design companies may be like their work - more creative in their approach to all things, including recruitment).

I'd demonstrate my CSS skills by doing a mini Zen Garden - write one site, consisting of just one page where you use say three different CSS files to render that single page differently. You couldl minimise the graphic content and concentrate on layout (that will change the look massively), the logo could be a graphic anyway, and the background could be a graphic that will also empahsise the difference.

Make the bullets completely different and the navigation (but all menu items lead to the home page - it is just for demo purposes). Use http://www.dynamicdrive.com/style/ to get some pure or nearly pure CSS menu options to make the three sites quite different.

Next - think of a non-computer related subject that interests you - it might be Formula 1 Motor racing, marathon running, or I don't know, umm Japanese Garden Design - as long as it is something you are very interested in, know something about and is quite niche, build a site for yourself that is destined to become a a large knowledge base of information on the chosen subject.

Focus on the content and the ease of navigation over the graphic look of thing, (unless you are super duper graphic designer), in which case add a little bit of flair, install Google Analytics, and launch the site with only say 5 pages to start with, but grow it every couple of days.

You're going to have to plan this well. Then concentrate on growing visitor numbers. Using Google Analytics you'll see that on day 1 you have no visitors. So it can only get better. Learn that a web site needs to be large (read have lots and lots of pages) to get anywhere, learn about the important of on page SEO and off page SEO . . . this is where real web work starts. It'll make you a more interesting interviewee as you'll be over flowing with stuff to say when asked about what you know.

This isn't really the venue to go into all these things, but I hope you get an idea of what I am saying.

Stormy


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Thank you, thank you, thank you Sally for your comment. If you've read my House is 500 years Old hub (which I know you have because you left a comment there), you'll know about the struggle to get a house this old sorted out and renovated. I am so motivated to do the courses - I can't tell you. At the moment assuming the planners agree to everything they'll be running next year.

Andrew - I have been in London at the Chelsea Flower Show all week. Your comment will take some thought so I'll answer it tomorrow when I have recovered.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Fantastic hub. What wonderful information. Not only about how to become engaged in web design, but also about the different requirements for freelancing and corporate employment. Outstanding! Please let the Hub world know when you are ready to begin your intensive weekends in Devon. My guess is that you will be booked solid forever.

Best regards, Sally


Andrew 8 years ago

Greetings once again Stormy, I keep looking around the web then coming back here to check on what you're opinion is, I hope you don't mind too much.

I wanted to make a comment about you're previous post about the web being mostly HTML and CSS. I went over to CSS Zengarden after downloading the webdeveloper toolbar for foxfire and was quite shocked to see what happened when I turned off the images. It seems to me that a large majority of the designs are not so much CSS, but images. and the CSS is used more to push away the HTML, or in other words, it was about image design with CSS layout, then CSS design with CSS layout. I was wondering what your opinion on that was.

Also, As I am developing a couple of websites to put in my resume. I was wondering what kinds of features should I make sure to include to show competancy to a perspective client or employer, as far as coding ability is concerned. I know some of it depends on the site needs, but as a resume piece? I know I can't compete with a heavy-duty coder, but I want to show that I have more coding ability than an average graphic designer (which hopefully I do).

I really only have HTML and CSS comprehention at the moment and I am still trying to work on Javascript and Actionscript for Flash at the moment, But you are definitely correct in the assumption that they are harder to learn.

- Andrew

p.s. I know that there is no "one" way to do it right, but probably many.


AdsenseStrategies profile image

AdsenseStrategies 8 years ago from CONTACT ME at Adsensibilities@gmail.com

Greetings to Devon sent from a fellow Brit living in Canada.

Clearly your knowledge of code exceeds mine by quite a few breadths.

I am however interested in web development, and only time is preventing me from pursuing things...

In the meantime, I am stuck on the Wordpress free blogs platform.

Check me out at

http://adsensestrategiesadsense.wordpress.com

Best wishes

David


francetales profile image

francetales 8 years ago from Toulouse, France

I love living here btw. I just got back from the Viaduc de Millau, I'm finishing up a hub as we speak, the tallest bridge in the world. Stay tuned.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Francetales - it doesn't matter too much if someone else has already written hubs on Joomla. As long as you do a better job, it'll worthwhile. I just visited one of your hubs on France - my goodness you are living in the area of France I've wanted to live in for years.


francetales profile image

francetales 8 years ago from Toulouse, France

What an excellent hub. I can mark many of those things off myself but I am moving towards using Joomla more. Clients want more and more and want to pay les and less. I find I can get Joomla designs and modify them to meet most of our needs. Please don't beat me to writing a hub about it. I was thinking I'd write a series of Hubs as I delve into Joomla, I'm going to check to see if anyone has done that yet.


