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How Get Started in Web Design

How Get Started in Web Design

Elisha-Rio Apilado

Getting into web design, like any other art field, takes time and energy. It’s an industry that’s rapidly growing, and one that can be a little intimidating. But rapid growth doesn’t have to be scary. It means opportunity, after all. We use the web a little more each and everyday. And new websites are popping up every second — websites that need designers!

But isn’t web design too technical for artists?

Absolutely not! True, building a website is technical. But, websites also need to look good — and that’s where you come in! When you build a website you must keep in mind that you’re creating a product that informs and update users. It also provides ways for users to interact with each other and the site. All this, plus, it also needs to be easy to navigate or find what you’re looking for.

The good news is, you probably have a lot more experience than you think just by researching and browsing on the web yourself. By simply being a user, you have some idea of how a website works and what makes it functional. You navigated your way to this article didn’t you? Now it’s time to jump onto the other end of the spectrum.

Thinking about pursuing a career in web design? Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:

Know Your Browsers

Web designers made the websites you browse through every day. As you might have noticed, some sites are successful and some need some work.

To break into this industry and produce a functional, visually pleasing website, you must know how the internet functions — mainly web browsers. As you may already know just from casual browsing, there are many web browsers: Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, and Firefox.

Additionally, within these big-name browsers live different versions; the internet is continually changing and technology evolving, so this makes sense. Each web browser has a unique way of displaying on a web page. Understanding the traits of each will help you build a website that is readable by all, but keeping it consistent across all of these web browsers is ideal.

Please note: Older versions of browsers may not always support the latest programming techniques or individual users may not have the necessary software installed (for example, flash websites).

The Anatomy of a Website

Think of a website as layers in Photoshop: What you click on, is what you see and what is on top is what you get. As a web designer, you will create a lot of pages. You must remember that no matter how pretty the site, the user is searching for information. The idea is to keep a website interesting enough for them to look at and want to return to.

As far as the structure goes, all websites MUST have a home page, also known as index files or landing page. This is the first page the user sees when they click on your URL. So think of it as a book cover in a bookstore. Do you judge books by their covers? However cliché, we all do. And it’s no different in web design — your homepage has to be intriguing enough to make the user want to flip through and return to again. After this, the pages are unlimited. The navigation must always stay in a static, designated position on each page for ease of navigation — don’t let your users get lost! Most importantly, everything MUST link; otherwise, you’ll definitely lose your audience.

Next: Know the Tools →

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