Andrew 8 years ago

Just wanted to clarify what I meant with Javascript vs. php remark. If I could refer you to this:

http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2006/10/11/its-offi...

Now, I have managed to learn (but not master) html/xhtml/seo/photoshop, and am now have enough confidence to start learning something more difficult. Since, the resurgence of javascript, due to ajax, and the fact that Javascript is considered progrmming lite. I decided to take it on. I did hear a couple of people recommend learning php even before javascript though. I know it's more difficult and I don't want to challenge my fragile confidence too early 'cause I'm trying to develop momentum. I am trying to get most of the client-side stuff done this year though.

Also, I know ajax uses xml as a type of data. How hard is it to learn xml, or how much is really needed.


rajir singh 8 years ago

thanks!

it is really best information about become a professional web dedigners


Evolving1 profile image

Evolving1 8 years ago from United States

Excellent Hub!!

I have limited experience with HTML code, but am learning gradually to build on that skill and learn about the tools you've shared here. It may take me a long time, but I think an interesting process.

Thanks for taking the time to provide such a clear and inspiring resource. ;-)


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

I am not sure I agree with you 100% - maybe just 90%. I think the minimum is XHTML and CSS followed by a move onto what you are suggesting - search engine optimisation and search engine marketing. Doing it this way will ensure people are less fearful of the code behind the site. And that is a good thing. Javascript is a nice to have - you won't keel over and die without it. But XHTML and CSS are the backbone of 99% of websites out there.


AndyBaker profile image

AndyBaker 8 years ago from UK

Nice introduction to the subject, but you're right - there is a LOT to learn and it could seem daunting for newcomers.

One point I would like to make - you don't have to learn everything. If you just learn ONE area of web-design inside-out then you have a starting point and you can always outsource the other things.

If I had to pick 1 item from the ones you mentioned to recommend to newcomers it would be SEO/SEM as all the others rely heavily on each other (i.e. you can't really use javascript with out html, css etc etc).


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Hi snphadke - I would be dishonest if I didn't make it clear the whole affair is quite imposing. That does not mean it is impossible, and if I could show you, you might see there are steps you can take where each builds up the next. If though, you decide the learning curve is too much, there are other solutions that can make the task easier. In my hub I suggested you read mschanl's hub, http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Create-a-Successful... In it she makes it clear there is a lot of hard work involved, but the product she uses provides certain shortcuts. The product she talks about is not my cup of tea, but it could be yours. You must do what you feel comfortable with.

Oosie - I did check out your web site and there are many issues with site as it currently stands. If you are operating on a small budget then you really have no choice but to learn this stuff properly and only publish to the web when everything is working. There is currently no incentive for anyone to pay to advertise on the site. There are syntax errors and spelling errors, no content, no alexa rating (this matters if you are trying to sell screen space), and no page rank. You may need to go back to the drawing board, tweak your business plan, create hundreds of information-rich pages (your site currently only has one page), get rid of the typos and coding errors and concentrate on building traffic. I am sorry to sound so negative.


oscarmecp4 profile image

oscarmecp4 8 years ago from South Africa

Meet Oosie the struggling webmaster, compiler and designer normally I do my stuff with word. But heck somedays I could struggle for months but struggle I will till its right was born that way. In pc's I did educate mysylf because you get these guys if you ask them a simple question they think they know everything and they distract you so at the end off the day you feel ashamed you have ask them. Or you get those wonderful people that don't want to talk to you. I've expierence that also in the hardware for pc sector also. My conclusion is you ask for a bread they want to give you a rock to eat. I did work with bigger machines off Honeywell, Foxboro, Moore systems, Siemens plc and I do understand how to config them. But that time is gone now. So I must live with pc and the internet and that is were my problem starts. Have to struggle. The other day I bought software for pc just to find out it couldn't be run with Xp so the same has happen with my virus protection can't run on Xp. Now they laugh at me they have pinch my money which I can't afford to lose. But please send me your link I will put it up on my site mine is http://www.billionhbn.com feel free to put it up on your site. My site isn't complete yet think the info is to much for my host. Or you could be helpful to tell me were did I go wrong on my site I appreciate comments negative and positive.

Thanks

stormyweather


snphadke 8 years ago

Very well written and informative. Unfortunately for somebody like me who is on shoestrings but still would like to set up his own website you have made the whole affair rather imposing.

At least now I know the specific skills I need tolearn - may be over time!


Teri Isner 8 years ago

Terrific job and congratulations!


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

John - Thank you! It's not easy I agree. But you know what, it is just a series of many hundreds of micro-steps, none of them hard in themselves. To a beginner, it isjust the sheer number of them that is overwhelming. At least this is my way of looking at it. Do you agree?

Zangworld/George - Your comment means a lot to me. Thank YOU for your time and attention. (By the way - I think we are from the same era! I remember the ZX80 as well. Hot damn!)


zangworld 8 years ago

Hi stormyweather.

I have been doing things with computers since the Sinclair ZX came out. Could not understand anything and gave it away....Time goes on and I have some skills but I have got to say that your hub is the clearest basic explanation of PHP JAVA XHTML and everything else that I have ever read. I will send more than one friend to your hub.

Best,

George


John McLaughlin 8 years ago

What a great job.

Making Website design easy - is not easy.

And you walked away with the big prize. Congratulations!

John McLaughlin, Day Traders - Consultant / Coach


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

That's odd. They are not really the same thing, Javascript and PHP . . . hardly competitors. I wonder what you mean? One is client side (Javascript) and one is server side (PHP). There is a renaissance in Javascript now thanks to Ajax . . .


Andrew 8 years ago

Thank You so much for the words of encouragement. It helps when learning this stuff I'm new to it. I know web design is much more than pretty pictures. And my coding is weak and to a person like me it's pretty dry learningwise. But I feel more confident the more I do, you know, not such a mystery. I hope in the next few months I can get proficient on Javascript then php, but I'm not sure which to do first. That seems to be a big debate on the web Javascript vs. php.

Thanks Again!

- Andrew


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Hi Andrew

Thank you for taking the time to comment and ask questions. Please read through what I have written again as the emphasis I am placing is on the range of skills an individual would need to even begin to become a competant freelance web designer who works (almost always) alone.

I don't mean someone who is working for a large web design company - I mean someone who agrees to produce an attractive, appropriate, working, effective web site for a client in return for payment.

Your graphic skills sound fantastic and as such you are an asset to any company that can afford to employ a full-time graphic designer, especially if you are an experienced graphic designer with a portfolio to match. Barring problems in the economy (and we have a few of those now both here in the UK and the US), someone like you should have no problem getting a job.

Further, if you can improve your web design skills, even just XHTML and CSS you will be much more useful to a web design agency.

But without the umbrella support of the skills of colleagues, where a web design TEAM builds, review and tests a web site for a client, consider how it would be if you branch out on your own. That is the point I am really making.

There are lots of individual freelancers who do this, and some of them turn out sites that really don't work very well for their clients. (I have shown you one such site in my hubpage.) If the freelancer has a graphic design background the sites can look absolutely stunning (see what a previous commenter said on this). But a web site is nearly always required to perform well too. I.e. - it often has to actively play a part in revenue generation.

That last sentence should scare you. As a web designer working alone you are duty bound to explain many things to your clients way outside your current skill area of graphic design. If you don't, many small business people will come back and actually blame you for their web site failing to attract visitors. Some will take a while to apportion blame,and others won't really know the difference between a hit and a unique visitor so will happily think they are getting 100 visitors per day when really it is 100 hits per day.

And that sort of client is so ignorant they won't ask for anything else from you as they are not really relying on their site to do anything, (they can't be or they'd notice it wasn't working).

Just creating attractive sites isn't good enough - either you do that and explain to the site owner he now has to get someone else to make it fly commercially, or you have to gain enough skills to help him achieve that. I don't think though (and this is a personal view), you can divorce one stage from the other. Others will disagree with me here.

None of this is your problem if you work for a company where you play a part in the delivery of a site. It becomes your problem though once you start to work alone or run your own company and have to start addressing the problems of small business.

Adding the skills you listed is absolutely NOT in vain. I'll spell out why.

a) you will be more useful to any employer and have skills other graphic designers perhaps don't have. This will differentiate you.

b) you'll be able to interface more easily with experts in these fields if you choose to work for a larger company.

c) you'll be able to source and select experts in these fields to help you if you decide to work for a smaller company who provide you budget, but no technical personnel

d) if you work hard at it, and decide to freelance alone, you'll be better than most others out there that haven't added to their skills.

e) you can decide which of the skills you are best at/enjoy most and perhaps team up with one or two other freelancers who complement you so that you can provide a good service to small business.

And as for a degree? I have a degree in Computing Science and I've had a lot of varied experience because of it. But graphic design skills of the sort you describe (the 'I can draw anything' variety), cannot be taught. You just have to find other ways to demonstrate you can plan and learn in an organised way. Half of what a degree 'proves' is that you have mental tenacity.

Unfortunately there are a lot of employers who use degrees to eliminate job candidates. Like if you don't have one, your CV goes in the bin. But excellence in your chosen field is just as valuable as is self-belief. If you can't get a degree now, don't worry yourself about it. Start building a fabulous website that describes your experience and your skills, and demonstrates your new skills. Add a blog to it describing your learning activities. Then link to the whole lot from your CV. You'll get a job.

Best wishes

Stormy


Andrew 8 years ago

Hey, Thanks a lot for the info and perspective. I am a graphic designer who is using various video tutorial companies to learn the vast array of skills described above. I would to find a job using these skills when I move out of state Moving to Florida) before the end of the year. Lucikily I currently have alot of time on my hands to learn some of this stuff. After reading your advice though, why do I have the feeling that it will be very difficult to find a job in this field of web design? Granted I eventually would like to support myself and my own web design business, but first I need a better job than I have now. Am I just fantasizing that there will be a job for me? My strong points are the fact that I can do just about anything with images and artwork , from creating it from scratch on through manipulation. More and more though, as you've stated, I'm trying to add skills of xthml, css, xml, javascript plus serverside stuff like php mysql, even perl etc. Is all of this invain with no degree?

Thank you for you time!

Andrew


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Hi Jason

Thank you for your comments. I read one of your hubs and found your web site. That is one beautiful site you have. But you are right - it does need some extra work on the SEO side of things. Maybe he was a graphics guy who turned his hand to web design - hence the site's external beauty?


Jason Stanley profile image

Jason Stanley 8 years ago

Liz,

Two things,

One. I wish I had read this before I hired my web designer. I have a great looking very low SEO functioning site.

Two. I'm sending this link to him! Hay, my site is already built, but his next customers should benefit from this great information.

Jason


mark 8 years ago

I have been thinking of building a web site but was intimidated by the perceived difficulty.Your hub makes it seem less daunting - but I wont be giving up my day job just yet: gardeners are always in demand.


artchastudio profile image

artchastudio 8 years ago

I agree! I tell my client I build a website. Meaning I do everything! Basically I help people to deliver what they want to do on their website and what they want to achieve from their website.

If you look for the RIGHT WEB DESIGNER / WEB DEVELOPER.Simply ask if she/he can help to get what you want

YOur web esigner is your business partner, so choose wisely!

Great info!

:)


sligobay profile image

sligobay 8 years ago from east of the equator

Thanks for explaining things so simply. cheers,


eugie17 profile image

eugie17 8 years ago from online (everywhere)

Nice Hub

I work as Web Designer sometimesand its fun when your job is a simple past job modification ;)


Party Girl profile image

Party Girl 8 years ago

Fantastic Hub. I am a relative beginner and this hub was very informative for me. Good luck in the future.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Thanks Guys - eBook and Fillip. Your comments are very welcome. I am passionate about teaching web design skills and convincing people that they can do a lot of it for themselves, whilst accepting some people will want to go further than others. Yeah - eBook, SBI wasn't my cup of tea either - but I have to recognise that for some people its the best thing since sliced bread. And of course Fillip is absolutely correct that to become a web designer you do have to live and breathe it.


Fillip profile image

Fillip 8 years ago from atop the grateful castle

Hi Stormyweather,

Great Hub. And as a MAC user, all your information is MAC useful because I can run Windows on my new Intel Mac. And it's fast.

For those who are Mac owners try a search on "Rapid Weaver", this a very powerful website creator. A number of users have gone on to Freelancing. But like Stormyweather says, it's very competitive. After you learn it, you really have to live-n-breath it to become good at it. I think this Hub is like a breath of "pure O2" for learning about the Web Design Essentials, thanks again for for the great "what-to-look-for-what-to-do" info.

Fillip


eBook profile image

eBook 8 years ago

Hello Stormyweather

Is that your name because of the weather in Devon?...I thought it was sunny all the time. We get the rain a lot here in the North UK.

Your detailed hub is what is considered a godsend to the Internet and many people will no doubt benefit from it as they get on the escalator of website developments learning curve.

I'm glad you are succeeding with your skills as I have a family member just starting at the bottom end of the scale, in website construction.

You know photoshop is an amazing tool, but people coming into this design side do not necessaily have to go for the latest version CS3, CS2 is more than ample and probably a lot cheaper.

I tried site build it when it first came out but somehow it just didn't gel with me, although there are loads of tesimonials from very satisfied users.

I once again applaud you for this great hub and wish you every success for the future.

Steve


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Thank you spiche. And Plaw, psp-downloads & Schelli - thanks to you all too.


spiche profile image

spiche 8 years ago

I am speechless. Awesome work on this Hub.


Mind-ing for Gold profile image

Mind-ing for Gold 8 years ago from Raleigh, NC

This info has my head spinning - thank goodness there are people like you who not only know what you are talking about but also have a knack for explaining to others.

Great job!

~Schelli


plaw profile image

plaw 8 years ago from Trinidad and Tobago

Great Hub, So much useful information


psp-downloads profile image

psp-downloads 8 years ago

Wow! This is one of the best HubPages I've seen. You are so right about having a fast computer for doing your web design. Programs like Photoshop can really slow down your computer if you don't have plenty of RAM and processing power.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Although my hub is all about learning XHTML and gradually being able to put a site together for yourself, I also support my friend Mschanl who prefers another route. The information on her hub will suit anyone who does not want to get down and dirty with bits and bytes.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Thank you RobM! I totally agree with you that w3schools is a great place to start a web development journey. I too have been designing and coding software for years (quite a lot longer than 10 years, I am sad to admit - you must be so YOUNG - arrrrggh), anyway - I am on a mission to teach anyone who'll listen to code their own sites by hand. Thanks for your support.


RobM 8 years ago

Excellent Hub Stormy.

I've been doing corporate intranet development for 10 years and you give some great information. One of my favorite sites that I use daily to refresh my memort on a particular part of HTML/CSS is http://www.w3schools.com/


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Thank you Amery and Adriana. It's good to know you actually got something out of it. I hope to put more like this together. Stormy.


Adriana C. profile image

Adriana C. 8 years ago

This is a great hub: very detailed information. I am one of those DIY people, and found this quite enlightening. Thanks for putting it together Liz.


Amery 8 years ago

This is an amazing hub. Thank you for taking the time to put it together. As a fledgling web designer who was given the assignment at work to revamp the web presence because 'didn't you program ages ago? It'll be a snap for you'... I greatly appreciate this. Not only is the information carefully presented but the follow on commentary is excellent. I have bookmarked the site. Thanks again.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Yes Susan - thatnks for taking the time to comment, Please let me know if there are things I have missed out.


SusanG3 profile image

SusanG3 8 years ago

Great Hub,

I agree about the W3Schools being a good place to learn some basics -- as I did just that when I wanted to be able to make some simple changes to the web site I designed for my husband's law practice. It does give you a sense of empowerment when you don't always have to wait for a webmaster to get to it (not to mention the cost of paying for every change)

I also appreciate the explanation of all the other skills, because I have also looked for webmasters to do some work for me and didn't have a clue about what all those abbreviations like php and so on meant. My knowledge base has always been more in the marketing side of things so your information is very helpful to know what to look for on the technical side.

Thanks for sharing.

http://hubpages.com/misc/How-to-Find-a-Criminal-De...


Mschanl profile image

Mschanl 8 years ago from USA

You know Stormy, I'll send you an email so this doesn't disrupt your hub's discussion.


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stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

I guess you put a page on your web site saying "if this point and click stuff isn't your bag, go visit Stormy -> link to me", and I'll put a page on my site saying "if all this HTML gives you a pain in the brain, go visit hot chick Mschanl -> link to you".

Now I could just set myself up as an affiliate of old Ken, but my heart isn't in it so I wouldn't be being honest. But you love what you are advocating (as I do). We'd both be doing what we thought was right, which is honest so is good. What do you think??


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Mschanl 8 years ago from USA

Deal Stormy! I'll do the same for you. So, how do we do that? People don't always say what they want.


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stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

You know Mschanl - I've been thinking about you. When my site is really underway we should pass opposing people over to one another. There will always be people who prefer what you are proposing and others who like my approach. When I find the wsiwyg-ers, I'll send them to you! Deal?


Mschanl profile image

Mschanl 8 years ago from USA

You're right, we're opposing hubs. I don't think I'll get around to learning this but for those into htmls, I think this is a wonderful guide. Great work on this one Stormy! Very detailed. I think the other hubs you made are wonderful too!


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stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

You are of course, absolutly right Charles. This hub was long enough already without me going on about marketing as well!

I guess a point I'd like to make is that a web designer can't always do appropriate SEO and marketing because when dealing with small businesses he is often pushed on price, marketing is on-going and therefore time consuming and expensive - so the best person to do it is the small business owner themselves (or an employee).


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CharlesSeymourJr 8 years ago from Wallingford, PA

Great job on this hub. And now that people know what to look for whether they create their own site or have someone else do it, they really MUST remember that an effective site is NOT all about the programming. But it IS all about the Marketing.

Be sure your designer either knows marketing OR if YOU know marketing, be sure your designer will follow your lead... you won't regret doing this!

Charlie Seymour Jrhttp://hubpages.com/misc/OffTheRaftMarketing


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stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

That's the idea Robyninga! I really want to encourage you to learn as much as you have time to learn. Please contact me for any particular questions you might have. You'll be helping me out too as I'll know what sorts of problems people encounter when first starting this journey and this will help me structure my courses appropriately.


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Robyninga 8 years ago from Georgia

Thank you so much! Believe it or not, you've helped me a lot! I actually tried it out a little yesterday, and got so excited just to open a page with a title. Pretty funny, but can't wait to see what I can do when I really start learing it.


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best of the web 8 years ago from US

Good one.

Thanks for sharing


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stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Oh damn! I put you off? Sorry . . . But I speak the truth . . . I guess it is not for everyone.


hiqutipie profile image

hiqutipie 8 years ago from Mississippi

Great Hub....Thanks for the Free Lesson...Now I know what I can't do...LOL...But Great work Stormy....


Annette 8 years ago

I thought this was a really easy guide that gives confidence in having a go! I did a couple of suggestions and was surprised how easy it could be with this no-fluff guide.


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

There are two ways to go. First decide if you really want to do it all yourself, if not you could use a service like Ken Evoy's Site Build It. His approach does not appeal to everyone, but lots of people swear by it.

If on the other hand you want to do it yourself, the best way is to start by learning XHTML. This is not hard, and it is something you should learn anyway - even if you do later decide to take a more packaged approach with Site Build It.

Either way, you could have your first web page working locally on your PC in a couple of hours. XHTML is made up of tags - you don't have to learn them all at once - just 5 or six of the most popular ones and you'd be surprised how easy it is.

Your first web page won't look all that good, but that's when you could be shown that a couple of days investment learning some techniques with a simple graphic's program will get you into the place where you can make the site look reasonable.

As I am typing this I realise I am making it seem easier than it really is. I guess that is why my business plan is to teach people this stuff in manageable chunks, and that is what I working on now. BUT - you don't need me or anyone else; I would just make it easier and possibly a bit quicker - all the info you need is out there on the internet.

And anyway - putting the site together is the relatively easy part (imagine how powerful you will feel when you can change it at will without having to rely on some heavy piece of software to enable you), the hard part is marketing it and keeping it fresh. This work *always* falls in the hands of the site owner anyway. But because you would have built the site yourself the whole process won't be so much of a mystery.


Robyninga profile image

Robyninga 8 years ago from Georgia

Hi there, I enjoyed reading this very much. What area would you recommend starting to learn first?


Robyninga profile image

Robyninga 8 years ago from Georgia

Very informative, just confused on which area to concentrate on learning first. What do you suggest. I just purchased to domian names. I want to learn how to design web layouts. And more, but this is like a foreign language to me.

Thank you for this how to hub!


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Lissie 8 years ago from New Zealand

This is an excellent hub - but I must admit although I can turn my mind to any technical I have to learn to create something - I really struggle with the design side - that's much more an art than a science!


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stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

Quite right Craig. I am going to add a section to this hub regarding search engine optimization - at least the on-page variety. Thank you for pointing it out.

Rob :

In my opinion, there is a lot of competition in the web designer space, so you really have to be quite good to make a living. There is also a difference between being a freelance web designer and one that works for a large company.

In a large company, you'll find you can specialise in a particular skill, or set of skills. For example you might become the backend PHP or ASP programmer, or the database design and tuning person. Or you might be the Flash wizard in the office, or you’ll be the talented graphic designer. Or you might be an absolutely fantastic CSS guru with a special interest in usability. In a large company like that, people will be organised into teams and no one person will do everything.

Now - think about freelancing. You'll probably be dealing with smaller businesses who can't afford the prices at the larger web companies, or (and this is an important point), who don't value the skills for creating an effective web presence (and hence the spend) . You'll need a strategy for dealing with those types of customers.

Can you see that as a freelancer you've got to be pretty good at a large range of skills? Even if you team up with a graphic designer, you still have to take the lead (i.e. you tell them what you require) and address all the other technical aspects I've mentioned above.

How long - if you really work at it, I think you can do it in a couple of years. You'll get better each day, and there are loads of free and paid resources online to help you achieve it.

BUT - at the end of all of that, you'll probably find your best option is then to use your skills to build your business web site.

Can you make a portfolio along the way? Yes, but there are ways to do that, where you'll get the best out of it and so will they. Don't do the thing where you write a web site for free just so you can start a portfolio.

To succeed at it it entirely possible, but you'll need a zeal for all aspects of web design, bordering on the evangelical. You'll need to love it.

I'll try and give fuller answers in my blog over the next few days.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 8 years ago from Midwest USA

Great hub. I've been thinking about the learning basic web design primarily becauase I think it would be a great job, but also because of its creative necessity. In your opinion, if someone really stuck to it and plunged into everything they need to learn to hit the pavement of freelance work, how long would it take? And also, can you begin an online portfolio while still learning?


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Craig Dewe 8 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

Great hub. One area I'd really look into when hiring a web designer is the search engine side. Many web designers that make great looking sites claim to have search engine optimisation (SEO) experience. The sad part is, most of them just offer to send your website to a bunch of search engines (not a good idea) or jam a boat load of keywords into each page (also not a good idea).

Look at their portfolio and see if you like the content. Then check whether each page has a nice title (the bit in the blue bar at the top of your browser). These titles should show what keywords the website is focused on. So when you see a website about boats that has "Affordable sailing boats" as one of the titles, you're on to a winner.

Of course, there are many other factors but the title is a huge factor and the quickest way to see if they know what they're doing.

The moral of the story, not all web designers are created equal!


andieko 8 years ago

Great information, I need to know more about codeigniter. I'm a beginner and want to know better about php and I need framework like codeigniter to do better.


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Better Yourself 8 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks for your comments about Flash. As a designer myself, I really try and steer my business clients away. It really adds very little except in very narrow situations. I would much rather enrich my users experience with some heavy DHMTL and Ajax.

Super post!

Thanks


stormyweather profile image

stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

I like your sense of humour Pablo - but what makes you think I haven't? Theirs is a lot better than mine is all . . .


Pablo Impallari 8 years ago

I Agree with most of your points.

But real programers use & refractor their own frameworks :)


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stormyweather 8 years ago from Devon, UK Author

That's a harder question Russellhub. You could simply ask him to explain what any of the topics you feel important are, and see if he gives you a satifactory answer. Maybe "please could you explain in everyday terms what exactly Javascript is and why it might be used on my web site?"

If you feel you actually understand wat Javascript is after his answer, then you know not only that he knows enugh about it to be a generally useful resource for you, but also that he has the ability to translate technical ideas into everyday-speak. Which would be good.


Russell 8 years ago

Very informative, a web designer does need a very wide range of skills!

How can I tell if my web designer is sufficiently competent in all of them?


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Raven King 8 years ago from Cabin Fever

Wow this is an incredible hub! Thanks.

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